In our Business we have the pleasure of working with some pretty amazing couples and wonderful families. The couples who come and go through our doors become near and dear to our hearts. Many times we get to hear interesting stories of how they met or stories of triumph over adversity.
Saturday I was enjoying a day full of appointments. Getting to know the Brides and their families. Enjoying the process of helping them pick out that important dress for a very special day. My last appointment of the day was a bride who had been in once before. She loved a particular dress but wasn’t sure about the fabric. She loved the pattern but wanted it to be lighter in color. Her mother loved the dress but did not like the fabric. It is a very unusual fabric called Rosette Jacquard that has an embossed pattern throughout. The lines are so simple on this dress that the fabric makes the dress. We tried on dress after dress trying to get the same feel of the first dress, but with different fabric. She liked some of them but when she put on that first dress again, her face lit up and she knew it was the one. Our only problem was, her mom did not like the dress. She could not see herself walking down the isle in a dress her mom didn’t like. She wanted her mom to think it was beautiful.
“I love the dress but I do not like the fabric.” her mom said sadly. It looks like the curtains I had in Bosnia.” ……. “Well mom, see I will be bringing some of our home in Bosnia to my wedding” as she laughed she went into the dressing room to try on a different dress.
Trying to lighten the mood, I turned to her mom, thinking I would talk to her about her daughter and how she felt about the wedding. “So are you excited for the wedding?” I said, hoping to get a conversation going. She said yes shyly. Then sat quietly…….. “See it is so, so hard.” she said and then paused. “So much memories. So. much. memories.” Seeing her struggling I asked “Is she your baby…..Is she the youngest?”
In the next 15 minutes she opened up to me about how she had lost her second child (a son) in the war. How her husband was in a concentration camp for 11 and a half months; all at the time she was pregnant with her third child and her daughter (the bride now in my shop) was a toddler. She told me how she lost her mother, father and brother in the same war and about their escape to America with two small children and a broken heart. “He is now another son” she spoke of her son-in-law between tears and broken English.
I marveled at her courage and her strength to go through what she did and to come to a strange new place where she knew no one and didn’t even know the language. It has captured my thoughts all weekend long. She arrived in Idaho in 1994. Our family arrived in Idaho only a few short months earlier, at the end of 1993. I too felt the loneliness, the pain of being in a strange place. We had lost everything. We were trying to find a fresh start. Trying to leave the past behind. Our tragedy pails in comparison.
During the same years that I struggled to raise my family in a new environment and morn the loss of the past; she too was struggling with the same things; but with the added grief over the death of a son, mother, father and brother; along with the hardship of learning a new language. Suddenly my past pain and struggles seemed so small. I know how crushing some of the pain of my past has been. How was this woman still standing? She will forever be burned into my memory. Her story will forever make me want to press on, through the tough times.
Her daughter opened the door of the dressing room and came out in another dress. Although beautiful, it didn’t not fit her the way the other one did nor did it make her light up in the same way. “Now, I’m not liking this one” her mom said “I think I like the other one better, go try it on again.”
She went back in to try on the original, one more time. “See, I am so happy to be here. It is all ok now. My husband; he is better now. It’s his birthday today. I’ve been crying, because they are all growing up and leaving.”………. “My youngest son; he was very sick and in the hospital when we came. Now he is BIG boy. He is 18. Very strong.” she smiled with pride from ear to ear. …………..”It is good. ”
The bride entered with the original dress. She was glowing. She was so happy in the dress she almost giggled. Her mom saw how beautiful she was and how happy she was. She no longer saw the fabric that reminded her of tragedy. She saw the victory at the end of a struggle. She had hoped and dreamed for her daughter to one day grow up and become a beautiful bride. This day had come!