The night before I got married… Wait. Let me back up. I knew that when I married Mister I would be moving from St. Louis to Dallas. So several weeks before the wedding, I moved all my stuff – including my clothes – to what was going to be our home in Texas. I kept enough clothing to get me through until the wedding and subsequent move, but no more. That pile included a single dress I planned to wear to my wedding rehearsal and dinner. So, the night before I got married I began to get myself ready for the evening. When I pulled on my rehearsal dress, there was a sizable problem: it no longer fit.
Many of my gal pals lose weight when they’re stressed. I’ve heard countless stories about women who had to have their dresses taken in before their weddings, as their stress levels kept them from eating and led to their seamstresses having to readjust and refit those wedding dresses over and over. I’ve witnessed this. Multiple friends have experienced it and I’d love to tell you I can relate, but that ain’t me, y’all. As my wedding day approached (about a jillion years ago), my stress led to me gaining weight. My poor seamstress was worried about running out of fabric as she struggled to let out my dress. More than once. For reals.
So when the wedding rehearsal night rolled around, I couldn’t fit into the only dress I had hanging in my closet. This was P.S. time – Pre-Spanx – but it wouldn’t have made a difference if I’d had a head-to-toe girdle. That dress wasn’t going to zip, no matter what.
So I proceeded to have a full-blown hissy fit, with crying and screaming and declaring that I wasn’t going to my own damn rehearsal or dinner. I would have been a pitiful sight even if I’d been alone, but I wasn’t. Out-of-town family were there and many, many people witnessed my meltdown. One of those witnesses was my cousin Patricia, from Georgia. She quietly watched me blather on and when I stopped long enough to take a breath, Patricia drawled, “Mikki – I brought a dress with me and I don’t believe it suits me at all. I’d love for you to try it on, so I can see what it’s supposed to look like. Will you do that for me?” She caught me completely off guard and I didn’t know how to respond. Without realizing it, I agreed to try it on – for her – and then she began praising how it looked and telling me how she thought I should wear it that evening, even though I had planned to wear something else and it was all so easy and polite and sneaky that I didn’t even know what she was doing. So I wore Patricia’s dress that night and forgot all about my earlier breakdown. Patricia had saved me.
On February 1st, Patricia lost her battle with cancer and passed away in North Georgia. She was fun, intelligent, Southern with a capital S and had more layers than I know, or will ever know. (For instance, here she is with Ike.)
We think we know one another. But do we really? My friends and family know only what I allow them to know about me. Isn’t that the same for you in your life? How many stories from your childhood have you shared with your grown-up friends? Have they shared with you?
I know so little about Patricia that I’m not qualified to eulogize her. So I will tell you the only thing I really ever knew about her. She gifted me with one of the kindest moments of my entire life. What a gal.