A Twice Blessed Dress

   
 

This is a blessing-saturated story.

It is a story of a search for the perfect dress, of joyous overlapping friendships, of mothers, daughters and sisters, of a dress twice blessed by a beautiful woman wearing it, of the smack down cancer got, and how Facebook facilitated the fine exchange.

The story begins one year ago when Katie became engaged. There are two major decisions after a ring finds its home on the bride-to-be’s finger: the date and the dress. Katie’s wedding required an abundance of dresses. Each one reveals a story: Katie’s splendid wedding dress that Jan, Katie’s mom, insisted on buying.  Jan’s elegant mother-of-the-bride dress that Katie and her sister Abbey spotted, loved and made Jan try on. My ruched bridesmatron’s dress that Abbey found.  The eight unique flower girl dresses that Abbey sewed. (See these wonderfully whimsical dresses at Katie and Jeff’s Wedding Journal).

In California another family was anticipating a wedding.  Two sisters, Jean and Joy, were searching for the perfect dress for Ernestene, their mom, to wear to Laura’s (Jean’s daughter) May wedding.  When Curt and I began our married life in 1978, Amos, Ernestene, Jean and Joy were family to us; their home was our home-away-from-home.  They fed us dinner at least once a week; we shared holidays; we were companions.  I can still hear the laughter that rebounded around their table.

Amos and Ernestene’s golden wedding anniversary in December was tarnished by a serious cancer diagnosis.  A lifetime of love, care, and compassion which Ernestene had cheerfully dispensed returned to her in effusive expressions of love and concern.  Chemotherapy, however, was nastifying Ernestene’s life, making the basics like eating and drinking a challenge. “We just give her a variety of things to dislike.” 

Chemotherapy kept Ernestene from shopping.  Finding a dress meant finding hope, hope that joy and beauty lurked beyond this dire moment. Even a woman like Ernestene, who has cheerfulness woven into her DNA, who as a sick patient concerns herself with how her nurses are doing, needs occasional infusions of good cheer. When Joy saw Katie’s wedding pictures on my Facebook page, she noticed Jan’s elegant dress.

And so began a fabulous correspondence through Facebook messages. 

I copy and pasted like crazy.  Joy asked the label of Jan’s suit; I sent it to Katie. Katie replied Jessica Howard including further details; I messaged Joy.  Joy: “Carol, I’ve looked and can’t find THAT dress… crazy idea, but potentially the best…would Katie’s mom tell us the size and be willing to sell or rent it to mom if it is a fit?”  Some of Joy’s messages were written from the hospital by Ernestene’s bed.

It was a fit!  Less than a month after first message, Ernestene had a dress hanging in her closet for her granddaughter’s wedding. Sweet relief! Jan had been wondering how long to keep a dress she didn’t expect to wear again and was glad to send it to Ernestene.      

When I saw the picture of Amos and Ernestene, two strong towers in our formative years, walking down the path to Laura’s wedding, I wept. 

Don’t both women–who look alike and whose hallmark is kindness–look radiant in that Jessica Howard suit? 

It’s true that Facebook devours time, immobilizes people, and can keep us from partaking of the succulent bits of life.  But in times of distress, Facebook can disseminate information to people everywhere.  It allows friends to share pictures of their kids and grandkids. And it can bring blessings in the form of a dress.

My search for a mother of the groom dress
The dress I wore
A dress I wore the day I got married

Because I love weddings:

All I ever wanted was a Cinderella dress and Gerbera daisies.

She wore cowboy boots under her grandma’s wedding dress
Flower girls flinging flowers
I particularly liked Queen Elizabeth’s canary suit for the royal wedding
The defining moment of Jon and Lindsey’s wedding
The most courageous wedding picture ever taken…before the ceremony
An extraordinary lover’s knot in a wedding
Jackie came down the aisle to Non Nobis

Advertisements

5 thoughts on “A Twice Blessed Dress

  1. Love this, Carol! Today, Cassie and I stepped foot in a bridal store for the first time. No, not for a wedding dress. 🙂  That is still a year so in the future, but we have been talking more lately about dress styles and lace patterns. No, today we were looking for a bridesmaid’s dress. We wound up in a fabric store and bought the perfect fabric.  (The dress is for Terry’s niece’s wedding and she only specified the color and length of the dresses, the girls are all choosing their own styles.) We are so excited about making the dress and having it custom fit. It’s a whole new world, isn’t it? The world of weddings? Thanks for writing so lovingly of beautiful, sacred, vow-centric ones.

  2. @secros60 – I know already that you will have a great time creating a dress.  We have been blessed with many weddings at our church and among our friends.  I think it may be slowing to a trickle…there is only one family wedding on our horizon.  I think they clump together. Thank you, again, for your encouraging words.

  3. I just started a FB account, and I confess the whole culture over there baffles me. Maybe I just haven’t figured it out; I don’t want to be judgmental, and I do want to be accessible to people I care about. Your story is a good reminder that FB is, like so many things, what you make it. 

Comments are cinnamon on my oatmeal!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s