*Featured image contains photo by Jonathan Borba
Weddings can be very emotional, especially if you have loved ones you wish could be there to celebrate with you.
But there’s a whole other layer of emotion to factor in when you get married to someone new after losing your first love. That’s when you realize just how full of ups and downs life can be.
How One Woman Tragically Lost Her Husband
Earlier this year, Tara Tardy married her perfect match. But he wasn’t her first love. In high school, Tara met a man named Joe Tardy.
By college, they were dating, and in 2012 they deployed to Afghanistan together. That same year they won a dream wedding ceremony and got hitched on Veterans Day, according to Patch.com.
The following year they returned to Mattituck, New York, to work as technicians at the 106th Rescue Wing in Westhampton Beach. Unbeknownst to either of them, Joe would die three years later, in 2016, at the age of 29.
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Four years later, Tara returned overseas and went to Africa, where she met a man named Joe D’Esposito. They decided to get married.
“[He was] someone who accepted her history, would go with her to visit her late husband’s grave, and made Tara smile again,” wrote wedding photographer Mary Latham on Instagram.
Why One Bride Asked Her Previous Husband’s Dad to Dance
According to Latham, when D’Esposito planned to ask Tara to marry him, he knew he wanted to do so in a way that honored her first marriage. So, he asked her father for permission like many other grooms-to-be out there do. Then, he asked Tara’s father-in-law, Jack Tandy, for permission too.
It was a sweet gesture, but including Jack in the big day didn’t stop there. When D’Esposito and Tara got married on Feb. 24 at The Vineyards at Aquebogue, Tara brought Jack with her onto the dance floor for the father-daughter dance.
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“At the very end of the dance, while tears were pouring down my face behind the lens, he waved Tara’s new husband to the floor and grabbed them all into a hug,” Latham wrote. “It was perhaps the most beautiful thing I’ve witnessed to date in my photography career.”
In her own Facebook post, Tara thanked everyone for the love and support, as per Outpost. She also thanked the D’Esposito family for welcoming her into their home and honored her late husband’s family as well.
“A heartfelt thank you to the Tandy family, for gracefully accepting Joe into your family,” she added.
How One Family Honored the Ups and Downs of Life
The post resonated with so many people because it’s a great example of how life is filled with ups and downs. Life can be really sad, but there are also some really beautiful moments in between.
At the end of her Instagram video capturing Tara and Joe’s day, Latham showed a photo of Tara holding up a sign that says, “One day at a time.”
It’s the perfect mantra to describe that situation, but also life in general. We all deal with loss and grief at one time or another, yet we often feel alone in what we’re going through. This story, and this groom’s reactions in particular, remind us that we aren’t alone if we lead with love and compassion.
By accepting our loved ones’ pasts and honoring their chosen families and friends for who and what they are, we can slowly redefine traditional expectations surrounding relationships and forge new kinds of bonds. Remember the past and the history that brought you to where you are, but keep in mind that there will be happier days ahead, too.