It can be difficult to attend family events after a loved one passes away. To make things more comfortable for her grandfather, Sahrah Elswick, set up a touching tribute to her grandmother, “Mawmaw,” during her wedding. Her grandfather, Billy Gray, lost his wife in 2017 after 45 years of marriage and Elswick knew her big day would be a bit tough for him, as well as for other family members.
Sahrah and her husband, Zachery, set up a memorial of a white rocking chair with images of her Mawmaw at the reception. Sahrah also included a sign on the chair that said, “We know you would be here today if heaven wasn’t so far away.” Grandfather Billy was so touched by the memorial, he decided to eat in front of it rather than sitting at his assigned table.
Sahrah posted images of her grandfather sitting in front of the memorial on Twitter, saying, “Pawpaw sat and ate with Mawmaw today at my wedding.” The tribute touched many people, with the images being shared nearly 20,000 times. Many followers commented with their own stories of loss, and touchingly, Sahrah took time to respond to each one.
Sahrah shared with Today, “It meant everything to me to see this at my wedding. When I saw him sitting there, I immediately burst into tears, I was just so heartbroken and also in awe at how much he loved her. It was so important that she be a part of my day because we were very close, and I’m so glad I did it because now I see that it meant even more to him. They were rarely serious and stayed happy and made each other laugh. They stuck together through everything. They never really had much, but it didn’t seem to matter at all to them.”
We thank Sahrah for sharing this beautiful story. We know Mawmaw is looking down, smiling at these touching photos.
When I’m not hanging out with my three-year-old and husband in Brooklyn, I’m busy writing stories for Mamas Uncut and managing PR + Marketing for Magnolia Bakery, based in New York City. On weekends, you can usually find me at a local park or playground pushing my daughter on the swings, “researching” the best almond croissants in Park Slope or launching into impromptu family dance parties at home, the sidewalk or, every once in awhile, a restaurant bathroom. I’m still trying to master the whole parenting thing, but I have learned that copious amounts of coffee, humor and humility are involved on a daily basis.
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