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Monday, April 18, 2016

The Ball

I'm definitely the type of woman who never misses a chance to dress up for something. I imagine those facets of my personality started young. I'm sure I combed through books as a child, enthralled by the gorgeous dresses the princesses were wearing......they looked so happy, so beautiful. I'm sure I was imagining myself in those dresses while I twirled barefoot on the lawn. Funny how something as simple as putting on a dress can mean so much.

Just as in the Catholic religion, with fashion, there are certain "sacraments" a woman is mostly guaranteed throughout her life. Senior prom is one of those touchstones. As I shopped for a formal dress for this past weekend's American Heart Association Ball, I couldn't help but overhear the hurried, broken conversations of the teenage girls who were shopping for just that occasion. Was I ever that young? Good lord. They looked so beautifully awkward in their dresses. Not a physical awkwardness, but the mental and emotional kind that can't be helped at that age. The dresses were wearing them, not the other way around. 

When a woman gets married it's yet another fashion milestone in her life. I've shopped with friends over the years getting ready for their special days, some were happy, some nervous, some more worried about the dress and the invitation list than the fact that they knew they were marrying the wrong person. Oddly, no matter the circumstance, each one had a look of such utter happiness when they put on the right one. I've never given much thought to planning a wedding or what dress I would wear, ironic then, that I too should be so susceptible to the charms and monumental meaning of such a day. It was actually the first thing that made me cry after my father died.

I was in a bit of shock when I was told that my father had had a massive heart attack and would not last the night. "Get here as soon as you can", they said. It's too big, too much. Your brain hears the words but can't process what they mean. I didn't cry right away, which in hindsight surprised me. I think I said "ok". It was almost a half an hour later when I'd made it to my mom's house that a random thought popped in my head, if I get married he won't be there. Only then did I start crying.  I didn't cry because my dad wouldn't get to see me in my wedding dress, I think I started crying because it hit me how much he would miss. How much I would miss him. The silver lining, corny I know, is that his death taught me not to miss out on things in this life.

I was thinking about my dad a lot on Saturday night. We raised over 1 million dollars at the American Heart Association- Greater Richmond Chapter's Annual Ball. It will go towards education, awareness and prevention of heart disease. I wish my dad could have been there. He would have been the guy on the dance floor at 11:30pm still boogying as the staff tried to politely ask him to leave. This was my second year attending the event so I knew some people, but not many. I also didn't have a date, but I'll be damned if I was going to miss a chance to put on a gorgeous dress and have a fabulous time! We should never miss chances to feel alive, to feel beautiful, to feel loved.....even if it's only till the clock strikes midnight.

For more information about heart disease and prevention click here

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