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  • Writer's pictureNina Castle

Darling Michaela

“This day that you’ll always remember, July 17…” the preacher said.

“Wait, what?!?” I thought.

I looked at Tim, who looked at me, with a twinkle in his eyes. I grinned. I wondered how many other people noticed. We were up on the stage of our church during our wedding ceremony, but the date was August 17, not July 17.

There was another mix-up that some of our wedding guests still remember to this day. Tim’s dad, Garey, who also was officiating our wedding, mistakenly called us “Tina and Nim”—that was pretty funny. Later, we found out that when Tim’s grandfather was officiating Tim’s parents’ wedding, he turned to his own daughter, Gerry, and asked her, “Do you, Garey…?” So, as far as we know, this wrong-name-at-your-wedding thing has occurred in two generations; without planning, of course! (Dear John and Natalie, we will try to not repeat this at your weddings, but obviously, there is no guarantee. It appears to be in the genes…)

So I reflect on weddings and today's date, July 17, which is the eve of another wedding: my dear, darling niece, Michaela. She will be marrying her beloved, Anthony. These two are wonderful human beings. I am thankful to know them both. I’m thankful for how God watches over them and how He will be the center of their marriage.

Michaela is a strong soul. She has persevered the storms in life that have been thrown her way and has come out victorious. She has a beautiful spirit of love. She is a lovely creation of God.

Michaela was the second grandchild in the family for my mom, aka Grandma Sonia. She was in between the ages of our two kids, so she was like another sibling. I will never forget her cute curly hair, her enthusiasm, her positive attitude, her spunk, her wanting to be included in every knock-knock joke, her sweetness. And that was just as a toddler!

I loved when my mom would take John and Michaela, and later on, Natalie also, to Korean school on Saturday mornings, or to McDonalds, or to the zoo, or wherever. My mom thoroughly enjoyed being a grandma and loved ALL of her grandchildren so very very much.

Michaela and my mom had a special relationship. My mom would never eat from someone else’s plate or let another eat from her plate, but this was not the case with Michaela. I also am wondering if Michaela earned some extra "points" because she was the only grandchild who would eat kimchi as a toddler, haha!

Oh, the sweet relationship that Michaela and Grandma Sonia had!

Ohhhhhhh….this is the part where I cry. Or get choked up. Or get sad. My mom—Grandma Sonia—is supposed to be here for the first grandchild to get married. (As well as all grandchildren, of course…) My awesome mom. The adored grandma. We miss you SO much!

The sting of a loved one gone too soon. The pain from a loved one’s physical presence no longer here to hug or to talk to. The sadness to not have the adored mom and grandma to be seated as a special guest at a cherished one’s wedding ceremony. This hurts. This is not how we would have planned it, for sure.

She would have been so thrilled. She would have been so happy for Michaela. She would have loved Anthony. She would try to help the new couple in whatever way she could. She would help cook or clean or babysit someday or help financially if they were to need it. She would pray for them. She would love them unconditionally. She would have loved with grace. She would be so pleased at the strong and healthy relationship that they have. She would adore how they love God.

Michaela—Grandma Sonia would be so very very proud of you.

Michaela is furthering her post-college education to obtain her Multiple Subject teaching credential and Master's Degree in Education. She is gifted and loves working with kids. Guess who else had a unique gift for working with kids, able to appease the fussiest baby? Yes, Grandma Sonia.

Michaela—again, Grandma Sonia would be so very very proud of you.

If Michaela could talk to Grandma Sonia about the ups and downs in her life (we all have them), and how she handled all situations, what she has learned from them, what she has become as a result of them, and where she is now….

Michaela—Grandma Sonia would absolutely be so very very proud of you.

Different parts of my mom lives on in all of her daughters and grandchildren. I love when we are all together, because it is as if my mom is in the middle of it all. I know--I am sure--she is here in spirit, although I cannot prove it. I am blessed to receive reminders of her presence.

In her last days, my mom told us, “I will watch over you all, if I can…” I am so very sure that she is, and am so extremely thankful for this. I know she will be watching over us, or present with us somehow, at Michaela and Anthony's wedding.

Michaela, please know that Grandma is with you on your special day.

She is filled with joy as she watches over you.

I'm filled with joy to be here on your special day--to be a part of your life.

I am so blessed to have such wonderful women in my family.

My mom. My nieces. My grandma. My sisters. My daughter.

I love you all so very much!

So grateful. So thankful. So blessed.

Grace and peace be with you all,


How are you thankful today—how do you find joy in the midst of sorrow?

Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” –Romans 12:12, NIV

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