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Roseville bride bares soul in "Chicken Soup" book

Writes of losing mom to cancer one month before her wedding
By: Sena Christian, The Press Tribune
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April Fetch has two wedding dresses, and she wore them both to marry her fiancé.

One dress is short chiffon with thin straps. The other is more traditional. It's long and made of satin with crystal beading embroidery on the bodice.

"Mom picked out this dress with me," Fetch said, holding the gown recently in her Roseville home. "We went through so many. My mom's opinion was very important to me and this was the one we both liked. And it has this cute bow on the back."

Her mother was only able to see her in the short dress, during a simple ceremony held in the bedroom of her parents' home. Her mother would pass away from cancer one month before the planned nuptials in October 2011.

Fetch, 29, chronicles this experience in "Chicken Soup for the Soul: Here Comes the Bride," which was released in May. The book includes 101 stories, telling tales of the proposal, the ring, the dress, wedding planning, family drama, mid-life love, unconventional weddings and more.

Then there's Fetch's essay titled "Our Day," which tells of the heartache of planning her wedding with the help of her mother, and then losing her parent before the big day.

"It was on my bucket list to get something published," Fetch said. "I just like that the story is preserved and my mom's memory is preserved. It was a special thing to give my family."

She learned of the "Chicken Soup" opportunity from her best friend, who's a publicist in Los Angeles. She wrote five versions of the essay, trying to figure out how to get all her memories and emotions down on paper. She'd email drafts back and forth to her younger sister, Jill Taylor, who lives on the East Coast.

"I'd be crying when I was writing it and she emailed back and said she was crying when she read it," Fetch said.

Her older sister, Tiffany Taylor, who lives in Roseville, said she's proud of Fetch for putting their family's experience in writing and hopes the story will comfort others.

"My mom's illness was very hard on our family, but April's wedding was something that was so important to my mom, and it gave us all something to look forward to," Tiffany Taylor said. "April's story really captured how involved my mom was in the whole wedding process, even though she wasn't physically there, she was very much present. We all felt her there."

April Taylor met her husband, Matt Fetch, at 19 years old when they worked at the same restaurant. He proposed to her on the Eiffel Tower in Paris. Soon, they began planning their wedding. But then the cancer news came.

In her essay, April Fetch describes what it was like receiving this news and still trying to plan what was supposed to be one of the best days of her life. In the end, both ceremonies would be special in their own way. At the first event, her mom - in hospice - was the guest of honor.

The second ceremony took place at the Rocklin church she grew up attending, St. Peter and Paul Church, with a reception at Sun City Roseville's Timber Creek Ballroom.

"It was everything my mom would have wanted it to be," April Fetch said.

She said writing the essay has been rewarding because of emails received from strangers expressing gratitude for her willingness to share her story.

"They too have parents who have died and will not be present on their wedding day, and they said they took comfort in knowing they weren't alone," April Fetch said. "I never realized sharing my experience might have an impact on somebody else. ... That has been really cool."

Sena Christian can be reached at senac@goldcountrymedia.com. Follow her on Twitter at SenaC_RsvPT.

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For more information about "Chicken Soup for the Soul: Here Comes the Bride," visit www.chickensoup.com.