In honor of my current project, I give you a special post about my own experiences of love, loss and what I did indeed, actually wear.
My father liked to declare things to be "a celebration." Today is a celebration because it arrived. We are here. We are together. Today is an adventure. Let's celebrate. He took such tremendous joy in the act of living life.
The day my father actually died is full of a great deal of mystery. So much happens, it is hard to stay present, while you simultaneously cannot get away from recognizing that you are in the middle of a memory.
When I heard JNF's young voice on the phone through the closed door speak the pronouncement to the police, I remember being grateful that the news was unwittingly shared with me in so private a manner.
My reaction surprised me-- I gathered myself and walked very calmly upstairs to my bedroom (next to the room where my father lay behind his closed bedroom door), opened my closet, ripped off the checkered pajamas and teal wool sweater from my boarding school share box, and immediately pulled on a long dress of pure, white silk. It was elegant, functional, and
I wanted to be ready to act. I somehow knew that I would always remember what I wore that day, and wanted those memories to be filled with beauty. And hope.
I remember so clearly, wanting to be armed in white.
Similarly, on the day of the funeral, somewhere inside me I did not so much decide, but recognize that
I would not be wearing black. This, I thought, is not going to be a funeral at all, it is going to be a celebration, (and a concert and a recital and a reunion) and I am going to get glam goddammit. I would've dared anyone to stop me that day because I was feeling juuuuust feisty enough to start hurting feelings.
My hand graced my Senior “MORP” dress— hot pink sassiness. Too much, I thought. I don’t want the good folks at The Mystery Temple to be put off.
Vintage A-line Donna Reed statement? No, too “Hi Honey I’m home and by the way my Dad is dead.”
Then there it was.
My hand graced the lightest pastel iridescent green ball gown you have ever seen. It was modest and elegant, dancing on the cusp of child and fully-fledged woman, just as I was, and made of raw silk.
This was the one.
A matching jacket in case The Mystery Temple is mysteriously cold.
The same pearls my Father bought me for my High School graduation just four months ago.
I walk into the hallway to make my way out and down the stairs when I meet my mother coming out of her room. She was dressed in a glorious lavender ball gown of her own. She looked as beautiful, and as certain as I felt.
“It’s a celebration” she said.
We hadn’t talked about it.
It just was.