The Wedding Dress
The Wedding Dress

The Wedding Dress

a My Dunrovin Story by Jan Byer

I remember a day spent with Mom back in May of 1991. We were strolling down the sidewalk of Lindstrom — window shopping. She looked happy. The years of raising three rebellious children took a toll on her face, with wrinkles more prominent under the bright Spring sun, but she seemed to glow. I can’t recall exactly what we talked about, but I remember the feeling of belonging and closeness. I sensed Mom at peace, perhaps knowing that both my brothers and I turned out to be “Good Eggs” after all — an expression she used often while we were growing up.

A huge SALE sign at a wedding shop caught Mom’s attention, and I was a bit surprised since she didn’t really believe in sales. She dragged me in and seemed to enjoy browsing around. She picked out three gowns for me to try on, but I refused. It seemed to be pointless since I didn’t even have a boyfriend at the time! Mom, with much persistence, convinced me, no matter how I much I objected. When I stood at the pedestal and turned around to face Mom, I was stunned to see her expression. She had “the look” moms reserve for their daughter’s wedding day. After settling down, Mom commented that the dress was too simple and needed additional pearls and sequence. She suggested that we buy it anyway. I thought she was out of her mind, but I didn’t argue anymore. I just wanted to share the moment and remember the joy. As we walked out of the shop, we vowed not to tell anyone about the dress until I got married.

Then she died. It was the snowiest Halloween day in Minnesota history — October 31, 1991. Despite the horrendous weather, she was delivering meals to the people in need for the Meals on Wheels program. The auto accident was horrible, but she died doing what she loved best — helping others.

I got to wear the dress, for real, 19 years later at Dunrovin Christian Brothers Retreat Center in Marine on St. Croix, MN, as Mrs. Bob Byer. Dunrovin is a special place because my mother volunteered many hours there, and a room was dedicated in her honor when she passed away. I was “Done Roving” (Dunrovin) and finally found a man Mom would been thrilled to have as a son-in-law. She is remembered not only by those who knew her, but now also by those who shared the day I got to wear OUR wedding dress.

Rest in Peace Mom. I love you.

Married on August 1, 2009, Bob and Jan celebrate ten years together; they have two darling daughters. As a member of the Dunrovin Board of Directors, Jan champions the mission to youth. The Byers own the Mainstreet Bar & Grill in Hopkins.