Sunday, May 4, 2014

How Do You Find a Wedding Dress Without Your Mom?

There's something I didn't mention in my last post, about why I haven't written much on Sally's Circle in the past few years. 

The truth is, wedding planning without my mom was really hard. So hard that I couldn't even come here and tell it to you. An open wound I couldn't yet put words to. 

Only later, after the wedding, when I could just experience the pure joy of finding a partner with whom to traverse this crazy, beautiful, sometimes painful life, did I begin to process the feelings of grief and loss that I carried between my engagement and wedding day. 

So I wrote about it, through the lens of the crux of my misery: finding a wedding dress. And the amazing editors at said they'd publish it. And then their incredible community of women wrapped me in their arms with their 96+ comments. (I'm still trying to reply to each one, but in a thoughtful way, so please be patient.)

So here she is, in all her glory, my essay:

My Mom Died 10 Years Ago, But How Am I Supposed to Choose a Wedding Dress Without Her?
By Marisa Bardach Ramel
Totally overwhelmed: How do I do this without my mom?

A hipster salesgirl in Warby Parker glasses and red lipstick unzipped me out of the millionth wedding gown I’d tried on that weekend. Emerging from the dressing room in my jeans and flip-flops, I scrutinized my curly up-do in the faraway mirror -- the one meant for teary-eyed brides squealing that they’ve found The Dress.

Instead, I saw a scared little girl -- forever that 20-year-old who lost her mom -- masquerading as some sophisticated, almost-30 bride-to-be. Yeah, right. I wasn’t fooling anyone, least of all Laura, my maid-of-honor and best friend since 13, who studied my face expectantly. She liked so many dresses -- how could I feel so meh about them all?

The store’s door closed behind us with an annoyingly cheerful jingle. Outside in the summer sun, I inhaled New York City’s Sunday brunch scent of smoky bacon and exhaled out the entire experience. I was free -- for a moment.