When Kristy Mathoslah and her husband, Konrad Izbinski, were driving back to their flooded home in the Woodlands, Texas, last week after hurricane Harvey, it occurred to them that they’d left her carefully preserved wedding gown in the closet of their first-floor bedroom.
By the time Mathoslah found the dress while cleaning up the damage, she’d already mourned it and was ready to throw it out. But someone else suggested she try it on one last time.
“When people encouraged me to put it on, my cheeks hurt from smiling,” Mathoslah tells Yahoo Style. “Since last Thursday, everyone had been trapped in their house, not knowing what was going to happen, so it had been a lot of — first boredom, and then with all the terrible stuff happening to us … it was just really nice to smile a real smile again.”
She had more than just a damp, smelly dress to smile about. Mathoslah, her brother Michael, and Izbinzki had been trying to tackle the damage from over a foot of water on their own, despite lacking any expertise on what to do. They were on their second room of carpet removal when there was a knock at the door. A dozen strangers had shown up offering to help.
“I couldn’t believe that people would be so nice,” says Mathoslah, who expects to be staying at a friend’s house for the next month while repairing her home. “That they would even think to go around helping. The next day was the same, people flooding our house, helping us clean. Close friends came with tools and lent us their generator. Almost every day since then, we’ve had help from generous people — old friends bringing us food, strangers offering services, praying with us, doing laundry with us, dropping off mold remover.”
And it was in front of those strangers that Mathoslah donned her wedding dress, over shorts and a sports bra, with her hair in a messy bun and zero makeup. She still looks like a glowing bride in the photos she posted to Facebook.
Mathoslah, who has a 6-year-old son and a 4-year-old daughter, had preserved the gown after her wedding almost 12 years ago.
“I had always wondered if it fit,” she said of the gown from David’s Bridal. “I wondered what the texture felt like, because it had been so long, but I didn’t want to spend $250 again to have it put back in the box, so I had held off.”
The dress doesn’t look terribly damaged in pictures, but the water that flooded their home had backed up sewage in it, so she says it smelled terrible. A friend whose father owns a dry cleaning service has volunteered to attempt to save it.
If the gown is salvageable, Mathoslah wants to let her daughter see and touch it before she preserves it again. “Then I’ll put it away until she’s a little older. We’ll keep it upstairs from now on.”
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