A Wedding Isn't Always Sunshine and Unicorns

When I saw this post on A Practical Wedding today, I felt like someone knocked the air out of me.  Not only could I completely relate, but I wished someone would have discussed such a question on this topic while I was planning.  I'm always at odds on how much is too much to be shared on the internet, but I would like to share my experience if it will help someone out there.

My mom passed away four months before my wedding, and it was the saddest, most painful experiences I've gone through yet.  What made it worse, was that I was in the middle of planning what was supposed to be "the happiest day of my life."  I went through a mixture of emotions:  saddness (the most obvious), anger that my family was having to go through this after we had been through so much with her illness, guilt for not moving my wedding date up so she could be there, when she wanted to be there so badly, numbness when I couldn't feel any worse.  After all that, I really thought there was no way a wedding would suddenly clear everything away with one sweep and transform one day into a joyous occassion.
In the weeks leading up to our wedding my emotional well-being continued to decline.  I wept frequently- while I opened rsvps from people my mom was looking forward to seeing at the wedding, at the bridal shower she was supposed to attend, as I printed our programs-noting her name under "those who have gone before us".  In addition to the emotional drama I was going through, I had put off a number of key projects until the last minute (= little sleep) which amounted to me being a huge ball of stress on the day before our wedding.  At our rehearsal, there were several moments when I almost lost it- seeing my MIL wear pink in honor of my mom (her favorite color), when my dad gave me away "on behalf of" my mom, the strong feeling that there was something missing.
Finally, after the day arrived that I had both longed for and dreaded, and I was standing next to Mr. Beagle, my husband, all seemed right (or as right as it could have been) in my heart again.  Our loved ones surrounded us, my father was genuinely smiling a smile that I had not seen in a long while, and for one day, the cloudy sky broke open for a ray of sun to shine on us.  As Meg so elliquently wrote, "..I really believe that weddings are about hope..".  They really, really are.  In a way, I wonder if experiencing our wedding after my mom's death was life's way of letting us know that.  It was in no way as good as it would have been with her present, but it was the best day it could have been without her.

Life happens and it isn't always pretty.  Sometimes it's hard to see or believe that, when, like me (blogger/internet junkie), you're surrounded by gorgeous images from picture-perfect weddings.  Just know that you're not alone if you're going through something similar or have already been down that road.  On that note, I'll leave you with this quote Meg left on her blog:

"Every one of us is called upon, probably many times, to start a new life. A frightening diagnosis, a marriage, a move, the loss of a job... And onward full tilt we go, pitched and wrecked and absurdly resolute, driven in spite of everything to make good on a new shore. To be hopeful, to embrace one possibility after another - that is surely the basic instinct... Crying out: High tide! Time to move out into the glorious debris. Time to take this life for what it is." - Barbara Kingsolver, High Tide in Tucson


Beagles at the Beach: Part II

After we spent a full day relaxing by our pool and along the beach by our hotel, we were ready for a little more adventure in the next day of our trip.  We browsed through a few of the activities the hotel suggested and settled on a "Sunset Cruise" that departed from the marina in Cabo San Lucas later that evening.  To ensure that we were able to find departure point (and be there on time), we decided to go into the city early in the day to play "tourists".

Cabo San Lucas is about 30 minutes travel time from San Jose del Cabo (which is where we were staying).  Originally we were going to take a bus there (because it was a lot cheaper than taking a taxi and we did not rent a car), but while we were waiting at the bus stop, a local who had just dropped off his friends at the airport and was on his way back into the city offered us a ride.  Normally this is not something I would recommend, but we happened to come across the right person at the right time.  Our "driver" actually lived and worked in Texas for a while and we had a pleasant conversation with him to make the drive shorter.  After paying him what we would have been charged for the bus trip and tipping him (on a side note-in Mexico, tipping is expected for most services), we were dropped off by the huge mall that sits on the edge of Cabo's marina.

There was a really pretty waterfall in the center exterior of the mall.

As we exited the mall to head toward the marina, I noticed this:

Although I didn't stop for any coffee at Starbucks during our trip, I felt a little better knowing their caffinated beverages were within my reach. :)

The marina was packed tightly with boats of all sizes.

And pelicans were in abundance.  We saw a seal lion also, but only for a second (hence the lack of pictures).

After walking for about twenty minutes and taking in all the sights, we finally decided to stop at one of the many eateries along the water's edge for lunch- chips and salsa, followed by fish tacos.

I'm really not much of a "fish" person, but I tried my best to be open-minded on this trip because of the
selection and variety of fish that was available.

After lunch, we explored the remaining length of the walk around the marina.  There were interesting sights such as this large Dia de Los Muertos ("Day of the Dead") statue and a large display of Mexican fighting masks.

By the time we reached the end of the marina walkway, it was still early afternoon and it was hot.  We decided to make our way back to the mall and hide out in the cool air conditioning (and for me, shade) until our tour departure later that evening.

On the way back to the mall we saw this sign:  "Not For Sale"

This was pretty much the only hill near the marina that was not built on.  We found out later there was some activism geared toward preventing builds on it (a nerdy tid-bit, but I found it interesting).

Once we got back to the mall we found more Dia de Los Muertos statues.

One of the shops showcased a model of a tequila distillery.

After we soaked up some much needed AC and gave our feet a rest, we wandered to the upper floors of the mall.  They had a few really good look-out points to the marina.

I completely forgot to pack a shawl/sweater/cover up and hat for this trip.  Since my skin color is "pale and burns easily", we had to pick a few items up while we were in the city (or I would have turned into a tomato).  These items, along with my 70 spf sunscreen were my life savers and  I am happy to report that I came back home with zero sunburns :)

We also had a chance to preview the set-up of some of the Dia de Los Muertos decorations for a celebration later that evening.  I loved the all of the colorful decor.

Real flowers and food were used to decorate each of the shrines.

Up next:  A boat ride and arches!