I found it at the second shop we looked at. It was the only dress with sleeves (a must!) in my size. When I tried it on it fit perfectly, like it was made just for me. We looked at a few other stores, but nothing compared to that dress. I knew it was going to be my wedding dress.
The day of my wedding, I remember standing in shock, looking at my reflection in the mirror. Until then, I never saw myself as beautiful. In that dress I saw myself as beautiful.
I walked down the aisle in the dress and promised to love, honor, and cherish a man who I thought I would be with the rest of my life.
After the wedding, I put the dress away and dreamed of the day I would use some of my dress to make a baptismal gown for a future little one, or maybe a future daughter would walk down the aisle in the same dress.
Then, one day I woke up and I found out that my life wasn’t how it seemed. I realized that the man I married wasn’t who he presented himself to be. So, I cried a little, took a breath, and started picking up the pieces. I believed that things could still work and I would still have my happily ever after.
After awhile, I realized that instead of things getting better, they were getting worse. I found out that the man I thought I married was nowhere near to the child he really was. I realized that to stay in this marriage would mean spending the rest of my life not as a wife, but as a caregiver to a mentally ill man. So, I got angry, cried a lot, took a lot of breaths, and, with the help of God and a lot of amazing people, left that marriage and started rebuilding my life.
While rebuilding my life, I found out how amazing, strong, and beautiful I really am, even if I’m wearing an old skirt and t-shirt and repacking an entire house of stuff! I realized that things with huge sentimental value, like wedding dresses, are just things. I figured out a new definition of happily ever after and am working towards achieving that dream, with the new understanding that I must keep my mind open to God’s will for me. My favorite prayer is, “God, this is what I think you want me to do, if not stop me!”
And the dress? Right now it’s at a used bridal sale. With any luck it’ll sell and I’ll use the money towards my new happily ever after.