Our first dance as a married couple was at our wedding reception on the deck of our new home. We used the reception money for the down payment. As we slow danced, my heel got stuck between the wooden boards. Ed held my hand as I lifted my foot out of my shoe. He pried the shoe loose and gently slipped it on my foot as he smiled. I felt like Cinderella.
After Ed died, I wondered if I would ever dance again. Our dance instructor asked if it might help me heal to sit at the registration table of a dance that included dance lessons. I very cautiously said yes.
The lady that was training me at the registration table said she could manage alone. She encouraged me to try the dance lessons. I hesitated but then said OK.
The lessons started with easy steps. Then we changed partners. The next step had our hips touching while holding hands side by side. That made me nervous. We changed partners again. Now we were told we would be doing a step called the cuddle wrap. My partner wrapped his arms around me and pressed me against him. Yikes! Cuddling another man was too much for me. I felt as if I was cheating on Ed. I said, “I’m sorry. I can’t do this. I have to go.” Then I ran out of the ballroom like Cinderella.
I ran to the car crying. I saw something red on the grass next to the car. I looked and could not believe my eyes. It was a red squishy heart that said “Squeeze me” on it. I felt so loved and comforted by God and Ed. I kept the heart. I squeeze it now whenever I miss being cuddled by Ed.
Leonor “Leo” and Ed Rivera were members of the local Worldwide Marriage Encounter community for 32 of their 34 years of marriage until Ed unexpectedly died of a heart attack on Aug. 1, 2020. To learn more about Worldwide Marriage Encounter in-person and virtual enrichment weekends, visit www.wwme.org. To read more of Leo and Ed’s blogs, visit https://catholiccourier.com/viewpoints/blogs/to-have-and-to-hold.