Granted, we are all aware of much of the preparations for Jade and Jack’s wedding, given the constant news footage of the reality TV star’s battle with cancer, but this first part of two specials – the second of which airs tonight on Living at 8pm – followed the emotional rollercoaster that Jade and all those around her experienced as she and they dealt not only with the huge issue of whether she would be well enough to actually attend but also the minutiae of seating plans and make-up.
The camera’s followed Jade’s friends and family as they helped her painstakingly choose everything for her dream wedding; from her dress to beautiful bouquets to making sure Bobby and Freddie were the perfect page boys, but she loves them so much, they could’ve played football up the aisle and rampaged through the venue and they’d still have been “perfect” page boys, and understandably so as all of these moments are among the last she’ll share with them…
The issue of the fact that so many things may be the last time she experiences them is what struck me most forcefully throughout the programme, and especially as Jade looked tearfully out from the helicopter at the beautiful scenery as the sun was setting.
“If I die, I’m going to miss all this” she said, which betrayed her fear of dying before the big day but also portrayed exactly the point I’ve just raised. You can see a clip of that moment here
When you actually sit and think about that – the fact of not knowing which will be your last day or last hour even – I simply don’t know how she’s coping.
Just for a moment, imagine that by some divination or insight into the future, you knew that tonight, you were going to die. Now imagine that everything you see today will be the last time you’ll see them; flowers, buses, a child walking to school, birds, green grass, your child laughing, your family; and imagine too that every time you answer your phone or get a text message, it may be the very last contact you’ll have with that person… then you get a tiny insight into what Jade’s remaining days are like, and whatever her past transgressions, it’s nigh on impossible to hold those against her as she faces her imminent death.
She must be trying to absorb like a sponge every image, every person’s face, every word… because every time she falls asleep, she doesn’t know if she’s going to wake up.
Now imagine wanting four things very badly before that happens; to be married, to see your children christened, to be christened yourself, and to die at home in your own bed instead of in a hospital one.
Not much to ask I don’t think and although we had of course already seen much of what went into last night’s show, there was equally a great deal we hadn’t, such as Jade’s humour which continues despite her horrific plight. Her laughter during her ‘pampering morning’ and her mocking of herself with regard to her baldness are just a couple of the things for which I felt nothing but admiration for her during last night’s programme.
Whatever you think of Jade Goody, she’s a woman who should’ve lived another forty or more years, and who should’ve been able to see her beloved children grow-up, and she won’t, so I personally think it’s time to put aside old grievances and step into her shoes for a few moments… and I tried to do exactly that as I watched her wedding preparations and her enjoyment of it all, even though she was battling with her pain throughout with a stoicism that I’m not sure I’d have found the reserves to summon.
But no amount of good humoured banter, giggling and selection of nail varnish could mask the truth of the matter; these are Jade’s last days and everybody knows it. It’s quite simply impossible to act normally under those circumstances and the seeming normality of pre-wedding preparations just weren’t ‘normal’. The usual excitement about the service was muted by concerns over Jade’s pain, and the normal looking forward to a life with the person you’re marrying just doesn’t apply to Jade.
This was all too obvious in a few extremely poignant and emotional scenes from last night; for instance when Bishop Jonathan Blake asked, “Do you want to say ‘eternal’ or ‘everlasting’ love?” to which Jade replied – with no hint of self-pity – “Well, I’m dying so which is better?”
“They both mean the same thing,” the Bishop replied gently.
Jade also spoke to Bishop Blake about the moment she met Jack in a club, telling him she’d thought Jack was “well fit” and she later went on to talk about how the pair then got drunk and danced to ‘Time of My Life.’
The Bishop’s gentleness and Jade’s honest responses to his questions and suggestions were simultaneously poignant, funny and sad, as was the whole episode.
Another scene that reduced me to tears came later – but which I mentioned earlier – as Jade looked down upon her wedding venue from a helicopter and after her teary episode was under control, Jade said:
“I’m such a lucky girl. I don’t want anybody to take it away from me.”
But there were as I’ve said lighter moments such as watching her choose her wedding dress, getting teeth whitening treatments and selecting bridesmaid’s dresses. Nonetheless, when the wonderful Marie Curie nurses are constantly nearby ready to help Jade with her pain – and handing her another ‘lolly’ which is actually a form of pain relief – even lighthearted moments had a dark shadow over them.
This first part ended with Jade’s helicopter landing at the wedding venue and tonight’s second part will continue from that point on and we’ll see Jade as she – despite being in crippling pain – walks down the aisle with her granddad, John Caddock, to the poignant music, Canon in D by Pachelbel.
We’ll then see the moving ceremony from start to finish including the signing of the register by the new Mr and Mrs Tweed, as well as Jade and Jack’s first dance as a married couple to Aerosmith’s moving track, ‘Don’t Want To Miss A Thing’.
We’ll also see the release of ten white doves and what’s described as “a show-stopping fireworks display”.
You can see a number of clips about the wedding as well as Jade’s recent interviews here on Sky News’ website.