I said goodbye to my wedding dress earlier this week. Just like that, it was gone from the back of my closet and into the hands of someone else. It was a relatively easy decision for me to make, especially when I considered what my plans for my dress were.
I remember shopping for my wedding dress. It was at a small boutique that was close to home. I did not take many people with me. I wanted the experience to be intimate and personal. I tried on at least twenty dresses that night before narrowing it down to three. But something kept pulling me back to my dress. Ironically enough, it was the very first one I had tried on. I remember how I felt when I had it on in that fitting room–beautiful, graceful and timeless. It was the one. And I got that feeling that brides so often speak of when they know they’ve found their dress.
It was all white, in full lace and adorned with elegant lace flower and bead appliques. The dress hugged my curvy figure and allowed me to feel confident in my own beauty.
The day after we got married I put my wedding dress back into its bag and tucked in into the back of my closet. I always planned on preserving it and maybe someday, you know, giving it to one of my daughters. Although let’s be honest, I don’t think I can name person who has ever done that. Life moved on quickly and my dress became a forgotten treasure.
A couple of years ago, I had heard of women donating their dresses to be transformed into gowns of a different kind; gowns for babies who would not return home from the hospital with their families. Hearing of this idea after I had Tessa, I knew I wanted my dress to do this. After Tessa’s dramatic entrance into the world (resuscitation and all) and at the ripe age of 24, I learned how fragile the birth experience really is…how fragile life is. I know how fortunate I am to have brought both of my babies home. But it doesn’t escape me knowing that all too often there are people who will leave the hospital empty handed and heartbroken. And for the life of me, mom or not, I cannot fathom that kind of tragedy–nor do I wish to.
My searches for local organizations who did this kind of work repeatedly came up short, even though there are numerous organizations across the country. I was on the hunt for over eighteen months until I finally found one. I contacted them on Monday and they picked up my dress later that day. Their suddenness caught me off guard, but I grabbed my dress bag from the back of the closet and unzipped it for the first time since I wore it. Five years of neglect had started to turns parts of the dress yellow, making me regret never having it preserved. Shoot. But it was still beautiful. I held it in my hands, reminiscing our wedding day and recalling just how much I loved my dress.
I knew in that moment that someone else deserved this dress more than I did. It had served its purpose for me, and it was time to let it breathe a second life elsewhere. Although no dress can certainly heal that hurt, I only hope it can soften the pain–even if it is for the tiniest moment. I hope that my dress preserves a delicate moment and honors a precious life in true grace, elegance and beauty; the way it is deserved.
I met her at the gas station in my town, with both of my daughters in their carseats singing along to the Frozen CD. We got out of our vehicles and exchanged smiles. I handed her my dress without hesitation. She assured me that she would have the seamstress send me photos of the finished gown(s). That was it. I walked back to my car feeling bittersweet. When I sat in the drivers seat, I was greated excitedly by both Kendal and Tessa. I watched them sing some more and giggle at one another. As I drove away, listening to the backseat chatter, my heart was full.
I am so glad about my choice.