Just about a year ago, you lost your dear friend and it prompted you to once again ask why we struggled so intensely in our relationship over the years. After almost 28 years, I felt like I had the courage to try again and say what had created such a grand canyon of a divide between us. Although it was not of our creation, the sexual abuse that I endured left us both terribly mauled, as if we were attached by a vicious army of black bears in our sleep. As a child, I looked to you to know how to heal, but I genuinely understand now as an adult, the shame that you experienced was so intense ~you buried yours and therefore mine deeper. Neither of us knew the cost. I have come to realize over this last year in the ongoing work of my own life that what my brother took from me that mattered the most was my relationship with you. Yes, there have been many differences we have had and I will still openly say I disagree with some of the choices that were made, but this was like a drenched and dripping wet blanket on our entire relationship.
But, I am ready for that to be different now. I know it continues to take time and I am so incredibly grateful for the daily and ongoing ways that you have reached out and connected in ways that you know how. The day I saw that you began to follow this blog I was both elated and petrified. I am well aware that having your life publicized is extremely daunting and I am sure there are many moments where you want to call me up and say, “Alicia Marie-take that down!” And frankly, I cannot blame you, but I have continued to come back to the realization that the more I lean into this life, the more that my courage (and ours) can serve as an example of how LOVE truly WINS.
So, on the eve of our next Christmas ~ I wanted to offer a circling back on something that I have been left with from our conversation a year ago.
One thing you said that has remained a deep regret was not being able to shop for my wedding dress with me. Despite what you may think, I did not purposefully leave you out, but I see now that our relationship was strained in such a way that at the time it did not occur to me that it would matter to you. Frankly, my desperately independent side thought nothing of going and buying it all by myself- which is exactly what I did. Only at the end was my my maid of honor, not an American native, invited to the first fitting. That ended up being a funny lesson in culture clashes because it had no significance to her because in the Taiwanese culture one does not buy a dress at all!
However, despite all of this, I recognized in that moment, it was a great loss for you, one of which you may not replicate again dependent upon how the rest of this life unfolds for our family. Obviously, I cannot replace this moment and the truth is that it has taken us all this time, some 12 years later, to even give voice to that sadness and loss. But, I want to, together, have something that we can do that allows you to be a part of what becomes of my wedding gown.
I am now twelve years married, seventeen plus years into my relationship with a beautiful man who just gets me. I have been able to break a long standing cycle in our family of marriages and divorce of three generations behind me. This dress to me symbolizes the hope of what we are capable of despite the many challenges that we face.
And although I cannot offer you the past, I wish for you to take my love, add yours and make something new we have created together.
There is a special program called Angel Gowns for families who experience the tragic loss of their newborn child. I am told that each wedding gown can make up to six gowns for children who are not able to come home with their family. This is such an unexpected loss and this program offers dignity to both the child and their family.
I have genuinely hesitated giving you such a “gift” for Christmas, because it really does look like a lot of work, especially to me, the girl who can barely sew a straight line, much less figure out how to make premie dresses out of my massive wedding gown. But, this I know; I believe that if a child could come and be the Savior of the entire world, then why can’t a few dresses of dignity for children and their families continue to heal ours?
Enclosed you will find my pile of a dress and a check to cover all the extras you may need to make our precious gifts a reality. My wish is that you will share with all of us your process, take lots of pictures and give them to your local hospital. Tell them that these dresses were made from the love of a mother and daughter who have fought like hell to not allow the shame of the past to wear away the possibility of relationship.
I know we still have a long road ahead, but I am grateful that for once ~ there is a road ahead of us.
Big Love, Your Daughter
P.S. Although you never know what will change, as of right now, your granddaughter does not want you to shop for a dress with her, she wants you to Make IT.
If You Wonder About Mom’s MAD Sewing Skills, See Below for just a Few of the AWESOME Things she has crafted for us: