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A Dawn Wedding

Schoodic Point is the only part of Acadia National Park that is not on Mount Desert Island. Located on the mainland in Winter Harbor, Maine, the peninsula displays a granite sea coast overlooking the iconic park and the perfect backdrop for a coastal wedding any time of the year.

The bride is Dawn, one of my best friends, pageantry partner, selfie queen, and a traveling companion.

The groom is Jon, Dawn’s fiancée of nearly five years. The date is February 6, 2021, during a pandemic. The wedding guest included only their closest friends and immediate family, small yet intimate.

Darrin, my husband, is the officiant. Most of the wedding was arranged by Jon, with a sister as a photographer, another as the maid of honor, and me as the videographer.

The time was now; it was perfect in the couple’s eyes. They just purchased land on a lake in Eastern Maine and started the plans for a custom home. (I requested my own guest room!) Dawn did not want a big wedding or gifts, “I have everything I ever wanted,” she told me.

Giggling like two teenagers, Dawn and I searched the web for a white fur-lined cape to wrap, compliment her wedding dress, and keep her warm in the frigged February climate. We could only find an unlined satin cape because of availability during Covid times. She decided she could tolerate the cold during the ceremony if she added a white fur matching hat. Her excitement of finally marrying the man of her dreams was evident, and she thought bearing the cold for the 15-minutes ceremony was doable! And she did just that. Her warmth lay in love and vowed promised on that day.

It was cold, just like today with wind chill factors, well below zero. The sun was bright with no clouds. All we could hear was the whispering of their promises among the howling winds on the icy rocks of the makeshift altar where they vowed to love and honor each other until death, do they part. There are so many beautiful memories from that day.

Jon came to visit yesterday on his way to a concert to see one of their favorite country artist Phil Vasser. I believe Dawn and Jon have attended a few Vasser concerts, and the wedding video was set to their favorite song. But now it is one year later, and he has tickets yet sits alone. Four months after her wedding, Dawn was diagnosed with glioblastoma, and four months later, in October, she passed away.

Today, I am sitting by the fire, keeping warm with a cup of tea, contemplating my memories of that day. It’s the same type of chilling day, below zero, bright skies, but instead of celebrating the first anniversary of the wedding with dear friends, I am sitting with my new Teddy Bear, a gift from Jon.

It is made from the satin cape Dawn wore on her wedding day. The bear has the fur that surrounded Dawn’s face sewn on her ears to keep her warm. She is decorated with all the memories we have shared, pins, crowns, silicone wrist bands, leis, a presidential gold pin for volunteering, and my favorite, the charm bracelet we got on our last cruise in the Bahamas.

I witnessed their love as Jon cared for his bride during those four months and have stood on the sidelines as a friend, trying my best to help in their time of need. It is all bittersweet memories of a selfless woman filled with love and kindness who showed others real love and friendship.

Thought-provoking this week, I purchased a few bronze butterfly statues mounted on marble imported from India. I thought they would make great gifts or maybe awards for nonprofit programs. My bear came, and a bag of memorabilia Dawn and I shared. In the bag was an envelope of photos from a girl’s cruise. Of course, the photos contained Dawn’s selfies and many various butterflies from a Butterfly Sanctuary in Key West we visited. It was in my face- obvious or being presented to me from beyond, our newly created scholarship will include the Dawn Smith Butterfly Award, for a college-level or high school senior who has spread her wings and volunteered to help others in need, for when one person does a single good deed, it can change the world.


Quote on the Butterfly Effect:

“It used to be thought that the events that changed the world were things like big bombs, maniac politicians, huge earthquakes, or vast population movements, but it has now been realized that this is a very old-fashioned view held by people totally out of touch with modern thought. The things that change the world, according to Chaos theory, are the tiny things. A butterfly flaps its wings in the Amazonian jungle, and subsequently, a storm ravages half of Europe.”

By Terry Pratchett and Neil GaimaPoint.

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