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Tribute to Mom: Behind the Bucket List Wedding Dress Story

There are many moments that I shared with my Mother that I cherish, and then there were moments that have changed me. I first wrote this piece that Verily magazine just published back in 2012. Part of my grieving process a year after my Mom died from cancer, I wanted to capture the beauty of this experience.

Behind the Scenes

Scroll down below the pictures for an unpublished bonus part of this story, a reminder to me God’s loving care and tender mercies in the final weeks of my Mom’s life.

This story is a tribute to the woman, mother, wife, sister, daughter, Godmother, Aunt, cousin, friend — all of who she was, the profound impact on our lives and the imprint that she’s left on our hearts.

These are the photos that were taken while I was trying on wedding dresses for my Mom.

One of my bridal portraits with Mother Mary, my Mom’s Rosary, and wearing the birthstone jewelry that she gave me.

{Photo by John Wehlage}

This is a picture with Mary Katherine, the sweet dress shop owner, that made it all possible.


Story Bonus

Changing out of the last dress, my heart had expanded. Humbled, I confided in my new friend, “My mom loves Angels. There are over seventy that she has collected, all over this house. Mary-Katherine, you were our Angel today.”

“No, it was my blessing,” she responded, without hesitation.

“I am a one-year breast cancer survivor,” she told me. She had been a Medical Social Worker for about twenty years and had served on the Board of Hospice for five years. I was now making it a habit of crying to Mary-Katherine.

Throughout her second battle with cancer that eventually claimed her life, Mom reminded us that we can laugh and find joy amidst the suffering of life. She cherished the opportunities to celebrate life and love in all circumstances. I did not expect to have such a profound experience while trying to cross one more thing off Mom’s Bucket List; yet as her death drew near, I discovered more love. A love that draws people together and carries them through good times and bad, in sickness and in health. And even though death parts us, love always remains.


Read, “I Learned the Secret to a Happy Marriage While Fulfilling My Mom’s Dying Wish” here.

To rise above the pain that accompanies life and marriage, joy must be nurtured by a determination of the will. We can’t control our circumstances, but we can control how we orient our minds and our hearts.

LISA MARTINEZ
About Author

Creative, Entrepreneur & Silly-Heart. Christ has called her to bring the broken to His Sacred Heart. Calls Austin home with her mountain-man husband, Mike, who she loves to travel through life with as well as around the world.

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