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Tuesday, February 03, 2015

Grief and clothing

Wearing my dead son's clothing
Riley's clothes neatly folded
Snug tee shirts with baseball logos or stripes that fall just below my bellybutton aren’t really my style. But my son’s shirts somehow fit around my torso and fleshy, upper body girl parts. For three days, I wore them hoping to channel my now dead 6th grader, pleased, yet bewildered that this stack of unused clothing used to cover his body. Everything he wore was baggy. It was only when he stripped down without a thread of modesty at bedtime was I reminded of his thinness and how his bones were held together with so little.

Late Sunday afternoon, I tried to complete an outfit. Sliding the shorts up my legs, they got stuck somewhere slightly above the knee. I was bemused that they didn’t fit. I thought they could somehow manage my grown-up body because we always had pulled the elastic so tight around his slim eleven-year-old frame. Surely there was enough cotton and elastic for me. Once I hiked them up as much as they could go, I stood in front of his closet for a bit wondering if I’d lodged them into my flesh just enough keep them in place. I mentally scanned my closet to imagine what I could wear that was long enough to make it work. But then I realized that I’d have to replace his tee shirt with something else, and wearing his tee shirt was comforting.

After removing the shorts from the mother's body, I folded them neatly and returned them to the son’s closet. From there, I went to his twin-sized bed, opened the comforter, and let it swallow me. Once inside, while wearing his tee shirt, the items on his side table caught my eye. I fastened his watch around my wrist, hung his Rainbow Loom necklace from my neck, and put his glasses on my face. From that perspective, while clutching the Freddies (his beloved penguins) in my arms, I flipped through the pages of the map book he made with his best friend, hoping to find him as I experienced the world from his vantage point

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous10:59 AM

    When you are ready there is a place you can send his t-shirts to be made into a quilt so you can snuggle all of them.