Oh my, I cannot tell you how much I’ve been looking forward to introducing this special lady to you all. She had me in tears when I read her entry into our recent competition to find our new Bride-to-be writers. Not only did I want her to write for the blog but I needed to meet her… straight away! We did, hit it off and here we are…
Dawn is an extraordinary woman and she has one hell of a story to tell you.
Introducing The Boobless Bride
I’m delighted that you will be joining me on my journey from engagement ring to reception. Sharing my laughter, stress and tears – being an eccentric control freak with a creative flair, often with ideas too big for my bank balance – what could possibly go wrong? Eek.
I vowed to myself if I had such an amazing opportunity come my way I would write my blog honestly, from the heart and bare all. The past 5 years have been horrendous and I’m living proof that laughter, positivity and great friends and family can not only get you through – but enable you to have a fairy tale ending (well not ending really, it’s just the start of my new life). So, let’s hope you are not easily offended and enjoy this adventure with me.
It would make sense at this point to tell you a little about me I guess…I’m Dawn, 33, Design Technology teacher in a secondary school in South Wales and am planning my wedding to Stephen, 33 who does something in IT – he has tried to explain it several times but by the time he’s about ten words in I yawn and stop listening – thinking about what I could cook for tea or another idea for the wedding. We got engaged in August, and are planning a wedding in May. But before I tell you our love story I need to give you some background info that makes this, my second marriage equally as important as anyone getting married for the first time.
I married my childhood sweetheart at 21 and thought we would be together forever. Two beautiful girlies later and our family was complete – chaotic, but definitely complete. Never a dull moment, a house full of laughter. Then my bubble was well and truly popped!!! BANG!!! When I was 26 he got diagnosed with Huntington’s Disease and fell into a deep depression – after 2 years trying to save my marriage it broke down to a point where we were all suffering – particularly the girls – and reluctantly we decided it was best if he moved out. The sense of guilt was truly incredible – I broke my vows (in sickness and in health), I’d abandoned him in his hour of need. I knew I had no choice as his behaviour was affecting the children, but it was so hard. Only someone who has been in this situation could understand the emotions racing through you at every point; guilt, anger, anxiety, disappointment, love, hate, frustration…the list goes on. I went through so many stages of grief – it was like being bereaved but being haunted by his presence. NEVER, EVER, EVER will I marry again!
I became very lonely and eventually started the singles scene, partying when I didn’t have the girls and dating again. I hate to be a stereotype but you know what is coming…. yep, I did the cliché rebound much to my own annoyance and had a truly destructive relationship and I sank into depression too. After counselling and support from my incredible family I picked myself up and after a while decided I was strong enough to rebuild my life.
How we met
Then came the next stage of my cliché…I became desperate, registered with online sites and set out on my mission to find a fella (cringe) – I was worse than good old Bridget Jones, I became the queen of first dates – must have had 20+. I just genuinely believed that when I met the right guy.. I would just know!!! My friends teased that I watched too many Disney films but I believed it so badly!!! Sooooo many dates later; I liked them, they didn’t like me or they liked me and I didn’t them – the whole dating thing just becoming so frustrating. Then I took the decision to delete my online profile and leave it to fate. As I was logging on to delete it, a guy I had spoken to a while back was online again – I remembered we had chatted but for some reason never met (probably around the time I did my epic rebound boyfriend – fail) so I thought I’d see how he was. We hit it off straight away – we cross examined each other to see why we never did meet – put it down to wrong timing – just one of those things. I decided to seize the moment – I’m deleting my profile, if you want to chat you’d best text and handed out my number. I was introduced to the world of What’s App (life changing moment) and we messaged constantly for a few days.
So… 7th November 2014 there was a knock at the door – and in the doorway a tall, handsome guy with the most beautiful blue eyes. In true bunny boiler style, I thought… I’ll take him please. Yep, he’s gorgeous and has old school manners. Yummy!!! Our date was incredible; easy, fun, full of laughter and this spark thing people talked about… EXPLOSIVE!!! This is what I was waiting for. Date 3 came and went and I knew this was something special.
For our fourth date, he accompanied me to a routine hospital appointment as we’s arranged to go for food after. Little did I know that the routine examination of a cyst would change our lives forever. I was being rushed for a mammogram, biopsy and I started to get an incredible sense of fear. What a 4th date… me inconsolable, frightened to death and time just standing still. A few days later my fears became reality – grade 3, stage 3 breast cancer with significant spreading to lymph nodes… Double mastectomy, chemo and radiotherapy to follow with a survival rate of under 10%. Steve drove to see me, held me so tight and said he knew we were meant to be together and would be by my side through it all. (I’m not sure if you are crying yet – but I am).
The Big C
Where did this angel come from, he came from nowhere and was by my side every single step. He was there to shave my head before I lost my hair, he put cream on my bed sores during chemo, he led in bed with me the days I was too ill to move, he got me fruit pastilles (my favourite) when I had no taste buds left, he drove me to hospital for every appointment and made me laugh every day, looked after my kids when I was in hospital for 2 weeks, he bathed my wounds when I was weeping, he told me I was beautiful when I stood in front of my mirror with no hair, no eyelashes, no eyebrows and no boobs and 4 stone heavier from steroids.He drove my children so see their dad every week as he knew how important that was to me and the girls. Meaning I still have a great friendship with my girls daddy and can support him as he deteriorates. This man is just so selfless – he would do anything for me.
In my darkest days he picked me up by talking about the wonderful future we were yet to have together. He came with me for my scans to see if it had spread during treatment – it all boiled down to this one day. Against the odds – the big C had disappeared. Still high risk – but I’ve won this battle with Steve by my side!!!
So…How did we meet? He is an angel sent from above – he saved my life.
Well, unknown to me, Steve has tried on 4 different occasions to propose, but because I had just had the all clear and the kids were off school – I kept bringing the girls along to our ‘date day’ – oops. So eventually Stephen put his foot down – “I haven’t had a day on my own with you since your ‘all clear’ so we need some ‘us’ time. I agreed, and we decided to celebrate by climbing pen-y-fan, it would be symbolic of the journey we have climbed. True Welsh style, it hammered down with rain. Someone got struck by lightning up there during the last storm so we both agreed that I have danced with the devil lately as it is so this would be stupid. So instead we would head to Neath Waterfalls. 8 Miles we walked – 4 waterfalls later and a beautiful day had by all. Soaked through we went back to the car, changed into dry clothes and went into a little hikers pub. We had a beautiful meal and I said – as if setting the moment “this is a beautiful pub, warm, lovely and full of character – if I ever get married again I’m going to take up hiking to shift the weight” with that he said – best start walking then and put a little black box – not the type that find aeroplanes – this is the one that finds tears, immediately. Tears rolling down my cheek he asked if I would marry him – of course I said yes.
But this is not the real story of the proposal – the real story is how I ruined the intended proposal. Picture this – beautiful waterfall, full as it was raining so heavily, no one around, beautiful sounds of wildlife active in the storm…I’m stood on a little bridge gazing into the waterfall. Steve walks to me, puts his arm around me (in his head this is the moment) – “Dawn” Steve said… “Yes babes” I said…. then before he could say another word I interrupt him – I’m known for it, I’m an excitable person – to advise him that I would like to head back to the car soon as I’m that wet my pants are soaking and its chaffing my arse. NOOOOOOO!!!!! Moment killed…so that was the end of the beautiful waterfall proposal. Oops. But to be honest, it makes the whole ordeal more ‘me-like’.
So, that’s the story to date – time to start planning. God help us!
Huge thanks Dawn. I for one cannot wait to read your next post! This going to be an emotional one for me and i’m so pleased and proud of you for sharing this journey with us all.