It seems our story is beginning and ending with a dress.
A prom dress.
A wedding dress.
And a dress for your service tomorrow.
I fondly remember buying a dress for my senior prom.
You were a freshman in college and I was nervously waiting to ask you to be my date.
It was just a few months after we started dating and I wasn’t quite sure that we were ready to be that official. Going to prom together was a big deal.
I also wasn’t sure that you would want to hang out with high school kids since you were a cool college man.
But you accepted the moment the question came out of my mouth.
It was a wonderful night, full of memories that I will never forget.
And definitely a pivotal event in our young relationship.
The theme for the evening was “Remember Me This Way.”
I’m reminded of the most special dress I bought for you.
White with a veil.
I remember the look on your face as I walked down the aisle on our wedding day and how you took a moment to whisper, “You look beautiful today” when I took your arm. You took my hands in yours as we exchanged vows, winked and me and mouthed the words I love you.
I hid my wedding dress from you for nearly four months in a thick garment bag, marked with a note to you that said, “Just wait! Do not look!”
And you didn’t.
You told me it was worth the wait. It was exactly what you thought I would wear.
Today I bought a dress I never hoped to buy.
Something special for you, because I know you will see it.
Beautiful all the same, but it doesn’t share the same excitement as the other two dresses I wore for you.
This morning, I found myself in a dressing room, surrounded by eight dresses.
It was a bit overwhelming. Suffocating. And made things seem so final.
When we received the devastating news in June this year, I had a game plan.
I checked things off my list, including buying a dress for your impending memorial service.
I bought two, in fact.
And I wouldn’t let you see them.
I bought one that fit at that moment.
And another that was a size smaller because I anticipated losing a bit of weight from stress.
I bought them in advance because I knew it would be easier for me this way – to take care of it before I actually needed to.
And yesterday when I tried them on, I realized I couldn’t wear either of them.
The stress made me lose more weight than I had planned.
I returned them this morning and searched for a new one.
I knew what I was looking for – something you would like.
And I found it in the first store, thankfully.
I don’t think I could have handled running around in search of a dress to wear to your memorial service for one more second.
It was hard.
It hangs on the outside of my closet.
Ready for tomorrow.
But I don’t know that I will ever truly be ready to wear it.
I suppose I’ll let it wear me instead.
Today was a little easier than yesterday.
I think God was giving me an emotional reprieve today, knowing tomorrow will be so very difficult.
And it doesn’t hurt that I’ve been under the influence of cold medicine for two days – I feel numb and stuffy.
Today the girls were pretty well behaved, although a little excited at times.
We had some visitors and lots of phone calls.
They both made a picture for you.
Actually, Carys drew a picture and wrote a sweet note.
And Cailyn copied it, or at least tried to.
Today I also tied up loose ends for the service.
Specifically, the piano music.
I suddenly remembered sharing a song with you this Summer during our travels and you instantly loved it.
We’re playing the piano portion for you tomorrow – Ben Folds’ The Luckiest.
I know you would like it. And it would make you smile. Even though it makes me cry right now.
I think it’s perfect for the moment.
I am the luckiest.
To have had you as my partner in life for over nine years.
To be blessed with two darling little girls that are beautiful and equal parts of the both of us.
To know what this kind of love is supposed to feel like.
To have learned to become a better, stronger, more humble person just for knowing you.
And to know that I will see your smiling face again one day.
The Luckiest lyrics
I don’t get many things right the first time
In fact, I am told that a lot
Now I know all the wrong turns, the stumbles and falls
Brought me here
And where was I before the day
That I first saw your lovely face?
Now I see it everyday
And I know
That I am
What if I’d been born fifty years before you
In a house on a street where you lived?
Maybe I’d be outside as you passed on your bike
Would I know?
And in a white sea of eyes
I see one pair that I recognize
And I know
That I am
I love you more than I have ever found a way to say to you
Next door there’s an old man who lived to his nineties
And one day passed away in his sleep
And his wife; she stayed for a couple of days
And passed away
I’m sorry, I know that’s a strange way to tell you that I know we belong
That I know
That I am