Thursday, October 25, 2007

Gradual Healing Is Lasting Healing, Right?

My mom sent Alex home with a literal truckload of my dad's nice clothes today, and it didn't even make me cry.

There was something comforting in seeing him go through and examine each item, admiring it and hanging it carefully in his closet. If he had come home acting like it was stuff he had no use for, then I'd have been upset. But he was treating Dad's things with respect and not a little love, and that made it kind of OK.

My dad was a clotheshorse, and my mom knew how to shop for him, too. He was very tall, with long arms--like Alex, which kept him from being able to buy clothes off the rack. Everything he wore was top of the line, even his Razorback clothes--where Alex and I might buy a red sweatshirt with a hog on it, Dad would have a hand-knitted red sweater-vest with Razorback logos knitted into it. He also took meticulous care of everything he owned, from automobiles to tools to clothing. He appreciated quality in everything, and took care to ensure that his things would last.

Having those clothes on somehow coming full circle for me. Heck, just having them hanging in the closet is a tangible link to the love I was lucky enough to have for 37 years. The feel and smell of those fine things is a sensory embrace.

I said I didn't cry, but that's not entirely true. There was a moment, with some things that still had price tags on them...a moment of grieving for what should have been--the fact that he was planning to wear those things that fall, but never got to. The memory that he and Mom had gone on a mini-vacation just the weekend before his heart attack, and had done some shopping. The fact that all the plans we make as mortals can come to naught in the blink of an eye, with no warning whatsoever.

I cried a little. Just a few tears. And then, instead of spiraling into a grief cycle, I embraced my little family. And smiled.


  1. You have a beautiful heart, Belinda. You have everything it takes to be the kind of wife and mom that changes lives.

  2. What a beautiful story, and truly, a new beginning.

  3. sigh. what a touching tribute.

  4. Very nicely said. And how thoughtful of Alex.

  5. These moments are very important in the healing process. The day I could look at my sons box of clothing without losing it was quite a day...Very bittersweet.

    I loved this post. You described it beautifully .

  6. Well, I cried a lot. Not too hard for me to sense the emotion behind this post. Beautifully written.
    My Dad passed 2 years ago, and though we had a turbulent relationship at best, it still is hard-very hard.

    But I agree, Belinda... doing anything gradually has a lasting effect.

  7. It sounds as if your Dad really did take meticulous care of everything, especially his girls. He must have been a wonderful man.