Sunday, November 8, 2015

I Wear My Mother's Clothes

Another Day of the Dead grief ritual over.  So much beauty, so much tenderness.  We truly became the "sudden community" Michael Meade talks about.  It's a lot of work, putting this thing on.  Most years I have to get over some dread and resistance of my own to do it.  Not so much this year.  I'm not sure why, but maybe it was partly my desire to honor and grieve for my friend Leona.

Barry always says, "Well, we've justified our existence for another year" when this ritual is over.

When I went to get dressed for the day, I grabbed a black outfit that had belonged to my mother.  Pretty fitting, to wear something of hers for Day of the Dead.  Here's a poem that's come out of it:

I Wear My Mother’s Clothes

When my mother died,
my sister and I removed
the two gold bracelets from
her weeping arms and
put them on each other.
Later, we divided up
her jewelry, and took
some items of
her clothing.

I am 5’8” tall.
Mom was at least
six inches shorter.
You might think her clothes
would never fit me.
Well, they did.
Her full-length pants
became my capris,
her width became
my length.

Those first weeks,
I wore her outfits
almost every day.
I did not plan to do this.
When I would go to my closet,
these were the clothes
that came to my hand.
I felt some comfort
surrounding my body
with what had
touched hers.

Even now,
thirteen years later,
I wear those clothes
from time to time.
When I take them off
their hangers,
I think of her and smile.
I still miss her touch and
the sound of her voice, but
even this fading bit of contact
fills my heart with love
and gratitude.

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