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Of Weddings and Funerals

My son is handsome, in love, and has connected our family to his wife’s. Our trip to the Wisconsin Dells and back in a rented blue Dodge Charger went well. I didn’t stumble in heels or while reading. We returned home to the devastating news that one of our closest veteran friends succumbed to his fight against Agent Orange. The funeral is Friday, outside at one of our remote Keweenaw cemeteries. Somehow, I thought I’d return from the wedding nuptials on a cloud and this term’s MFA finals would be a breeze. Life, and death, intervene, and we do our best to straddle the road. I’m asking the literary community to offer me a week of grace as my mind and heart are thick this week.

Please note I’ve extended the August 13: Flash Fiction Challenge to August 25. If you have already submitted, you can leave an offering in the comments — a 99-word story to celebrate life. I won’t collect those but will appreciate the expressions. The First Flight collection will publish on August 26, a week delayed. In the meantime, please read Susan Spitulnik’s column this week, Veteran Voices, as she profiles veteran identities. Also, catch up with Susan Zutautas at D. Avery’s Saddle Up Saloon and join the discussion about writer’s block. Friday, Carrot Ranch will host frequent flash fiction Rough Writer and author, Pete Fanning.

You have all listened to me carry on about MOG dresses and toenails and COVID-hair, so I thought you might enjoy a look at the wedding photos by the incredibly talented and hard-working Caynay Photography which, cheerfully, are not about me! That’s the thing about weddings — the focus is on the couple. Looking like we fit into their carefully sculpted landscape was vital, and the Hub and I did our parts. I was honored to read Song of Songs and from Paul’s Letter to Corinthians about love. I find these comforting words for the impending funeral this week as another bride lays her hero to rest.

Brothers and sisters:

Strive eagerly for the greatest spiritual gifts.
But I shall show you a still more excellent way.
If I speak in human and angelic tongues but do not have love, I am a resounding gong or a clashing cymbal.
And if I have the gift of prophecy and comprehend all mysteries and all knowledge; if I have all faith so as to move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.
If I give away everything I own, and if I hand my body over so that I may boast but do not have love, I gain nothing.
Love is patient, love is kind.
It is not jealous, is not pompous, it is not inflated, it is not rude, it does not seek its own interests, it is not quick-tempered, it does not brood over injury, it does not rejoice over wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth.
It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Love never fails.

~ A reading from the first Letter of Saint Paul to the Corinthians 12:31–13:8a, the word of the Lord.

In the beginning and in the end, let there be love.


  1. floridaborne says:

    They look quite happy together. A beautiful couple.

  2. Prior... says:

    Congrats to the couple and regarding the extension –
    Well I am actually glad to have the extra week – I started writing for the prompt and had to stop – my starting draft had something about August pansies tiring out and vinca in full bloom and then looked up at a plane – tried connecting to first flight but had to go.
    So now I have another week and that is nice.

    And sending my condolences and prayers up for the family and all who are impacted by this loss

  3. Prior... says:

    And oh my goodness – the wedding photos were amazing – the joy .was felt.. the colors were coordinated so well and the wedding dress was gorgeous

  4. denmaniacs4 says:

    No doubt you will be graced with much grace from your carrot ranchers, Charli. And First Flight delayed for a friend’s final flight seems about right. Condolences and good thoughts…

  5. Yes. Good call, we’ll be patient and be here while you be there for your friend and for your self. Grief needs space and time. Take it. We’ll still be here. For you.

  6. Focus on the joys of the wedding and come back when you damn well please, Charli 🙂

  7. Ritu says:

    Firstly, huge congratulations on the wedding. The photos are beautiful 🥰
    And secondly, I’m so sorry for your loss.
    These things are never easy, no matter how much we expect them.
    Huge hugs, Charli 🤗🙏🏽💜

  8. Norah says:

    The wedding photos are beautiful, Charli. Everything is so well coordinated. What a joyful day. I’m so happy you were able to be there with them on their special day.
    Sending hugs as you mourn the loss of another veteran from your community. The grieving, I’m sure, will not be just for what is lost now, but what has been lost over time. May his final farewell recognise all that his life brought to the world and the legacy he leaves for the future.
    Best wishes for the work you need to do on your thesis. May you find clarity through the clouds.
    Take care. Thanks for the extra time. I’ll see if I can find something to fly with.

  9. Jim Borden says:

    I’m glad the wedding went well – the pictures are fantastic. The bride and groom look so happy, and I love the car they drove in.

    I am sorry to hear about your friend, and I wish you the best with your finals.

  10. So sorry for your loss – the link you shared about your friend is a lovely story. The veterans look like a kind, supportive community. Best wishes 🙂

    I’m glad the wedding went well. Even when only experiencing the photos, through the internet, the day radiates nothing but love and joy. True wedding day goals!

  11. Beautiful wedding photos!
    So sorry about the loss of your friend, Charli.

  12. That was some posh do! Obviously my favourites are you dancing with your son and the sneaky cuddle at the beginning. Glad you were able to enjoy it but what a horrible thing to come home to. Thinking of you tomorrow. And at least you get to attend both. Give yourself as much time as you need – I’ve appointed myself keeper of the Compassionate Leave Policy and you’re allowed three weeks off with no questions asked. (Yes, I’ve never recovered from working in a mental health service that allowed three days!)

  13. So sorry for your loss Charli. I can imagine how deeply felt one veteran’s passing must have not only in his loved ones but the veteran community. The wedding looked superb – I’m looking forward to seeing the photos on a large screen when I get home as the phone and my eyesight don’t go together. Look after yourself and hope your thesis writing flows.

  14. Jennie says:

    What a beautiful post, Charli. Life and death, joy and sadness. Love, yes love.

  15. Deborah White says:

    My mother and my husband both died unexpectedly and only five months apart. My mother was very loving always and my husband also. But whereas my mother would not hesitate to show her emotions, happy or sad, my husband, a career police officer, held his emotions much closer to the cuff. I only saw my husband cry twice in our thirty plus years together – once when I told him I had breast cancer and again at my mother’s funeral. I was incredibly blessed to be loved by them both and even more blessed that they loved one another.

    Word Count 99

    (Charli, I’m so sorry for your loss and happy for your wedding blessings.)

  16. Deborah White says:

    Charli, you don’t have to publish what I wrote about my husband and mother. Thanks. Again, congratulations! Cheers, Deborah

  17. Jules says:

    Lovely photos. I am happy for you and yours.
    And too saddened by your loss. We also had a loss in March.

    May we continue to help each other cope… and bring joy to those we can.

  18. Joy and sadness so close together. Sad to hear but loved the beautiful wedding photos. Your son has such a brilliant smile. So, happy for the lovely couple.

  19. Michael B. Fishman says:

    My condolences on the loss of your friend, Rich 🙁

    “In the beginning and in the end, let there be love.” Amen x 1,000

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