On the day that Emily and I were married, I woke to a clear, cold dawn. It was 5am. The sun wasn’t up yet but, over Lake Michigan, the eastern sky was turning a lighter shade of grey. For the first time in several days there was not a cloud in the sky.
He’d done it. I’d gotten my wish.
My Grandfather, my Mom’s dad, died just as my sister and I (and our cousins too) were entering the most awkward stage of life. He died right as my parents’ marriage was sputtering and staring to quit. He was sorely missed. He was a kind, generous, outgoing, brilliant, gregarious, bad-ass of a man and his passing left a great, gaping hole in our family. But we pushed on, as families do. Among the cousins, braces and acne gave way to majors and study-abroad, which gave way to careers and grad school. We still talked to Grandpa, but now it was in our prayers and in our dreams.
When my sister, and my cousin after her got married, they each were married on a gorgeous day sandwiched between other, crappier weather. They joked that it was Grandpa’s gift to them; the nice weather his way of saying he was proud and that he loved us still.
After Emily and I got engaged, I lay in bed one night awash in the practical concerns of planning a wedding. “Man”, I thought “I can deal with almost any wedding-day complication. But I want a clear day more than anything.” I didn’t want my guests dripping wet. I wanted everyone to be happy and comfortable. I wanted nice pictures taken outside.
And so, from time to time, I’d say a little something to Grandpa. I’d ask him for nice weather and let him know I missed him.
A week before the wedding we pulled in to the driveway in Milwaukee. It was 70 degrees and sunny. By Thursday it was in the 40’s and spitting rain and snow at us.
The weather toyed with me that week. It would start to clear, and then cloud over again. At the welcome-to-town barbeque on Thursday night, a great swirling knot of snow blew through the backyard.
Saturday was cool, true. But it was crystal clear. Not a cloud that I could see. After the wedding, we stood on a bluff, Lake Michigan shining beautiful blue behind us and surrounded by our wedding party, our dear friends and family.
It was perfect. It was a gift from my Grandfather. It was his way of saying congratulations.
Thanks, Grandpa. You have no idea how much I appreciate it.
Or maybe, of course, you do.