Wedding guests are like elephants—they never forget.
Continued (page 2 of 2)
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She had about seven or eight bridesmaids, and we all had gowns made in different shades of blue. Mine was turquoise, with lots of chiffon overlay. I even had shoes dyed to match. I put them on my nightstand and fell asleep looking at them every night for weeks. They were my first heels, and the most amazing things I'd ever seen.
A few weeks before the wedding, I started to get sick. Eventually I was diagnosed with a serious kidney infection and admitted to the hospital. Every day I asked if I was going home, and every day they told me no. Days turned into weeks, and I realized I wouldn't be able to go to the wedding. I was heartbroken.
On the day of the wedding, at about 6 p.m., I was sitting in my hospital bed watching television (the moment is still so clear to me that I can tell you I was watching The Flintstones and eating Jello). I started to hear noise like rustling fabric down the hall. The nurses began talking excitedly, and people were breaking into applause. I craned my neck to see if I could get a glimpse of what was going on, and suddenly my sister was in the doorway, wearing her wedding gown and holding her bouquet. She'd brought my whole family straight from the ceremony to see me on their way to the reception.
I immediately dissolved into tears. I was overwhelmed by her presence. She was so beautiful and elegant, and she was the first bride I'd ever seen. She came and sat on the bed and everyone took pictures—her in yards of white organza, and me, ironically enough, in a turquoise hospital gown. She helped me to the window and we looked down at the waiting limo, cans and ribbons tied to its bumper.
I'll never forget the kindness she showed me that day. I still get choked up when I think about the moment of absolute magic when she appeared. And I still have the photos.
Of course, my favorite shot from that day is one of my father sitting on the bed and whispering in my ear as I sobbed uncontrollably. Many people have seen that picture in the intervening years, and they've all wondered what words of wisdom he imparted to me in that special moment.
He said, "Don't cry on the tux, it's rented."
April Winchell has been a talk radio host, a sitcom writer, an advertising executive and the voice of hundreds of animated Disney characters. In October of 2009, she created the hit website Regretsy.com, which led to the publication of "Regretsy: Where DIY meets WTF" in April of 2010. Even though she has been writing professionally since 1989, she still finds talking about herself in the third person really uncomfortable.
- April Winchell