When I first got engaged, I spent months scouring bridal magazines for the perfect dress. I had absolutely no idea what a sweetheart neckline was or how taffeta was different from satin. I was doomed.
In my quest for the dress, I discovered what I thought was 'the one' online. It was an ivory strapless gown with minimal foof and a small silk flower at the waist. I envisioned myself walking down the aisle in this dress. Kissing my husband in this dress. Dancing with my Father in this dress. Twirling in this dress. It was perfect.
The first time I went to the bridal store, I chose this dress along with others to try on. I wanted to twirl in this dress. I knew it was perfect. When I tried it on, my dress dreams were shattered. The dress the sales lady pulled was not the right size. It was too small. It didn't zip. It didn't fit. I couldn't get a feel for the dress. My dress. The sales lady was too shy to get the dress in a bigger size so I could see how it might actually fit. I was too embarrassed to fight for the dress. My dress.
My self esteem crushed, I gave up. I wanted to feel beautiful and she made me feel hideous. Ugly. Fat. To end the misery, I chose a lesser dress. It was...meh. But, it was closer to my actual size and it didn't look too bad. I was too traumatized and humiliated to keep looking lest I be reminded of my hideousness. My ugliness. My fatness.
The dress hung in my closet until the day of my first fitting. Occasionally, I would unzip the garment bag and peek at it, trying to come to terms with the fact that this was my wedding gown. This was what I would be wearing on the day I vowed to spend forever with the man I loved.
Occasionally, I would wear the dress and twirl in front of the mirror. Trying to envision myself walking down the aisle in this dress. Kissing my husband in this dress. Dancing with my Father in this dress. Trying to make it feel perfect.
My family at the time consisted of myself, my future husband and our elderly Siberian Husky, Skye. She had been diagnosed with a urinary tract infection on a Friday, two days before I was to have my first fitting in the dress. When Sunday came around, Skye was sick. We attributed it to the infection. Thought it was something that would pass. I rescheduled my fitting to tend to her. Monday would be the day I would tend to the dress.
Sunday night was awful. Skye was up all night, pacing the house and experiencing what seemed to be neurological issues. I was heartbroken, exhausted and afraid. Monday morning, the vet told us this may be the end for our girl. We spent the day trying to keep her comfortable and hoping it was all still attributed to the infection. Hoping she would come around. Hoping we wouldn't have to face the end just yet. Wouldn't have to say goodbye.
Monday afternoon, I had a dress fitting to attend. Things seemed to be stable with Skye at that moment, so I decided to keep the appointment. As I left the house, she stopped pacing long enough to look at me as I told her I'd be right back and I loved her. I have never forgotten that last look.
I spent the next hour or so on the pedestal in the back of the bridal store as the Russian seamstress pinned me and spinned me and tried to make small talk. Looking in the mirror, I tried very hard to focus on the dress and how it was going to look on the big day. How beautiful it was going to be. How beautiful I was going to be.
Unfortunately, all I could think about was how I hadn't slept and how I may have to make the most difficult decision of my life thus far. All the pinning and spinning in the world couldn't change what I was about to face.
As she neared the end of the fitting, I could hear my cell phone ringing in my purse. I knew it was either my Mother calling to check on Skye or it was my future husband calling to tell me to come home. Telling me that it was time. When it continued to ring again and again, I knew it was my husband. I knew. It was time.
I fought back tears and tried to explain to the Russian seamstress that I had to leave. I tried to explain that it was time. She didn't understand so I hurriedly got out of the dress, shoving the pins back in her hands. I dressed quickly and left, driving home to face what I desperately didn't want to face. What I dreaded to even think about. To say goodbye.
By the time I got home, the dress was long forgotten. The tears flowed as we loaded our sweet Skye girl into the car and carried her to her peaceful end. We kissed her and held her as she left us, knowing she would never leave our hearts.
That was the day I was fitted to the dress. My dress. Each time I put it on after that day, it never felt quite right. It didn't fit right. It seemed heavy. Cumbersome. On the big day, it needed lots of work. There was last minute pinning and adjusting. Throughout the day, there was fidgeting. Pulling. Fixing.
The day was perfect. The dress was...meh.
Two and a half years later, Skye's ashes remain on the bookshelf with her collar. Two new dogs have joined our family. My husband and I are happy and in love. The dress hangs in the closet. Occasionally, I unzip the garment bag and think about the day I was fitted to the dress. The day I became a wife in the dress. My dress. What I should do with the dress.
I still don't know. It just hangs there. Heavy. Cumbersome. Meh.