Saying goodbye in colour

My mother-in law died in her sleep last week, after a fall that fractured her hip. Her death was as gentle as one could wish for a loved one, though unexpected because she was recovering well in the hospital.

We are plunged into the emotions and necessities of a funeral. Though grief has a different tenor when the loss comes after a long life, it is still a profound event. "To lose a mother", a friend wrote, "is something, whether it happens to you at ten or at seventy."

The family will gather on Friday for a simple service and luncheon, where we will share memories. The most vivid for me is our first meeting, when her son brought me, his fiancée, home to meet his parents. They had barely heard of me—our courtship spanned mere months. Her welcome was warm, unreserved and wholly accepting, and remained constant for over thirty years.

This will be an informal event, so I do not have to buy something suitable, but I have learned that the clothes chosen on such days are forever infused with tender sadness. I could never wear the dresses I wore to my parents' memorials again.

 Christmas, 2004

Mrs. P. was a textile artist; she made woven and hooked tapestries, and knit and sewed expert, immaculately-finished treasures. She had a sophisticated sense of colour and design, so it feels wrong to wear the traditional black, which she refused for herself, because to her it meant only mourning.

I will choose something that expresses my admiration of her gifts, my gratitude for her love and trust. I'll stand before my closet and ask to be inspired by her. My hand will find a bit of colour—perhaps a scarf—to honour the beauty she created thorough her long life.

There will be no post on Thursday, this week.


17 comments

LauraH said...

How wonderful to have such a mother-in-law in your life. Sincere condolences to you and your family.

SewingLibrarian said...

My sympathy to your family. Your second paragraph is so true.

Margie from Toronto said...

So sorry for your loss. I think choosing to honour her with something colourful and reflective of her talents is most appropriate and anyone who knew her well will understand your tribute.

Madame Là-bas said...

I'm sorry to hear of your loss. It sounds as though you enjoyed your mother-in-law's colour and creativity.

Kristien62 said...

I am sorry for your family's loss. A touch of color to celebrate a life is a lovely tribute.

lagatta à montréal said...

Madame certainly has beautiful colours in your photo. Mes condoléances au Duc et à toute la famille.

materfamilias said...

My condolences to you and Le Duc, and to all the family. Take care of yourselves and each other -- may you find some solace in the gathering together and the remembering.

Lynn L said...

Condolences to you and your family. It is wonderful to have so many positive memories to hold on to in this difficult time.

Leslie Milligan said...

Your post is a fitting tribute to your mother-in-law. My condolences to you and your family

Janice Riggs said...

My warmest affection and condolences to you and all of your family. It sounds as if you were very blessed by knowing your mother-in-law; it's a bond that can be beautifully strong and enduring when you're lucky like that.
hugs,
Janice

Adele said...

I'm very sorry for your loss. It sounds as though you were both very fortunate to have each other in your lives (and Le Duc has been doubly blessed as well!). May you find something to wear that inspires your memories of your mother-in-law and that is is something you will want to wear again and remember her by.

Francie Newcomb said...

My sympathy to you, your husband, and your family. This was a lovely appreciation of your dear mother-in-law. Your family will be in my thoughts.

une femme said...

I'm so sorry for your loss. It sounds as though she was a wonderful person. I know you will find something to wear that will be a lovely tribute to her.

Jean Shaw said...

This is a lovely tribute to her. My condolences to you all.

Eleanorjane said...

So sorry to hear of your loss.

Mary said...

There is no good age to lose a parent. It just hurts. May Le Duc, you and your family find continual solace in the gift of her life and the memories you treasure. Pax.

Elizabeth at Eiffel Tells said...

The death of a loved one at any age, has its challenges. Farewell forever is fraught with emotion - I hope you are travelling as well as can be expected under these circumstances. xxx