Three years ago today, our niece, Andrea, married Mike Cunningham in a ceremony that was moved up six months in order to allow Katie to be a bridesmaid. Andrea and Mike had asked Katie to be in their wedding the day Katie and David returned home from Camp Goodtimes West. They knew it was one of her dreams, to be a bridesmaid. We found out a couple of weeks later that Katie was going to die.
After she had a few days to process the information, Katie looked at the "Save the Date" card on our refrigerator and asked me, "What if I don't live that long?" That's a hard question to hear, let alone to answer. I was honest. I said I didn't know.
Mike and Andrea came over one day soon after, and said, We want her to be in our wedding and we are going to move it up. How soon should we do it? We answered, The sooner the better, as we've been told she is likely to become paralysed.
Andrea's parents hosted the wedding at their beautiful home on Hood Canal. The sun shone, the attendants and their dresses (and tuxes - David was an usher) were beautiful, and there was deep joy in Andrea and Mike's love - laced with awareness that many of our family members might not see Katie alive again. It was sweet, and bittersweet. Mostly sweet, because a couple deeply in love were united that day - led by their love for one other, and for their family - and their love and unselfishness made it possible for Katie's dream to come true.
One week later, Katie became paralysed from the waist down. A week after that, she passed away. I will always be thankful to Andrea and Mike for the priceless gift that they gave to Katie, and to us.
Andrea and Mike!
Photos by Paul Dudley Photography