My daughter’s two sons, Bradley and Silas, will provide “ring security” as they walk down the aisle at the wedding. It will be Silas’s job to carry the pillow that has been used in every wedding in my family since 1981. There is a story that goes with it, that I’m going to share here, and you’ll either think it’s kinda neat, or a little weird, but either way, it’s our story and means a lot to us.
I grew up the eldest of five children born between 1961 and 1966. My sister and I were first, fifteen months apart, then there were about 22 months before the first boy. The three boys were each 13 months apart. We grew up loud and rough and we love each other fiercely. In June of 1975 there was a terrible accident and we lost the middle boy, our brother Arlan. He was just two months from turning 10 years old, and his death was a tragedy for our family. The whole funeral thing is a pretty foggy memory for me but there was a huge arrangement of flowers atop the casket that included this pillow and a banner that said “brother”. I remember my mom taking the pillow and giving it to me, saying, “You should use this as a ring pillow when you get married.”. I was just turning 14 that summer, so I tucked that pillow away and got it out again in May of 1981 when my Honey and I tied the knot. My cousin’s little boy, Robbie carried it for me.
My sister had my own son carry it five years later for her wedding in Arkansas (well, really, he just held it for photos, since he was in the nursery during her entire wedding. He was a very “busy” ring bearer…), then it got put away until 2000 when I offered it for my youngest brother’s ceremony here in my little town. A few years later, the last of the four of us married in Sioux City, Iowa, and my sister’s son carried it that time. I put the pillow away in my hope chest and pretty much forgot about it.
Then one day a few years ago, I had an email from my eldest nephew, asking if he and his bride could use it for their ceremony. I was extremely touched that he wanted to continue this tradition and include a memory of our brother, who he’d never known, in his special day. The ring pillow travelled with me to East Texas.
Next week it will be used once again here in Nebraska, and my siblings and I will have little part of that missing brother with us on this day. I very much appreciate that my own daughter is honoring this tradition in our family, and hope it carries on in future family weddings.