Knowing As A Widow[er]

My mom got married to Greg Humbles on Saturday, February 20th, at 2pm. He recited the best vows I've probably ever heard, and my mother is radiant. She requested that I write a toast for them... as a poem. This was it. [Picture is my sister's: Bree Barela.]


I pictured you both as children.
As dreamers. As dreaming as though till death do we part
were no more than words on a page. 
As unafraid. 
As omniscient as youth is on a wedding day, 
when love hopes all things, and believes all things,
and promises to do the same
when love must bear all things, and endure all things, 
when all things change. 
Everybody breaks. 
Everybody’s broken and every body aches
and I do not know how to pray
as I ought.
I thought that life would be different. And it is.
But I see dreams in my mother’s eyes again. 
Knowing as a widow on a wedding day,
hands held inside of a miracle, worth the breaks, worth the risk,
answers to the groanings too deep for words inside of both your kids -
it has been
a long time
since we’ve seen you smile like that. 
It’s good to see it back.

I didn’t overanalyze my emotions when you told me about the engagement. 
Which isn’t like me. Just letting life happen without questioning all of it. 
You know. 
I’m overanalyzing my lack of over-analysis now. 
The flood will come tomorrow when all the what the hell just happened? 
sets in. 

I’ve gotten to give two girls in my family away in marriage this year. 
I love it and I hate it at the same time. 
But I am so thankful Jesus let me be a part of your family, 
and I am so thankful that Jesus is recreating our families, 
and I am so thankful that Jesus places the lonely in families, 
and I know without a doubt that Jesus could not give a man a better woman
to start a new family with than
my mom. 

She is a mirror.
She is kindness in a frame, 
long-suffering reflected in the unveiled face
of a daughter
of a King. 

(Who is making all things new.)

A toast to the two of you: 

Greg, you are an answer to my prayers.
I’m sorry that you have loved and lost, 
but I hope this feels like redemption.
Thank you for loving my mom. 
She will be comfort and grace and mercy to you.
I’ve watched her be that, and been the recipient of it in my own way,
for 26 years.

Mom, I love you.  
I will never be able to write a poem or a toast or a combination of both
that does justice to all who you are. 
Death loses its sting a little bit more today.
Thank you for being faithful through everything, 
thank you for always pointing me to Jesus. 
Do that for your husband. 
I know you will. 

Love you both. Cheers. 

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