I remember being sort of nervous to meet Rachel. I mean, I guess I was sort of nervous to meet the whole family but I felt especially so in meeting Rachel. You see, when I moved to Utah with Nathan to go to school, Rachel was on her mission. I had seen pictures of her and heard stories about her and had even heard a letter she had written to her family back home. I remember just not being sure what to expect. I had some serious butterflies when I was about to meet her for the first time. I was worried, wondering if, having just come home from a mission, she would disapprove of my living with Nate. Would she be cold to me because of it? Nate was so excited to see her again and for me to meet her. But I was afraid it would all turn out badly somehow.
But it didn't. In truth, I'm sure Rachel didn't approve of our living together. But she was so warm towards me, right from the start. She hugged me and I knew that we were going to be okay. She had this incredible gift I think, to make people feel accepted and comfortable. It's something I have always appreciated about her and have never forgotten.
When Rachel got married, she asked me to be included in the Stubbs family picture. This meant the absolute world to me. I was so touched I went into the bathroom to cry in private. To me, it meant that she saw me as a member of this family, married or not. Nate and I knew then that we were partners in this life together even if we didn't have rings on our fingers. I believe that she saw it too. I cannot begin to tell you what this meant to me. It meant, and still means so much. And as I go about the exciting business of planning my own wedding, I wish Rachel were here. I want her in our family picture. I want to tell her thank you. I want to show her that she was right to include me, that I'm still here, that Nate and I are still together. I want her to know that even though it looked as if we might not make it, we did. I wish she were here to celebrate the end of our 13 year engagement and the start of our married life together. I wish so many things.
A Snapshot in Time
Rachel was one of the last members of the family I met. She was also the first member of this family I had to say goodbye to. But I don't want to say goodbye. What I really want to say, more than anything, is thank you.