I caught a cab from Rach and Matt's reception yesterday to where my car had been parked earlier in the day at their house. I had a conversation with the driver and we got talking about his family who are from Nicaragua and the history of that country under the dictatorship of Noriega. He's lived in Australia since he was 12 (he's now 30) but about 8 years ago, he fell in love with a girl from thePhilippines. Over the next few years, they had two kids but sadly, they are still in the Philippines with their mother and it's been two years since he has been able to see them. He's working unbelievable hours to try and raise the money to get her and the kids visas sorted out so they can all be back together as a family in Australia. I only met this young man for a few moments but already I knew he had much more strength than I imagine I ever would.
This story is obviously sad but I drove home thinking about the strength of our human spirit. It wasn't the first time that day I'd thought about this either, both Matt and Rachel had experienced sadness and grief in their own lives and it was a well acknowledged part of their wedding day. Matt's sister suddenly passed away last year, the same week his father had a stroke and Rachel's dad passed away 3 years ago after a long battle with cancer, just a few months before her mum had some serious health problems of her own requiring serious surgery. But throughout all of this, Matt, Rachel and their families persisted. There must have been days when it all felt too hard but their love for each other got them through.
Thankfully, Matt's dad is doing much better since his stroke and Rachel's mum has recently been given a clean bill of heath but both Rachel, Matt and their Mum and Dad respectively spoke after their wedding ceremony about how life had changed so much because of these experiences. Rachel's mum said that their mother-daughter roles had switched and it was now Rachel making calls at 8am each morning to make sure she was doing ok. Matt's dad, through tears of pride and happiness, said that it was Matt who helped him to be a better person each day. (...cont)