The morning light spills into the room. My eyes blink open. From the bed I look around at my surroundings.
Gold curtains are drawn revealing a large window. Dawn has come, but a fog rests in the air. Trees cluster together on the other side of the glass. I am drawn to one tree—it seems sad. I breathe in. I breathe out. My head rests on a crisp white pillow. This is not home.
“I bet you never thought you’d wake up here on this day.”
The voice comes from behind a wall. I hear laughter.
“I bet she never thought she’d wake up on this day with us!” says another voice.
There’s more laughter. I feel small, unseen, and misunderstood. My heart swells with big emotions. I breathe in. I breathe out. I don’t respond.
I grow more awake. I stare at the sad tree. The fog is weighing down all its leaves. Poor tree. I feel its heaviness. I feel its need for sunshine to melt away the sadness.
They’re laughing again. It’s coming from the bathroom. They’ve gone on to talk about other things. More laughter. I block out the chattering noise and take in my surroundings. And let it all sink in. I’m in a hotel room. In Vegas.
I’m in a hotel room.
Why did I come? Why am I here? They were right—I never imagined waking up on this day in Vegas—and even if I did—I never would expect it to be with them. I wasn’t supposed to be here. This wasn’t the plan.
Back home a white garment bag hung in my closet. Inside held a flurry of satin, bows, and lace and tied to the hanger was a simple ordinary tag. On it was printed my name and the date. Today’s date.
November 14, 1992
I breathe in. I breathe out.
The events of the last year swirled in my head…
We fell In love
He asked my dad
He bought a ring
I bought a dress
We planned a wedding
We were happy
“I love you Laura. I want to be with you. I’m just not ready to get married.”
Wait. What just happened?
The wedding was called off. I was left with a ring, a dress, and a broken heart.
And here I was on my wedding day in a Vegas hotel room with a couple girlfriends.
I don’t remember much more from that day. I think I was a tagalong with my girlfriends to a wedding for someone else—the irony of it all. I remember the hotel curtains—the large window—the tree. I remember thinking about him. Wondering where he was and how he was spending this day — our day.
It’s been years —26 years since that day.
Ironic how I’ve spent most of my adult life embracing the path of healing—and yet looking back—I never did much with that broken heart. I was 19. I didn’t know what to do—so I buried it. I buried the heartache, the dream, the hopes, the memories, and the love. I buried it all. And I moved on.
But that heart of a girl at 19 still lives in this woman of 46. And there is something to be said about carrying around the pain, love, and hope of a life that never came to be. That girl—she’s a part of me. And she’s a part of every relationship that has ever hoped and dreamed for a forever future with someone special.
I love that girl of 19. I love the innocence she had. I love that she said yes to him—just a boy of 22. We were young. We were in love. But in a moment of reflection he saw something she couldn’t. He saw it was better to wait—to not jump so quickly into all the grown up responsibilities married life would bring. I can see that now.
But because that 19 year old girl is still a part of me today—there is still healing to happen. It is never too late to heal. And I for one know full well how healing is a process—a journey that twists and turns and sometimes plateaus, and other times peaks and dips. It’s all a part of b e c o m i n g.
It’s a part of becoming whole.
She can finally heal that broken heart. She—I can finally release the pain, the hope and the love—and I can finally do for that 22 year old boy what I couldn’t do then.
I can release him—and bless him.
That same month of that same year, the movie Bodyguard was released—and along with it a soundtrack by Whitney Houston that would grab ahold of our hearts. Strange how hearing that song today gives me the exact words I need to bless and release that 22 year old boy—and heal my own heart.
I hope life treats you kind
And I hope you have all you’ve dreamed of
And I wish you joy and happiness
But above all this I wish you love