“I’ve been staring at these wedding dresses for two years.
Six months ago, my fiancé died. And I kept these wedding dresses hanging in my closet… a reminder of all the things in life I wouldn’t get. A reminder I was angry. And sad. And I had every right to be, because I was robbed of my happily ever after. It was me who had her person taken from her, and it was me who was left to raise these kids on my own. This was not the life I signed up for. This wasn’t the promise he made to me. He had promised me true love. He promised me to never have to do this on my own. He promised he would rub my feet every night I let him watch basketball instead of Grey’s Anatomy. It was me who had the right to be mad, because it was me, laying on the ground, broken….
Ernest Hemingway wrote, ‘The world breaks everyone, and afterward, many are stronger in the broken places.’
This quote used to make my blood boil. I used to tell myself I am not stronger. I would remind myself I not only was not stronger, but I was less because I am no longer complete. So, I held on to all the things I could. The pictures. The old clothes of Jamie’s. The wedding dresses. If I couldn’t have my happily ever after, I was going to hold on to every single piece I could.
And then, I let go. And as I started to let go — a process I thought would make me stronger — I started to break more. The tiny cracks were suddenly burst open. As I let go of the anger, I was able to feel every other emotion I wouldn’t let myself feel… I was finally hurting. A hurt I had never felt before. I was scared. I was scared I was letting go of the only things I had left of the love of my life.
And then Taylor and Mike reached out to me. Short. Sweet. Simple.
‘I saw your post. Would you be interested in a free wedding shoot so you can always remember your dress?’
It was a simple act of kindness. One she probably did unsure of how I would respond. One she definitely did not have to offer, as I had never even met this woman in person. But she did. She offered.
We tell ourselves, ‘Be kind to everyone you meet. You don’t know what battle they’re fighting.’
Taylor’s one simple act of kindness was a light at the end of the tunnel for me. It gave me the strength I needed to let go of such a monumental part of my life…. of my story. It helped me close the door to a chapter I never got to finish.
‘I believe in God because I see God every day. I see God in people. I feel God in people. God is not a disinterested Father. God is love. She is air.’ – Nora Mcinery
God is Taylor, a complete stranger, and her husband Mike, taking the time to meet with me and photograph a moment I didn’t even know I needed to have. And I know Jamie is sitting up there, smiling down on me and on these moments. I know he’s guiding me with God — holding my hand and trying to gracefully lead me through this horrible, tragic chapter in my life so I can grow and start my chapter 2.”
This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Betsy Hendrickson – Minton, 25, and a mother of 5. Follow her journey on Instagram here. Do you have a similar experience? We’d like to hear your important journey. Submit your own story here. Be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.
Read more stories from Betsy here:
‘When he died, everyone reminded me ‘once an addict, always an addict.’ After 5 years sober, he bought a pill he thought was Percocet. I’ll never know why.’: Mom of 5 says ‘life after addiction can be so, so beautiful if you let it’
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