Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t that I didn’t have feelings for him, I did. And I believe he loved me. But I also believe he knew exactly what he was doing when he proposed in front of his entire family during what should have been a celebration for his sister’s children. He kinda stole the thunder of her moment, if you can understand that. By the time I got to work, there were flowers everywhere, a very over the top gesture. I hadn’t even told MY family yet. Everyone ohhh’d and ahhh’d over the ring and asked me how the proposal happened and it occurred to me that I should be happier to explain, but I found myself panicked and unable to breathe. I would even brush people off who asked me about it. The only person I confided in was my best friend M. Shortly after, the wedding planning began. So much for my long engagement. Things moved so fast. I was caught aboard this train and it was moving too fast for me to jump off. I told my family, who thought it was too soon, asking the “are you sure?” questions. I wasn’t sure, but I was too afraid to hurt someone else the way I had been hurt and didn’t want to end the relationship that I was essentially happy with, minus the marriage part. We had moved in together, wasn’t that a big enough step? I took a deep breath, had a heart to heart with M and jumped in with both feet. I did love him. I did like my life with him. I just didn’t want the paper to bind us. I did it anyway. We chose September 11, 2000 to be married. We thought 911 would be funny. I had gone back to school at night full time to be a nurse and was currently working in a deferment clinic for JFK emergency room, his brother, the best man, was an emergency room physician in Pennsylvania and his father was a firefighter. We thought it was the perfect date, just the right amount of irony. I would just have turned 26. I didn’t want a traditional wedding, I bucked the Irish catholic family every chance I got. We were paying for everything ourselves anyway, I wanted it to be spent my way. The clinic turned out to be an excellent resource. My office manager and good friend Cathy was going to marry us. She was a notary. We were going to originally get married in a beautiful garden in Delray, FL, but due to a double booking they cancelled ours just a month or so before the wedding so we ended up getting married at our townhouse, with the tents and chairs and flower arrangements set outside overlooking the tennis courts. His sister would do the flowers, as she owned a floral shop. I told her exactly what I was looking for, very simple. I wanted to be able to put my bouquet in a vase of water immediately after the ceremony, no ribbons, bows, or frills. My family worked on decorations. We had this painting in our bedroom that was medieval and it had inspired us. We had a medieval wedding.His mother made the flower girl dresses. It was an awesome undertaking. My mother and grandparents made flags and banners and beautiful fruit and vegetable trays. I had a patient make our cake which had a castle at the top instead of a bride and groom. And the doctor who ran the clinic catered my wedding for me as a gift. It was all coming together. I compromised by agreeing to a traditional gown and tuxedos and also that his sister’s oldest son could be a ring bearer along side my son Joshua. I had three…count them…three flower girls. My daughter for me, my best friend’s(maid of honor) daughter for her, and my aunt’s(matron of honor) daughter for her. My brother would walk me down the aisle as my relationship with my father was very strained. It was true collaberation of everyone’s talents, resources and efforts. I started to feel like a bride. And then the wedding happened and it was a nightmare….