Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Lindsay and Joe's Wedding and Remembering Kelly

First off...happy 36th wedding anniversary to my brother Bryan and his bride, Sue!

I went over 4000 miles on the road for 2008 with my ride today. I'm around 1000 miles behind where I was last year at this time but I'm okay with that as it's all a part of the plan to take a more conservative approach to my riding. I'm giving some serious consideration to buying a pair of inline skates and picking up that activity again. I used to do a lot of rollerblading a dozen years ago but quit in favor of my bike. I'm ready to make room for it in my schedule again but I need some new blades.

With the reduced mileage I'm still maintaining my fitness. I had my FAA physical yesterday (the FAA's birthday present to me) and while I was laying on the table having my EKG taken the tech said to me that my heart beat was 37 beats per minute. I like the sound of that.

My niece, Lindsay, was married last Saturday. Lindsay is Keith's daughter. She and Joe asked me to video their wedding for them and I was happy to help. I lacked getting any photos though as I was preoccupied with my Sony Handicam. Keith and Kim divorced ten years ago but they sat together for the ceremony. Kim was teary eyed for much of the service. Keith told me that he choked up after walking Lindsay down the isle and giving her over to Joe. I can imagine. I don't think I'll be able to keep it together as well as Keith did when my turn comes.

Early in Keith and Kim's marriage when she was pregnant with their first child, Keith, our older brother Bryan and I took a trip to the U.P. to install an alarm in Maria and Norm's home. It was late October, 1981 and a stormy, snowy day as we wrapped things up and headed for home. On the return trip we stopped at Bryan's house in Maple Grove where I'd left my 1971 Pinto wagon. Keith and I would drive together to the south end of the metro where we lived.

When we got to Bryan's house we got a call that Kim was in the hospital in premature labor at just over 6 months; much too soon for there to be a realistic hope for survival back in those days. We got in the car and I drove as fast as I could to get us to the hospital in time for the delivery. I don't recall that we spoke much on the way. I was pushing my aging 4 cylinder upwards of 80-85 on the freeway and running through red lights when it was clear. We got to the hospital in Farmington, 45-50 miles south and saw an ambulance for Children's Hospital waiting outside. They were there to transport the baby to the hospital in Minneapolis where they could provide the best care available should the baby survive.

We weren't there long at all when Kim delivered Kelly. Keith was by her side while I waited with mom and dad outside in the hallway. There may have been other family members there as well but I can't recall. I don't remember if Kelly cried after she was born; I'm not sure that she could. She survived for as long as the oxygen in her body would sustain her as her lungs weren't developed enough to support her. What I do remember was hearing the sound of Kim sobbing as Kelly passed away. It was very sad. Not an easy thing for a young couple to come to terms with or for any couple for that matter.

I hadn't thought about what I've just written in a long time. I bring it up because of a conversation I'd had with Kim the night of Lindsay and Joe's wedding reception. She said that the wedding had been an emotional time for her and that Keith had made it worse because of what he'd done earlier in the day. Keith had gone to Kelly's grave that morning and snipped some flowers that were planted there and added them to the bridal bouquet which Lindsay would carry. That was very thoughtful of Keith and no doubt took Kim by surprise. The added emotion of bringing thoughts of Kelly to mind was more than Kim was prepared for.

I sometimes forget about that part of Keith's life and how he's still got a hole in his heart from the loss of Kelly. He's not one to talk about her but I know she was a great loss to them both.

No doubt Keith couldn't help but think back on what sort of person Kelly would have grown to become when he sees his daughters becoming adults and now Lindsay being married.

The reception was fun and the dance floor was full most of the night but they never played the Hokey Pokey or the Chicken Dance. I didn't realize it until later. It's possible we cut out too early but I don't think so as it was thinning out quite a bit by the time we left.

Tammy was late getting to the wedding because she couldn't get off work so Rachel and I hung out together with family. They had the usual disposable cameras set out at each table for people to use to take random pictures. Rachel had the idea that we should mug for one photo together on each of the cameras. And so we did. We didn't get them all but I think we managed to take at least a dozen photos of ourselves just so Joe and Lindsay won't forget that we were there.

I asked Rachel about how we're going to work it out when she gets married. I assume that both her father and I will walk her down the isle but what are we going to do about the father/daughter dance I asked her. To my surprise she said that she's actually been thinking about that. She said that she is going to dance with her dad first but that she'll dance with me second and that's the dance she's looking forward to the most. How sweet is that? I absolutely feel bad for her father that he pays so little attention to her that she would come to feel this way but his relationship with her is what it is.

Rachel wants me to learn to waltz with her for the dance we do together. Anybody who knows the love I have for her knows that that is as good as done.


Saeedi said...

It's a tough call for a daughter to choose between a father who's not there for her and a step-father who is there. As a step-father of a girl whose father is rarely in her life, I feel your questions and wonder how things would be chosen for us.

For your sake, the first dance is the most important, and you should be the chosen one. Let the father be second... You raised her, you took care of her and was there when she was sick, paid attention to her, helped her when she was in need. You were the one she turned to for comfort, happiness and to share the exciting things...

... and what a thoughtful gesture to include Kelly's spirit in the bouquet.

Kevin said...

I was talking with Tammy about the conversation Rachel and I had about the father/daughter dance and she commented that it's quite possible that he will skip her wedding. I hadn't thought of that and I really can't imagine that happening but then I'd never have guessed he would have been so uninvolved with her to this point.

Our whole approach has always been to try and foster as good a relationship with him as possible for Rachel's sake. A child who knows and loves her father is best for everyone involved.

I don't think he realizes what a good kid she is. His last email to her mentioned that should she ever choose a path of drugs and alcohol he's going to change the locks on their home and she won't ever be allowed over. She was in tears after reading it because as she said, "he doesn't even know me".