March 25, 2020

#WERealWeddings: A Lovers Dream and A Mother’s Love

Every girl dreams of a fairytale wedding: a handsome prince that would wait for her at the end of the aisle. But not every dream comes true. And this is the story of my “not-so-fairy-tale” wedding.

JM had been my boyfriend since 2010. We were so in love back then, not even my family could tear us apart. My family is a little old-fashioned: they have all the beliefs, traditions, “paniniwala,” and other Maria Clara concerns.

On the other hand, JM and his siblings were raised by his grandmother, and because I knew my family would not have wanted me to be in a relationship with a man from a broken family, we kept our relationship secret. 

That’s part of why we struggled so much. Family mattered to the both of us. Family became the reason for most of our arguments and would cause us to break apart.  Still, the day came when they finally accepted JM, because they knew I was so in love with him.

After an eight-year relationship, I got jealous of seeing everyone around me getting married. My parents would always ask me about it but I didn’t want to force him to marry me. My sisters and friends knew how I felt, and I told them I thought that he didn’t have any plans of proposing at all.

One day, after a dialysis session, my mom was resting at the house, then suddenly passed out. We rushed her to the emergency room and I felt so broken. I saw the doctors and nurses giving her CPR and attaching medical equipment to her. The whole family was there, crying and praying for her survival. The doctor said, she had a cardiac arrest. 

For almost six months, she stayed in the ICU, unconscious. The doctors would always ask for a family conference but we wouldn’t come because we didn’t want to face reality. They said she had a one percent chance of survival. The hospital became our second home, and we were always waiting for updates and miracles to happen. But behind all these sufferings, JM had a plan.

On the first day of September, 2018, JM asked my mom for permission to propose to me. He had also asked my dad. By midnight—my birthday—JM asked to have dinner at the Veranda with our closest friends and family, just to have a little celebration. There were flowers and candles everywhere and there was a note that said “Marry Me.” I was very emotional because of what’s been happening with my mom, but I definitely said YES! 

After that, we planned our wedding: the caterers, the venue, the organizers, the flowers, the church, and the dresses. We even included a dress for mom, hoping that one day she would wake up and ask what was happening. 

By December, my mom was weaker, and they would always perform CPR on her to keep her alive. On the 13th day of the month, my dad asked us to be at the hospital and we went to the chapel to pray. My dad had said that this is the reality that we would need to face, that we already done our part, and that we would have to surrender her to God. After that moment, the ICU called us, saying that my mom had passed away. After the wake, we needed to face reality, and on February 2019, we decided to pursue our wedding.

As a couple, we always wished of having both of our parents present on our special day. It was heartbreaking, realizing that my mom would not be there, walking across the aisle with me. Still, I know my mom was there with me during my wedding, and I know she was very happy because this was her dream for me.

When the time for the father-daughter dance came, I made a special tribute to my mom. Everyone was crying, including my dad, because he had no idea about what I had in mind. I know my mom left me a precious gift: my husband. I know she gave JM to look after me, to be my lifetime partner. She may not have been there but I could feel her presence in my heart saying: “I am so happy and proud of you.” This wedding is a celebration of my mother’s love.  

John and Jenn’s DREAM TEAM |Church: Church of the Risen Christ | Venue and Caterer: Grand Palazzo | Coordinator: Voltaire Zalamea | Cake: Caking Giant | Invites: John Tolentino | Event Stylist: Michael “Badang” Rueda | Photographer: Paolo Feliciano | Videographer: Ilaya films | Gown and Suit Designer: Rop Syquia | Hair and makeup: Malonne Ursal | Host: Aries Punsalan | Dance prod instructor: Jheann Santos | Words by Jennilyn Totentino-Andaya

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