The house was eerily quiet that Saturday morning. It was a drastic change from the days before. Between visitors, food deliveries, flowers being delivered, there was never any silence to escape to.
Everyone had left to the church. My husband and my other children had to be there early to make sure everything was set perfectly in place. He left instructions with my best friend to make sure she kept a watchful eye on me. There would be no one better, besides him, to make sure that I didn’t fall apart. I heard them whispering in the hallway. “Don’t leave her alone too long.” “Hold her hand while you walk.” “Call me immediately if anything happens.” “Make sure she knows, she won’t be alone.”
I sat on the edge of the bed until I heard the front door close. Rosie came in to the room to check on me. “You OK, Mamash?” (our nickname for each other for close to 40 years) . “You need anything?” “Do you want me to bring you something to eat?” “No” I told her. “I’m ok. I just need a minute. I promise I won’t do anything stupid. Just let me catch my breath. If I need anything I’ll get you.” She smiled at me, walked over and caressed my cheek. A tear started rolling down my face. I managed a smile back. “I love you”, she said. “I know” I replied.
After a few minutes of solitude, my mind started to race. I didn’t even know what I was going to wear. I wish I could just stay in the tear stained t-shirt and sweats I had been wearing all week. Who would care anyway?! Who would bother judging a mother who was about to bury her child?! People would probably look at me somberly. They would whisper among themselves: “Poor thing. She looks terrible… frail almost.” Looks like she hasn’t slept in days!” “Who would blame her?” They would come up, hug me, whisper “I am sorry for your loss” as they try to tame my unruly hair and wipe toast crumbs off of my shirt.
As I stood in the middle of my closet, looking over my wardrobe, I recalled my daughter saying that everyone should wear blue. My son adamantly agreed. That was Joey’s favorite color…Dodger blue. No black they said. Joey would not want that. Now, as I stood in my closet, that conversation went through my head over and over again. I began pulling out the blue pieces that I owned, but they were TOO”blue”. Too bright. Too cheerful….something I would wear out to dinner and drinks with our rowdy friends. A mom doesn’t wear blue to their son’s funeral! Mom’s don’t wear bright colors or white t-shirts with a picture that say R.I.P.! We wear black! Black is the color of mourning, not blue, not red, not a screen printed t-shirt! I wanted to wear black! I wanted a color that represent my dark, empty, ugly, broken soul! I am mourning the loss of my first born! Blue would not adequately describe the dark, ugly, pit hole that I was currently in! I am living in the valley of darkness.
As I was scolding myself for not having appropriate blue clothing, I heard my daughter’s words come back flowing back to me again. It’s as if the conversation was just taking place. I finally understood. She didn’t want today to be a day of mourning. She wanted it to be a bright beautiful day. A day like her brother’s spirit. One that represented his beautiful bright soul. I stood there and looked around my closet once again. I composed myself, took a deep breath and decided to compromise. I pulled out a black top that had pictures of beautiful red, yellow and blue colored flowers. I slipped it over my head, tucked it neatly into my black skirt. I slipped on my black heels and took a deep breath I stepped out and took a look at myself in the mirror. I started to cry.
So this is what a mom’s wears to her son’s funeral.