In December, I sent my Mom what turned out to be the most rewarding and possibly challenging gifts I could offer. In my continuing efforts for us to heal, I offered her my wedding gown as a symbol of my wishes for our relationship.
See my Blog from December to read the letter:
I was scared. What if she said, “No?” Even worse, what if she did a whole lot of fumbling around with it until I lost hope? This whole vulnerability thing- S.U.C.K.S., I’m just sayin’. But I knew no matter what happened, I had to trust and know that a wedding gown was not emotionally bulletproof.
But, of course she said, “Yes!” She called Christmas morning and we cried and laughed and she thanked me and we weaved more stitches into our broken hearts. I was elated knowing that I could not give her back the moment, but we could agree to not allow anything to steal our joy in the future.
What came over the course of the next several months has been a slow bright, beautiful burn in our lives. I could say lots of fancy words here, but I will let many of the beautiful pictures and texts that popped up periodically speak for themselves.
Something Sparked in my Mom that I have not seen in quite some time.
Perhaps here is an important piece of the story that has not been told, but all too common in many familys. Mom medically retired from being a correctional officer of many years and later went to work part time for Michael’s Craft Store. This was a dream job for her; she got to play all day and create to her hearts content. Of course, she would do the normal bitching anyone does when someone else gets to tell you how to use your time, but she loved it, made friends and felt good about her place in the community. Then a terrible accident occurred resulting in not being able to physically work and the with it, the return of the ugly monster of depression and anxiety. It was devastating and so incredibly painful to watch my vibrant, loving and generously kind mother go to a place that is all too familiar and dark for many of the women in my family.
But the spark was so much more than I imagined. I asked her to consider healing for us, but I believe that if we want to change the world, we must change ourselves…..And So She did.
A few days after the initial text she sent me this:
I called her after this message. Woah.
Then came this blob of material in a text:
Then another blob of material in a text…no note, just blobs:
Then came the first Angel Gown:
Then the first for a baby boy:
And Here are all Eight Angel Gowns that my dress made, by hand and stitched with love of my mother:
It was truly a delight! Out of tragedy for my Mom and I, we were able to build something new. I understand she did not loose me in the physical sense that parents who loose their child do, but in many ways I was lost to her in the emotionally. Perhaps we give dignity to our relationship, as well as, those parents who will loose their child at what would be a moment of pure joy.
What happened next just blew my mind……She called me a few months later and said that she knew why ‘I was doing this‘. She felt I had some other covert (although kind) agenda to get her to connect with people again and give her meaning and purpose by working with others on the Angel Gown Project. I absolultely and honestly can say that I only wished I had that much devious forethought to consider what it may open my mother up to. But it did. She even sent me selfies to prove she had gotten dressed, put make up on and was leaving the house to meet the wonderful women of the Fresno County Angel Gown Project:
Isn’t she beautiful? I did suggest she smile, but I think she was still figuring out the selfie stuff and it is very serious work, as you know. I always recommend taking a few in just the right light and making kissy faces to loosen up the death grip smile….or just kissy faces in general. How could you go wrong?
This is what ensued following the completion of my gown:
Yes Ma’am! She made a slew of them and has not stopped since January. My mom talked about how she recognizes what an unimaginable heartbreak it would be to loose an infant and if she can provide just a moment of dignity for those babies and their families, then her mad mad sewing skills will never go in vain.
When I sit back and look at all these images, from a dress to a transformation for dignity, I am truly in awe. I get that sweet warm feeling in my chest that makes my eyes tingle. I hope these images speak the volumes in which they speak for me. Go back and stare at them for just a moment and revel in the gifts that are given on so many layers.
So I say Thank You; Thank You Mom for hanging in their even when their seemed to only be threads left. I am grateful to you for stitching our broken hearts back together and giving dignity back to our relationship as well as the lives of these parents.
Now This. This is LIVING. OUT. LOUD.