To My Sister On Her Wedding Day – Part 2 of 4

Growing up, I found it hard to comprehend the need for tradition. What is the point of holding on to customary beliefs when our thoughts and actions are so modernised? It was during the course of prepping for my sissy’s wedding that I came to connect the dots.

Traditions are like the threads that connect the dead and the living.

Traditions are a set of guiding rules our ancestors’ practice when they were alive. It is a way of life and forms the framework of their beliefs. To disown traditions is akin to disregarding their belief system and therefore, acts as a form of disrespect. The dead can no longer come back. It does not matter that we continue with traditions. Yet we continue for the reason that though their bodies no longer reside with us, they are kept alive through our sheer act of keeping with traditions. When we keep to traditions, we keep our ancestors alive. This is what it means to be immortal – to live on in the lives of others.

I was never one to believe in marriage. Acts of betrayal often unfold before my very eyes. Infidelity seemed to be a recurring theme in relationships; only a handful have happy endings. It was conflicting to watch my sissy move on to the next phase of life. I know life has no guarantees, what more a union between two different individuals. As a result, I grew incessantly paranoid that the person I love could be placed in an undesirable situation.

Yet strangely in time, I learned to let go. Perhaps it was age, growing wiser with each passing year. As humans we have limitations and there is just so much we can do to help another. Or perhaps it was the act of faith kicking in. Faith that she is as tenacious and resolute as our mother, standing by her choice with unwavering conviction.

Choose your friends carefully. They are a reflection of you.

No matter the reason, when I met the band of brothers, I was finally reassured. It is often said that people are reflections of their five closest friends. The type of people you surround yourself with speaks of your values and what you stand for. And these guys were a group of fine young men. As with all major events, minor issues were bound to occur. Without the contributions of everyone (brothers, bridesmaids & family members), this day would never have been realised. It required team effort and everyone was a team player. I knew my sissy had found her team and that the members would look out for her. She had finally found her place of belonging.

My parents have been married for 30 years. Recently I asked them what makes a good, lasting marriage.

‘忍!!’ mom replied in a comical manner.

Then turned serious and said, ‘Look more at their strengths and less at their flaws. Bad days happen so it is important to remember the love.’ Dad, on the other hand, faced trouble explaining. He says it contains a myriad of factors but ultimately concludes that, ‘Marriage is a commitment. It requires give and take, and a huge amount of understanding.’

Are there happy endings? A perfect match? The sacred soulmate??

The ‘one’ is a myth. It only means, ‘the one who works to make sure you two fit.’

With that, I wish the newlyweds a blissful marriage. Of an entirely new world filled with a band of colours. May no tough moment set your hearts apart. Till death do us part.

(All photos used are courtesy of Red Dot Studio)

For Part 1 of the series – To My Sister On Her Wedding Day – Part 1 of 4

To My Sister On Her Wedding Day – Part 1 of 4

Just like that, my childhood buddy grew up, found the love of her life and got married. It’s astonishing how a simple union between 2 people would require such extensive planning and involve this great amount of people.

E started planning for her wedding almost 1.5 years before the big day. Getting married had always been the biggest item to be checked off the bucket list, and she wanted it (near) perfect. I guess perfection, to a certain extent, runs in the family. I recall the months leading up to her wedding. It seemed like the day would never come yet as we fervently looked at our to-do list, we knew we were running low on time.

26 November 2016 was the day E & R picked to wed. A week before the wedding, I fell sick. The weather was erratic and rained even though warm, sunny days were forecasted. The house was a mess. There were still lots to be crossed off of the to-do list. The night before the wedding, it rained while the groom was out decorating his car. There was panic, frustration, and finally, resignation.

Then came the glimmer of hope. The rain stopped.

It was a surreal moment as I stood by the groom’s car collecting my sister’s wedding dress. The future had arrived. I was living in the moment I had been dreaming about. The long wait was in that very present and would soon fade off into the past.

People ask how I feel watching my sister plan, get married, and finally move out of the house. To be honest, it is a complicated feeling and I face trouble putting it to words. It feels sort of like graduation day. You’re happy and proud, yet at the same time, a hollow ache punctuates the side of your ribcage. You feel dumbfounded and bewildered that it has all finally come to an end.

I laugh along with everyone but the truth is that I spent 3 weeks before and after her wedding, crying myself to sleep. It’s not that I’m sad or hurt. There was a huge sense of loss and I wasn’t sure what I had to do to fill the space again. Maybe I’m just wired that way – an entanglement of logic and tenderness. A coping mechanism, perhaps?

I guess what they said was true. That you can mentally prepare yourself for many things in life but most times, you will never be ready when it comes and what it will do to you, emotionally.

I’m the sort of person who fights hard for the people I love. During our younger years, I fondly recall standing up for my sister whenever I felt she was getting bullied in school. Even though the same blood flows within us, we’re 2 individuals with opposite personalities.

My sister is, and will always be the more patient, milder child. Looking at her glow in the brightest of all smiles, I knew it was time to hand over the baton. I’d done my part to protect her during the last 28 years, and now, it was time for her to spread her wings and fly off into a whole new world.

(All photos used are courtesy of Reddot Studio)