Friday, 18 April 2008

Agoraphobia & Collette's Wedding

On Thursday, Collette's big day had arrived. Her wedding day. The day which had caused Marie's anticipatory anxiety, and the day which was costing me thousands of £'s

Collette and the bridesmaids stayed with us the previous night and were busy all morning drinking champagne and getting ready. The downside - the bathroom was occupied most of the time. The upside - watching a succession of half-naked women running back and forward across the hall. When the photographer turned up at 1.00 pm, they were ready and Marie, the kids and I were pretty close to being ready, too. After the photographer did his bit, we all went to the wedding venue. How was Marie going to fare there? I had no idea.

When we arrived at the wedding venue, our two cars were placed where Marie felt that they would help her to keep her anxiety at a manageable level. Then she was able to enter the building with our children. Collette, the bridesmaids and I followed a few minutes later. After a short but pleasant civil ceremony, we assembled in various groups for the formal photographs. This was followed by a sumptuous four-course meal. After the hot beverages had been served, it was time for the speeches and champagne toasts. That completed, the dancing could begin, starting with a disco. Later a live band performed, and after a break for a buffet supper, they would play a second set and a disco would finish off the evening.

The first hurdle for Marie was the wedding ceremony. Success! She managed to sit near the front with the children.

The second hurdle was being able to join the rest of us for the formal group photographs. Another success! Marie, who had established a useful rapport with the photographer (the same one that attended our wedding almost two years ago), accomplished this task easily.

The third hurdle was Marie sitting beside me at the top table for the duration of the meal and the ensuing speeches. More success! Marie managed with some effort to get to her allotted seat, and was able to stay there and even become comfortable. This was what I had hoped for most. I was able to relax, which aided the delivery of my after dinner speech. As a consequence, my speech was exceedingly well received.

The fourth hurdle was getting to the toilets. Failure. Although only 6m away from her seat, Marie wasn't able to get to them. Instead she exited the wedding suite, drove to the other end of the complex and used the more accessible ladies' room there.

The fifth hurdle was to cope with the noise of a live band. Success again! After an initial bout of anxiety, Marie settled down to enjoy the band with the rest of the assembled guests.

There was a break in the music at 9.00 pm for a buffet supper, and then the band started up again. It was at this point that Marie's anxiety took over and she couldn't stay in the main room. So, after taking my leave from family and friends, we left. We only missed the last hour and a half. No big deal.

Collette wore a stunningly beautiful wedding dress which accentuated her slender figure and feminine curves. Her fiancé, Neil, exhibited an endearing humility and shyness. The two of them radiated happiness.

Although, as one would expect, all Collette's family were in attendance, there was one special appearance - her brother Colm. Colm came for a few hours during the evening part of the celebrations, brought there by staff from the home in which he lives. He really enjoyed himself and, being autistic, he is incapable of faking his emotions. His obvious and infectious enthusiasm added energy and life to the proceedings.

Collette's mother and her partner travelled for seven hours to attend the wedding. Although she does not have a close relationship with her children, they all made her feel welcome.

Neil's family were there too, of course. Marie and I had previously met many of them, and a fine group of people they are.

So the wedding was a great success for all - including my dear wife. She joined the rest of us in savouring a contented glow that evening. Collette and Neil additionally enjoyed their first night as a wedded couple and looked forward to their honeymoon in Mexico followed by a long and happy life together.

Collette is the third of my daughters to get married which means that there are two single daughters left. Collette's younger sister is only 2½ years old, so luckily I've got a few years to save up for her wedding! Her older sister Colleen, however, got engaged earlier this year, and has suggested that she may get married next summer - in Malta. If Marie is to attend that wedding, her agoraphobia will have to be significantly diminished.


Coffeecup said...

Wonderful post! Congratulations! The photos speak volumes. I'm happy to hear that it went so smoothly and wasn't quite as stressful as anticipated. You must be so proud!

Perhaps Marie was just mentally exhausted by the end of the evening. It must have taken a lot of will power, strength and determination on her part. Think it just burns you out after a while. What she did was awesome. Anyone who has empathy with your situation will be astounded by the real achievement that resulted. It cannot have been anything like easy for you guys! WELL DONE! xx

Gary said...

Robert that was a great post! and tell Marie she did amazingly well! i would have struggled with all that! It was really nice that Colm came along and enjoyed his self and i hope he had some of that great looking cake!!!

Robert said...

Hi Steph -

Collette & Neil told me that their big day was awesome. Making it as good as possible for my daughter was my main concern, so I'm relieved - and happy for her.

After seeing your comment, I asked Marie if she had got tired by the middle of the evening. You were correct - she was soooooo tired from holding it all together for so long. She really made the effort and I'm very grateful.


Robert said...

Hi Gary,

I passed on your message and Marie wants to write to you herself.

The way that Colm had such a good time at the wedding and was so well-behaved was a real highlight for all of us who are close to him and it made the bride's day. He has become really settled in his new abode and looks better than he has for a long time. You are one of a very few people who can understand how important this is. Thanks for your comment.

maz said...

Aw Robert, it sounds like you all had a wonderful day.

I'm so pleased it went well, I was rooting for you all!

maz x

Marie said...

Hi Guy's

Thankyou for the comments..

I did have a great day especually as I was starting to think the day before that it may be best not to go at all, But one thing that did upset me at the wedding was when the band started, as I would have been the first person up on the dance floor.. But my anxiety won. suffering with the anxiety I have just changes my personality that other people see.. which is very frustrating as I know I am a out going and fun person. But Hey I just have to learn to beat this bloody thing!! grrrrrrr

ps, sorry for the bad spelling and grammar... did I even spell that sentence right? or that one? lol

Rachel's Diary said...

Aw bless.... you look very charming hun! And very proud! how lovely and I am so please that Marie could be with you on a special day such as this... xxxx I know when I go to somot as big as that I get so worked up before the event and my heart just pounds throughout till I can get home and feel comfortable I have had the odd time where I have felt relaxed but it's a HUGE mental battle xxx Well done Marie cos I know how u feel hun i really do xxx

SarahC♥ said...

Well Done Marie :)


Robert said...

Rach - I was well proud of Collette. Before my youngest 2 children arrived, for 14 years she was my "baby". Additionally, since her mother never bonded with her, we had a very special and close relationship. So I am extremely pleased that she has found happiness with her husband. I hope that it lasts!

Marie said...

Thanks Sarah. I was quite pleased with myself!

Rachael Hale said...

Great Post!
Well done for getting through it Marie :)
Glad you all had a lovley time, i love that cake!