Until Death Do Us Part

“I appreciate that dear,” said Dad when I told him we were getting married at St. Stephen’s, down the road from the farm where I was baptized and my brother is buried.

It was a small wedding, sixteen people all told: our parents, Lynn’s children, my sister and her children, and the Oatmeal Savage, our stand-in photographer.


“This has never happened before,” laughed the vicar when we asked to start the ceremony twenty minutes early.

katie and lynn and the pastor

The sun set, the candles lit, it was a pantomime wedding; we each played a part.

It began with Lynn’s family standing in a half circle at the front of the church. My eldest nephew, Seth, began the procession down the candlelit aisle past the empty benches strumming his guitar with my sister and his siblings behind him. Arm in arm with my parents, my father with his cane, we made our way down the aisle until we formed a circle with Lynn’s family, where my sister and her children sang back up harmonies while I sang my love song to Lynn.

Watch here: Be My Valentine

joan marilyn candles

Our mothers lit the unity candles and everyone but Lynn and I sat down, my family on the right and Lynn’s on the left. The vicar read his opening statements and Lynn and I sang our duet. I played guitar and he harmonica.

Watch here: Still Falling

“Now, for the actual wedding,” laughed the vicar.

katie and lynn's wedding-kids

We said our vows and prayers. Lynn’s son, Joel, gave us the rings we put on our fingers. His daughter, Zoe, read from Corinthian’s, his eldest daughter, Anya and her fiancé, Brad, signed as our witnesses, and his father ended the ceremony with a prayer.

lynns dad

“I pronounce you man and wife and that’ll be 2 dollars,” said Dad, leaning in to whisper in my ear.

With candles in hand, Lynn and I led our family out of the church and down into the cemetery to my brother’s grave, more candles in the grass lighting our way. There, we cracked champagne, drank from silver goblets and lit sparklers to celebrate in the night. My sister’s toast as much a long awaited eulogy to John as a wedding toast to us. Goblets tipped bubbly with laughter onto the grass surrounding his grave.

katie and lynn's wedding- John

“My testicles are in my throat,” said Dad in the beautifully clear but bitterly cold night.

katie and lynn's wedding-dad

Dinner took place at a nearby family restaurant on the local reserve, the owner I knew from high school. A private room in the back, we all held hands as Dad started his prayer, but he forgot the words halfway through.

Shaking his head and instead, he sang the song he brought us all up to sing, and sing loud we did.

Johnny Appleseed wasn’t the only song he led that night. Twice, he spontaneously sang Lord, I’m coming home, once at the church and again at the restaurant. We sang with him both times.

Amongst the cocktails, poached pear and Cambozola salad, butter chicken and more wine, speeches were given and bonds were declared.

“We’re real cousins now,” said a niece to a stepchild.




My speech was in the form of a song, predictable I know.

The Proudest

Don’t mind me while I get personal, always been this way

I learned life can be unusual and I like it that way

Because you’re the most beautiful, kind and generous

Gentle, crazy, wild and shy

And you make me the proudest stepmum in the sky

You were born with bonds of loyalty, torn apart in a home at war

So in your eyes I was Lucifer invading your front door

I can’t say that I’ve raised you, I wouldn’t call me your Mom

But we are family and I love you, and I’ll protect you from harm

Because you’re the most beautiful, kind and generous

Gentle, crazy, strong and wise

You make me the proudest stepmum in the skies

So if your golden heart breaks, lost love or inexplicable aches

Or if you strive for first place but pretty knees buckle and you fall on your face

Or if you turn 74 and your muscles crack and your bones are sore

Or if we’re long gone and dead, remember the words in this song I said

You make me the proudest stepmum in the land

So honey, please take a stand

And then there was cake. My mother-in-law is an artist, painter, muralist, art therapist. She flew to BC from Ontario and baked and painted the most beautiful cake ever made. Icelandic love and marriage poetry circling the base of the top layer and other symbols of our life and ancestry scattered around the bottom: a lion for England, a springbok for South Africa, a candelabra for Judaism, and a Coast Salish whale for the west coast. It hurt to cut.

katie and lynn's wedding-cake

By the time cake was eaten and coffee was poured, the busy dinner rush had passed; the restaurant, then empty, made room for a dance floor that was all ours.




And then the wedding ended just as it should, with the bride on her back with her kitten heels in the air of the trunk of a hatchback taxi and the groom squished into the front seat with his future son-in-law.



It couldn’t have been more perfect.



“What’s happening now?” asked Dad when he saw me on Monday morning after the Friday night rehearsal dinner, the Saturday wedding, and the Sunday brunch.


everyone on the steps

Sunday Brunch

It’s over and done. The ceremony is complete. We’re married.


Though there are many dear friends and family that I would have loved to have invited to our wedding, I do not regret our choice. Blended families are complicated and this weekend was not only the marriage of a couple, it was the marriage of two families. We needed this time for us.

katie and lynn's wedding-parents

Thank you dear ones: Sandy, Joan, Peter, Marillyn, Anya, Brad, Zoe, Joel, Kristin, Delean, Seth, Taeja, Kai and Nicol.

the kiss


About Morbid Optimist

My name is Katryna Mary Brooke Ormiston. I am 35 years old and after living in Vancouver for a decade, I am returning home to my 81 year old father’s hobby farm on Vancouver Island to care for him in the final stages of his life. This blog is to document my journey, process my experiences along the way and hopefully share and feel connected to a community beyond the three and a half acres I find myself on. A message in a bottle in the cyber-sea.
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12 Responses to Until Death Do Us Part

  1. Such a beautiful time for your families – peace and love always to all of you.

  2. Vicki pierobon says:

    O my God Katie! That is so beautiful and you’re wedding sounds like it was perfect. I too was a blended family wedding but was not lucky enough to have my step kids present. Lucky you, so patient you, and now, so perfect!

    • Thanks Vicki:) It really was a family affair. It’s so nice to feel legitimized in my relationship with Lynn’s children too. I’m not their Dad’s girlfriend anymore. I’m their stepmum. xo

  3. Carlene Neeve says:

    Katie – you are as talented as your sister!
    I found your words and thoughts amazing – like I was a fly on the wall watching the whole event – part of it!!! I know your Dad and sister, lived in BB for ages, was Secretary at SS for 11 years. Where were you then? Sorry I don’t remember!

    Thanks for sharing your amazing celebration of marriage and two families blending!!!

    • Carlene,
      Thanks very much:) I went to SS every second weekend as a child but stopped attending during my adolescent/young adult years. Nowadays, I go with Dad from time to time to visit and catch up with the friendly congregation. It’s a beautiful community of people that take very good care each other. Eva Townsend picks Dad up every week for church and someone often takes him to the Friday soup lunch. Beautiful people!

  4. Sylvia Olsen says:

    Thank you thank you Katie, my dear, for allowing us to share your wedding. It was lovely, just like you….Sylvia

  5. Erin Houldsworth says:

    Is it weird that I am bawling?

    Thanks for the good cry. I LOVE YOU!!!

    SOO happy for you. Let me take you for breakfast one of these crazy days!


  6. That is awesomeness. And your father being able to be there, awesomeness. And your song to your stepchildren, sniffle.
    Awesomeness all around.
    See you around Mosaic perchance.

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