My Brother's Wedding

I was very nervous about my brother's wedding on August 23rd, 2015. My adrenal insufficiency coupled with social anxiety means I don't always play nice when I grow overwhelmed. I wanted my brother's wedding to go well and not have my adrenal insufficiency flair up. I did not want to draw attention to myself. I wanted the focus of the event to be on the bride and the groom.

In the months leading up to the big day, I had to sit out on many activities. I could not attend my brother's engagement party. After extreme frustration, a panic attack triggered by my husband, and many tears, it was decided that I would spend the evening quarantined to the couch with my cat while he ventured to the party alone.

I was distraught. I tried to plan that day well. I tried to save up energy so that I could attend and show support for my brother and his fiancee. But in the end, I lost. I was a crying mess left alone on the couch. I sent my brother a very disappointed text message informing him I would be a no show. His response was absolutely perfect.

"We don't want you to waste energy feeling bad about it."
My brother knew I supported him, and that's what mattered. I had to continue to remind myself of that fact during the entire wedding weekend, as I would randomly decline participating in social activities due to health. I had to leave the rehearsal dinner early because my social anxiety grew to an uncontrollable level. I was extremely disappointed that I missed my dad's toast, for I know he gives amazing speeches.

Weddings are also opportunities to see many people that you haven't seen in a while. My brother's wedding was the first time for several guests to see me since my own wedding in March of 2014. They kept repeating to me and my family how I looked healthy. I looked happy. And it looked like I was doing extremely well.

I got to visit with the pastor that performed my ceremony.
He still remains a close family friend, whom I love dearly.
In the chronically ill community, we grow very frustrated with the phrase "But you don't look sick!" I find the phrase "You look healthy!" completely different. These were close family and friends who saw me when I looked very sick. They remember looking at a pale, listless, bag of bones. They remember hearing stories of the multiple hospital stays and ER visits. Some of them were even at my side during the various hospital adventures. When they tell me I look healthy, they mean I look healthy. It's an exciting thing for them to see.

A picture of me with the beautiful bride.
Photo taken by Stephanie Brazzle Photography.
I am doing well. And I look healthy. The weight that I have re-gained over the past year has made me look healthy.

I look healthy. I am healthy. I am Clearly Alive.
Towards the end of the night, my brother approached me and told me that I handled the weekend perfectly. Suddenly, all of my insecurities about being chronically diseased did not matter. The only thing that mattered was that my brother was proud of me. And I am incredibly proud of him.

I don't care how old or how tall he is, he'll forever be my lil' bro.
Photo taken by Stephane Brazzle Photography.
To the new Mr and Mrs:

May your friendship and love for each other continue to grow and deepen daily.
May you always be able to share a laugh together, even when times seem really, really scary.
And may you never ever forget that you have me supporting y'all, always.

Love, your older sister.

Welcome to the family, new sister.
Photo taken by Stephanie Brazzle Photography.

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