I gave this speech at my sister’s wedding, and I was asked to share it with everyone.
Hi everyone, good evening, I’m Sasza, Rach’s sister.
I want to thank you all for coming, truly.
I promise I’ll make myself available for funny stories about Rach later in the evening — I could explain why she’s saved as “Bootycall” in my phone — and how many awkward moments that’s led to (especially when babysitting small children), or I can just show you the amazing video footage I have of her rapping Macklemore, or if you’re reallyy lucky you might see the public debut of our zombie marionette dance moves later tonight on the dance floor.
But for now, I just wanted to take this opportunity to really acknowledge why we’re here.
I want to acknowledge all of you, I want to acknowledge today, this moment, and Rach and Warren.
It’s moments like these that shape our life.
I don’t know what the meaning of life is- I have no idea what the greater plan of any greater power than may or may not exist might be — but what I do know is that all the value that we derive from our own personal lives, all the purpose we feel, can be traced back to our relationships.
If you had one minute left and your entire life flashed before your eyes,
it would be smiles, looks, hugs, zombie marionette dance moves… tiny fleeting moments. Connections. Mental photographs of a feeling.
And your entire life would be summed up in all the love that you have felt throughout it.
But how do we define that feeling? How do we define love?
Recently someone asked me “What is your definition of love?”
Of all the questions that I have prefabricated answers for, this one surprised me. I didn’t have an answer, nor could I couldn’t think of one. I sat there, thinking, and so I finally asked them.
They told me, “I think love is a choice.”
And thought about it, I questioned it, and I found it really interesting, but I also knew there was more to it.
I kept it in the back of my head, and it wasn’t until two days later that I came up with something that felt right. I think that love is getting close enough to someone that you allow them to create part of the person you are.
And yes, that, is a choice.
You choose who you let in and you choose who you let go of, and for that reason there are also different types of love.
There are some that come in and out of your life — someone may have helped shape the person that you were, but not the person that you are now.
But then there are other types of love that are unshakable.
That define who we are, for life.
For instance, familial love.
From the moment you are born, your family shapes who you are whether you like it or not, and that stays with you for life. Rach, you have helped create part of the person that I am today, and even as I change, even as you change, that fact will not.
Familial love is engrained in you.
That love, that version of you that was created since birth, stays with you, continues to define you, continues to be with you, and to be present. No matter what.
But then there’s romantic love. Romantic love is much more difficult yet more unique than any other. It has the power to shape the person you are more than any other, and it is also more of a choice than any other.
It is because of all of types of love that all of us are here today, and we are here to celebrate the latter — to recognize and to celebrate the choice, the commitment that Rach and Warren have made. The commitment to love each other and to grow together.
Because while friendship and familiar love can be permanent, it does not evolve in the same way that romantic love can. Rach and Warren will be a part of shaping the other person, everyday, in a way that no one else ever can nor will.
Your love already has and will be tested with life shattering sadness but it will also come with eye opening and life changing happiness. And through everything, everyday, you will make that choice and that commitment to contribute to the other person, to contribute to who they are, in the best way that you can. To strengthen and create a more resilient love, while trying never to forget how important the other person is, how deep your love is for them, and how much they mean to you.
My siblings and I were recently told that if your life is a book, then it must have chapters. And in order to start a new chapter, you must end a chapter. But for me, it feels like in order for a chapter to end, there is an action or a gesture required; something that recognizes it in order to really feel it. And today is exactly that. Today is the beginning of a new chapter, or what the heck an entirely new book if you want — because maybe you want your life to be a three part series instead of just one book, and that’s also a choice you can make. But really, it is the beginning of a new chapter — and it can be whatever you want it to be. Right now, and everyday, you can choose to make it beautiful.
And so I want to congratulate you on this new beginning to your beautiful life together.
Today we celebrate the choice and the commitment that Rach and Warren have made, but I would also ask us all to make a choice and a commitment to all of our relationships. To recognized them, to nurture them, and to value them. And to remember, although it might be hard, that they define our entire lives. They define who we are, they define our happiness, and they define our purpose in life.
The first night we got down here I was sitting on the couch with Rach and I asked her, “What are you most excited for?” And she said,
The cake is delicious, it’s true, but the cake stands for much more.
So I just want to raise a glass, to Rach and Warren, and to all of you, and to say “Life is short. Eat dessert first. Make sure you enjoy it. And make sure you enjoy with the people you love.”
This speech is dedicated to my mom, who we lost in a fatal accident last year.
Today is her birthday.
This art project is also dedicated to her, and it documents the journey of the unbearable pain.