I Hope You Dance

This past week leading up to my cousin’s wedding was rough. Although family weddings have always been a favorite of mine, I knew it would be different this time around. My mom wouldn’t be there to ease my anxious mind, to laugh with me at my Elaine dance moves, to dance with my Dad, or to smile for family pictures. She wouldn’t be there to quietly work the room and make a special connection with each person. She wouldn’t be there for people to comment on how much we look like. She wouldn’t be on the dance floor with us. She wouldn’t be there.

Each person I reached out to expressing my anxiety about this family function would say the same thing: she will be there and she would want you to dance.

So it shouldn’t have come as a surprise to me that the day before the wedding, I laid in bed and the lyrics “I Hope You Dance” popped into my head. A music love note from heaven.

This was my 8th grade graduation song. This song helped me during a huge transition in my life. Each and every line of the song spoke to me. This was a rarity, but it made it that much more special. I needed it, too. I would be leaving the comfort of a small class filled with people I’d known for nearly ten years. We would be going out into the world of high school without the safety net of our little SVdP pond. It felt like we were starting over. In reality, it was time to put our lessons to the test in “the real world.” We were leaving our comfort zone.

Attending a family event without my mom is way out of my comfort zone. It’s hard for me to gauge what’s expected, what to do next, what to say, who to talk to – I just get so nervous. Normally, I would take my mom’s lead, cause she was the epitome of love and class at these events. She would disagree with me, but I know I’m right.

I mentally prepared myself for what I knew would be an uncharted emotional eruption at the wedding. When it came down to it, I felt her spirit and followed it. I’ve never worked the room like I did at this wedding. I was happy to hug people, talk, and dance. I wasn’t nervous. I didn’t second guess myself. I didn’t get too drunk. I didn’t feel embarrassed the next day. I felt so loved. So blessed.

When the tears did come, shoulders to cry on weren’t far away. They came with a warm embrace and comforting words from people who know the beauty of her life and tragedy of her loss. Their hugs and words were her love and energy coming back to me ten- fold. Although she was not the one physically holding me, I know she was there.

She was at that church. She was on that dance floor. She was in that photo booth. She was smiling when each of us made a personal connection with someone else.

Special Love never dies.

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