I want to say it was March. I’m pretty sure it was March because I think that was my very first dress fitting, which my mom wanted to come out for. And if I remember correctly, I had just received my wedding dress from Katie May, a wedding dress designer out in California, who created the most beautiful backless wedding dresses. My bridal shop had recommended a local dress designer who specialized in tailoring backless dresses. Yes, I had a backless dress. Ooh la la. The hubby hinted at it, and I loved the look. It was tastefully done and showed off my hard work at the gym. *wink*wink
Anyway, my parents had come into town and I remember Jesse had been traveling for work. He hadn’t arrived yet, so the three of us chatted and talked all things wedding.
My mom loved Jesse. She thought he was so great and such a good person and a great fit for me. She really enjoyed doing things for him. Jesse has Celiac disease – which I think we covered in an earlier post – us driving through Kansas in search of gluten-friendly spots… Gluten and he are definitely not friends. It also means I have had more than my fair share of gluten-free pizza crusts – mmmmmm. My mom is known for making her famous casseroles. She grew up with them, so we grew up with them and when we went to college, she continued to make those delicious meals for us in freezer-friendly packs. My roommates lovingly referred to her as Huntington Chicken Kay, based on one of the casseroles she made for us, called, you guessed it – Huntington Chicken. The thing is, none of those casseroles were gluten-friendly, or dairy-free (my gosh the butter and cheese!). Luckily, he’s not both. Now that she had met Jesse and he was in my life, she began to learn how to make her recipes gluten-free. Every single one of them. She had attempted to make every single casserole she could, just for him. And, stumbled upon some new recipes along the way.
The night Jesse flew in, she had decided that she would make him goulash. One of the staples that she had when she was growing up on the farm. We scooped up some gluten-free pasta, got some hormone free beef, chicken, whatever it was, beans, and sauce and we had dinner ready and waiting for him. The hubs and I actually made that this week after a snowing day up in the mountains; craving comforting food.
It was good having my parents in town to see my dress, and to see it on in person! Mom had been kicking this thing called cancer and winning, and she was so eager to celebrate our big day. But this particular visit she seemed more tired, just a little more tired than normal. Maybe it was just the round of chemo she had a few days prior. But Dad mentioned she had been taking naps more than normal. Noted.
The next day, mom, dad and I went off to try on my dress and have my first fitting with my tailor, while Jesse headed to work. After the fitting, we grabbed some lunch and then my mom wanted to stop by the mall. She wanted to take a look at the stores here and see if she could find anything different for her mother-of-the-bride dress. Amarillo has ONE of EVERYTHING. ONE Target, ONE Dillard’s, ONE shoe store. Ok, that’s not true. I think they have two of those.
She had found a dress already, a navy blue one. I had seen it; it was pretty and it looked just like her. But I don’t think she was totally happy with it. She really wanted to buy a beautiful dress she could wear at my wedding. Something summery, something she hadn’t worn before.
So off we went to Nordstrom.
She tried on several dresses, but one in particular just made her light up. Her face beamed with happiness. You could tell that she felt really pretty for the first time in a long time. Chemo robs you of some of that, too. She really did look beautiful. The light green color was a perfect compliment to her fair skin. The high-end, delicate lace fabric draped her in the most gorgeous way. She was stunning.
My dad’s face lit up too when he when saw my mom. You could just tell that this was the dress for her.
It was a little long, but we figured we could have that tailored. She also wanted a bit longer sleeve, and we decided that she’d be able to tailor it back in Amarillo. It was an expensive gown. She wanted to sleep on it, and make sure before making such a big purchase. We walked away, only to later return, and headed to the car.
Nordstrom was on the complete other end from where we parked, and mom was tired. There were several benches along the way, and I’m pretty sure we sat in about three of them for several minutes on each. Her body needed a break. The most recent chemo had really made her tired. Plus, we had just had a really big day.
She just needed some time to sit down for a minute.
I didn’t think too much about it then. But I think a lot about that time now. Her body was starting to shut down. I bet those tumors of hers that we encountered at MD Anderson, they were already there, setting up shop inside her liver for a very unwelcome stay. We would later learn the truth was she hadn’t been responding to chemo since back in the fall.
But what I reasoned with at the time back in March was just that she was tired from the chemo. It can make you feel exhausted, like all you really want to do is just lounge around and watch TV. You don’t feel like your happy-go-lucky self for a few days. It’s not really the nicest of things to endure, is it?
That was the last time she would come see us in Colorado. And you know, I didn’t actually think about that until just now. She never came back to Colorado, ever.
Later that night, as she was describing the dress to Jesse later that evening, she was grinning ear to ear. We knew then, we had to go back and and she had to have that gown. And that right there, is a happy memory from that weekend.