One ending, one beginning, bound together by love

The Plan: A Halloween Wedding

I’d planned the trip for several months.

Our friends-who-are-really-family live in Houston. Their daughter, Meredith (so, pretty much my niece), got engaged and planned her wedding for October 31, 2020. Thanks to COVID’s lingering presence, the wedding was changed from a large affair to a much more intimate setting, and my flight was scheduled. I would leave on Tuesday, October 27, 2020 and return the following Tuesday.

The Unplanned: The Father-of-the-Bride’s Illness

A week before I was to leave, our friend Vic, Meredith’s father, took a turn for the worst. He had been diagnosed with Parkinson’s when he was in his 40s–back in the 90s–and had required full-time care for a number of years.

I arrived in time. Vic recognized me. Though he was unable to speak, we communicated. I recalled memories we shared and stories from our lifelong friendship. He was fully present, making eye contact and squeezing my hand tightly in response–a gift of Grace I will always treasure.

Beyond the Pearly Gates

Around noon Wednesday, October 28, Vic rose from his bed in assisted living into the embrace of Christ. I know he was met there by friends who’ve gone before him who certainly celebrated his arrival. I imagine someone wrapped up baby Kathryn Joy–Meredith’s identical twin who went straight to heaven when Meredith came to earth–and placed her in his arms. Probably by now, he’s found heaven’s tennis courts and is working on his serve–surprised to find his earthly Parkinson’s did not steal his perfected technique. His movements, frozen here thanks to that horrible disease, are fluid and free. And he strikes up conversations easily now–no more frustrating impediments of speech or thought. He’s healthy, he’s whole, and we are all so grateful.

Among the Living

We are also grieving. We grieve the loss of one of the most intelligent men we have ever known, a beloved father, husband, brother, lifelong friend, and a kind, gentle soul. We hate that so much of the last 30 years were spent in illness, sad that so much of his life was stunted by disease, and that so many of his relationships fell away as his condition worsened. It is heartbreaking–all of it.

Life Goes On

And yet, life goes on. Meredith, after much thought and prayer, went ahead with her wedding and honeymoon as we all know her dad would have wanted. On the day of the wedding, just three days after her father passed away, we celebrated his daughter (his miracle girl), the sweet love she has found, and the new life they will have together, just as her Dad celebrated the beginning of his eternal life in Christ. To God be the Glory.

The Call to Worship for the Wedding

Almighty God whose very nature is love, we come before you today to celebrate the truth that love is a gift—the love of family, the love of friends, and the love Meredith and Drew share. You have promised us that love never dies. Believing this promise, we know that Vic is present with us today in tangible ways—in the beauty of his daughter and in the love of his family and friends. We are grateful and take such delight knowing that your son Vic, healthy and strong, is taking in the beauty of this moment from his heavenly seat.

Loving God, we know that it is you who has given Meredith and Drew this love they have for each other. We give you thanks for this love and for the opportunity to witness this sacred covenant they are making to each other tonight. Let each of us do our part to support them in their life together and to honor you in this hour and in the years to come. We ask this in the name of your son Jesus Christ who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

A typical picture of this extraordinary bride and groom.


Meredith and Vic
Meredith and her Daddy in simpler times.
Vic and Meredith, Christmas 2019


By Aileen MItchell Lawrimore

Aileen Mitchell Lawrimore is a mother x 3, wife x 35 (years not men), minister, speaker, writer, retreat leader, and lover of beagles and books. She has a lot to say.