First Christmas in the Rose Cottage: Post 6 of 9 – Wedding Respite

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By Mary Duggan

Mary Duggan

The frustrations and of course, the joys, of my new home had to share space with Clare’s September wedding in Rome. Every time I turned around Annie was reminding me of yet another shopping expedition required. A dress and shoes and all the trimmings. With two weeks in Italy and all the clothing changes for wedding and rehearsal dinner and travel excursions it seemed that all I did was shop AND SPEND MORE MONEY. But, it was a wonderful distraction from the trials of home ownership and I was thrilled that the same legal victory that was making a home possible was also making it possible to be the big sister at a destination wedding in Rome. I had never known any real prosperity in my life. I had never had any money beyond that absolutely necessary to survive. Many times I did not even have that. I had lived without heat, without food and for many years without security or hope. This was a new experience for me and first and foremost it needed to include generosity towards Clare who had shown me so many times what life looked like outside of my narrow and at times harrowing life.

And so we went to Rome. And the island of Capri. And Assisi. And to floral shops and catering events and all the preliminaries of a wedding no matter where in the world it is happening. This one just happened to be the wedding of a Chicago girl and a boy from Holland with friends and colleagues of 12+ years from all over the world. And so, of all places, Rome was the site for the big day. I figure my ankles would have been just as swollen assisting Clare in Chicago; at least I was exhausting myself on the cobbled paths of Italy. It was grand beyond belief because Clare never does anything in a small way. Family and friends gathered from Australia and the States; from Italy and France; and of course from Holland. When I think of all the images of that wildly emotional and hectic and spectacular day, three stick in my mind.

wedding clare calls mom

Image One: Clare, in the lobby of the Hotel Santa Chiara in Rome, just minutes before her wedding calling our mother in Chicago who was much too sick to make the journey. The wedding dress had been purchased in Chicago so Mom could be a part of things. And here she stood stunning in that dress but no mother to see her. One last chat, Clare shouting into her cell phone, “Mom, it’s Clare. I’m all dressed. I’m in the lobby of the hotel and I just wanted to tell you one last time as a single girl that I love you.”

wedding clare dome

Image Two: Clare on the altar of one of the most beautiful churches I have ever entered. Not her first choice but a stunner nonetheless, standing so brave and beautiful beneath the arching dome. Family and friends from all over the world gathered to share this moment with her. The little girl from the South Side of Chicago who had traveled so far, accomplished so much, mastered so many languages and built an amazing life for herself and by herself in Europe. Marrying finally the man she had fallen for so hard and so fast so many years before.

wedding clare hands

Image Three: Clare’s hands locked in prayer, so reverent and sincere as she entered her marriage. Ironically there were not enough prayers in the world to help the marriage she was entering into; but there was only the slightest inkling of that on her wedding day. No inkling at all would have felt so much better. But it was not to be.

And that is how we spent our Fall. And soon there was a hard frost. And that is when I knew the Terminix guy had lied.


Mary Duggan is Co-Founder and President of the Duggan Sisters.

The Duggan Sisters cracked the code and created a natural deodorant that actually works: lifestinks. And that was just the beginning. We hope you will spend a few minutes exploring to experience their spirited approach to wellness through their natural products and healing stories.

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