January 6th I asked the father of my beautiful baby girl to marry me. I got a cheap but durable ring that he could use for work and asked my mom if I could have the beautiful wedding set her late husband Frank Mangrella had used to propose to her. I won’t pretend I had this planned for months, it was a bit of a snap decision. Not that I hadn’t already planned to spend my life with this man, I just always pictured him being the one that asked.
We weren’t married when Reason was born but she was a very much wanted little girl. I chose Frank to be her father because where I am weak he is strong and his weaknesses are my strengths. Our daughter had the best of both of us, in both looks and who she was, she was everything that we weren’t on our own. She brought the best out of us and as her parents we shined. We understand that grief has affected us differently and we try very hard to respect those differences. We made the choice to not let this tear us apart. We will be the couple that makes it and goes on to give our daughter siblings that would never have been had she not been lost.
We made the decision to move together to Florida within the next few months and I realized if we were gonna have a wedding that most of our family could attend it had to be before we left. That was when I decided that it was now or never and set my plan into action a couple hours before he would be home. I wrote him a simple note telling him how proud I was of him and how great of a father he was to Reason. I told I wanted to spend the rest of my life with him.( I’ll have to add the note verbatim when we get home) The back of the note said, “Will you marry me?” I set our daughters ashes and pictures of her and us on the table with the ring in her ashes box and her ashes sitting on top of it.
He called me when he got home from the bathroom… I was soo nervous when the phone rang and a bit disappointed that he didn’t notice what I had done when he walked in, but when you gotta go, you gotta go. I asked him if he had seen the note, and he had, he just didn’t read it yet. So of course he reads it while I’m on the phone 20 minutes from home about to walk into my Compassionate Friends meeting. (I should have planned it better but I knew I couldn’t keep it from him for even a night and he gets way to embarrassed in public. Plus, I was terrified he might say no, or get mad at me for being too pushy.) When he got to the “Will you marry me?” He said, “Alright, let’s do it!” I was so happy to hear those words come out of his mouth.
I still feel guilty for being so happy. I would much rather have stayed unwed and have my daughter with me, but that was no longer an option. I don’t think I would have had the courage to ask or the confidence that our relationship is forever if she was still here. She showed us that we truly can survive anything, we’re so much stronger than we had ever imagined we could be.
I know there are a million places online that say not to make big changes for at least a year after a loss and here we are making two very big decisions not even two months into grieving but this just feels right. The date we have picked is March 21, 2015. Reason was born on June 21st, the start of summer, it is in her honor we’ll be wed at the start of spring. The time of new beginnings. After our Wedding we’ll leave for Florida, the quickest route is 1,111 miles from home… I wonder if that’s the way we’re meant to take, or if it’s a sign from our daughter that we should leave the place we’ve called home for a significant portion of our lives.