Friday, August 6, 2010

I Buried Mom in Blue Jeans


My mother had two dresses at one point. One was an orange paisley polyester affair, The other was a floor-length wonder in pale blue polyester, which she made for one of her kids' weddings. I don't think she took it out of the closet since 1977.

We're burying her this morning at the cemetery where her parents and brothers lie. I realized on the way to the mortuary Wednesday that I hadn't brought anything for her to wear. So on the street in front of the funeral home, I rummaged through my trunk and found an old pair of her Wranglers and a chirpy blouse. She lived in blue jeans. The choice made me happy.

I am so grateful for your outpouring of blessings the past couple of days. Every one of you has lifted my spirits. I think I needed those prayers more than I realized. Yesterday after Mom's funeral service, I wound up in the emergency room unable to breathe and diagnosed with pneumonia. I got home, got comfy, and read your comments again. I feel surrounded by peace.

Here is the second-to-last poem I wrote for Mom:

My Mother’s Traveling Wardrobe


Since the FBI gave my mother the boot
four months ago, her wardrobe travels
in the boot of my car. The agents
put her caregivers in the pokey
for trafficking in humans, so
her blouses and pants steer through
traffic with me. G-Men made her
homeless at 79, demented and frail,
but I’ve given her clothes a home
in my trunk. They go where I go,
like Ruth wheeling after Naomi
crying Wither thou goest, I shall go!
Resting comfortably in the back of my car,
they cover the miles instead of her back.

As she vanishes within, her clothes
travel without, cavorting through
the countryside. She grows
more still with each passing day
but her wardrobe’s in motion
smelling strongly of her. Particles
of my mother waft into the car,
assemble on the passenger seat
and rub along jolly as rubber balls
bouncing down the road.

39 comments:

Ms. Anthropy said...

Perfect that you put her in what she was most comfortable, for her to finally be able to do her own cavorting. Perhaps she will choose to ride with you, occasionally!

Prayers for you to get well!

Alan Burnett said...

Rest, recover, and remember ... always continue remembering.

Argent said...

This has to be one of the most origibnal things I have ever read. I love the story, the gently bouncing rhythm and whole theme of the clothes sort carry on without their occupant.

I think I want to be buried in blue jeans too. When my dad died, he ended up in one of those white shrouds and it looked all wrong.

Take it easy and get better! Health and strength to you.

the walking man said...

Blue jeans are cool...better than a mu-mu or some such.

Mrsupole said...

Oh Chris, I am so sorry for what you have been going through. I have been away from bloggyland for the most part these past few weeks mourning our stepfather. I have just fallen into a funk and am not sure how to get out of it just yet or if I am ready to get out of it just yet.

We are not having the memorial services until Aug 21, which seems to be another reason to stay this way because we have not been able to say good by just yet.

I wish you all the best during this time and I think it is wonderful that she was buried in her favorite type of outfit. I think I would like to go while in a tank top and capri pants since that has become my fave outfit lately.

May God's angels be watching over you and your family during these times and may his many blessings be with your mom.

God bless.

The Bug said...

Except for the part where you're sick, I love this whole post... a real sisterhood of travelling pants. It's just a great image. As is the image of your mother in blue jeans - I think that's great.

Now I want you to take care of YOU!

Brian Miller said...

do take care of yourself chris...glad you found some peace...that has been quite the journey you have been on...as evidenced in the poem...

Woman in a Window said...

I can nothing but smile smile smile at this, blue jeans and bouncing and all. And in spite of saying this often, my god, what a beautiful woman. She is stunning.

xo
erin

Elisabeth said...

The image of your mother in her blue jeans will stay with me for a long time, as will the words of your poem.

And you are unwell yoursel. Pneumonia you say.

Take care now. Dying is a tough business for the survivors and burying a parent tougher still.

Take care. You are in my thoughts.

Syd said...

She was beautiful. I remember having to take my father's clothes away after he died. My mother had gone into a major depression and was hospitalized. So it was me with my dad's things. Just the smell of his clothes made me cry. It was as if he was still there. His Old Spice on the bathrobe made me long for him to be there. God Bless your Mother, Chris. And you for dressing her in comfort for her journey Home.

Jess Mistress of Mischief said...

The poem is a fun adventure.

Birdie said...

Chris, beautiful poem. You have through a lot the past days no wonder your body gave up ... wishing you to get well soon, don't underestimate pneumonia, take the rest you need and deserve! I think your mom is happy for the blue jeans ... hugs!!!

TechnoBabe said...

I would like to get to the end of my life here with few possessions and clothes enough to carry around in a car. I have been like that a couple times in my life and it is so carefree. I had to smile when you say you got the jeans and blouse out for your mom to be buried in, she must have smiled too. Now there is no confusion and frustration for her. I am sad that you have pneumonia and are in need of healing inside as well as out now. Hugs to you.

Carrie Burtt said...

I should not have worn eyeliner this morning and headed to my computer at work to read all the wonderful posts of wonderful bloggers. I think all the eyeliner is washed off now...i had gotten a little behind on my reading and missed your last 2 posts...i am so sorry for that...you have been such an inspiration to me...i wish there was something that I could give you in return...some nugget of wisdom, just listen, or a hug. I know this is a difficult time for you, but having read the wonderful memories you have and your beautiful expression of thoughts it is clear that you had an amazing relationship, and that is truly a blessing. You will be in my prayers...i hope that you get well soon as well. Here is a (hug) :-)
Take care. :-)

Grey Ray said...

As a regular follower of yours, I am sure your mother is in a better place. Take care of yourself and your poetry inspires me

Prayer Girl said...

What a fabulous poem. I picture the particles of your mother on the pieces of her wardrobe wafting into your car to assemble on your passenger seat. I just love that idea. The two of you will always be together.

I pray for your recovery from your pneumonia.

PG

izzy said...

Lovely-Thanks for both parts!
I used to have my Mothers crystal
glasses wrapped up safely in the top of a cabinet. Often if I went by that larder or even went in there, that awareness descended.We can take it as a blessing or a curse-our choice.
I love that you buried her in jeans !
My Mother was buried in a dress, she said many times how she disliked jeans...
I live in them too.
It is an honor that you have carried her clothes. I only have one piece from
mine left- a beautiful blue full length gown. And some of her jewelry.
It has taken many years to let go of the rest. Yet the less I have of the physical, the more I have of her in spirit....

Scott said...

It's time to take care of chris now... you've given of yourself, been there for mom, through her final ordeal. Take care of you, let us take care of you in our own prayerful electronic manner...

God Bless, enjoy some peace, I will continue my prayers for God's love, peace and blessing for you and mom.

Helen said...

Looking at the photo of your mother I realize she was the embodiment of everything an aging woman desires to be .... lovely, strong, independent, and loving. Stay well .......

Magpie said...

What a wonderful poem...your mind is amazing. "Forever in Blue Jeans" an old Neil Diamond song. Take care of yourself, rest and get well.

Marion said...

I hope you get well soon, Chris. I loved this poem of the clothing in the trunk travelling free and safe. I want to be buried in blue jeans, too.

Take very good care of yourself as you fight the pneumonia, which must make things so much more difficult.

God speed to your dear mother Frances!

sarah said...

just saw that you mom passed and wanted to say...I'm sorry and that you were a wonderful daughter to her. You really were.

Pat transplanted to MN said...

My very deepest sympathy & prayers to bless and cover you as needed. Doesn't matter that you might not think you need prayers, I feel they will help you when you need them. A spiritual hug in the darkest moments. Even though this has been a trial and a journey, when the final moments come, we grieve. I know I have been there too frequently. It was a good choice you made to bury her in jeans! Absolutely the right thing to do!

I hope you recover speedily from pneumonia and take good care of yourself; this all wears down the body when the spirit is burdened as happens with grief and decisions. Blessings to hold you and support you.

Karen said...

You have taken care of Mom, and now it's time to take care of Chris. You can rest secure in the knowledge that you did everything you could to love and honor your mother in her last years and moments, and on her last voyage.

Get well, Chris. Take care of you.

crownring said...

I have no words at the moment, except for these, Chris. God bless, God bless!

Dianne said...

What beautiful gifts of poetry you have given her. She feels them now. Write down any dreams you have of her, as soon as you have them. They may seem familiar, or recurring from the past, but something will be different.

She will be alive in it, and you will know her.

rest, walk, drink gallons of water, and sleep. (don't smoke damn it!)

write, write, write.
hugs,
Di

Andrew said...

I have one of my dads ratty old sweaters and wear it once in a while.

I can smell him there and remember him.

Rachel Fox said...

Great title for the post. It needs its own poem...or novel!
x

Georgina Dollface said...

It just dawned on me a moment ago that it was this very same time of year four years ago that we were making arrangements for my Dad's service. I remember the blurry days before and after the service and how strange the world felt knowing that my Dad wasn't in it anymore. I didn't know how to be in a world where my Dad wasn't. But I learned eventually. I have tears streaming down my face right now thinking of you in so many ways. Take care. - G

Rene/ Not The Rockefellers said...

Sweetheart I am so sorry...
Do get well

Lovely tribute to your Mother

Rene

Totalfeckineejit said...

I hope the funeral went okay.I can't believe you've got pneumonia to contend with on top of everything else.Take care and rest, look after yourself.

David said...

Dear Chris,

My friend is grieving but I can't be there to hold her tightly and speak words of comfort. We shared life with passion, crossing swords and words. She was my boss so her sword was sharper, as were her words. At first her words drew blood, razor sharp and quick. But then I learned they meant love and concern. Tick-tock, she reminded, deadlines loom.
I learned to respect this diminutive dynamo, no, more, to love her quirks and sudden shouts of, "David, get out of here!"
And finally, at the end, to miss her and our daily sword play.
And now, when I would love to be holding you close, stroking your hair and making you laugh, dear friend, I cannot. But I can say I grieve with you, remembering the passing of my mother some time back. God be with you and fill you with His peace and love as you recover.

Hope said...

I hope you feel better soon, Chris. I am just today reading of your mom's passing. I am glad you were there when she died.
I be praying for you, lighting candles and keeping you close in thought.

Hope said...

PS - Had no idea you were Norwegian. Makes me smile. I am busy writing a novel about Norwegians and Danes and oh, are they stubborn!

Gwei Mui said...

You must be exhausted hence the pneumonia. The "send off" sounds very apt. The post is a great tribute to your mother. As many others have said rest, remember, cry if you need to as I now veiw tears as the necessary irrigation for the soul.

Erratic Thoughts said...

You are a superb daughter Chris :)
I can't praise you enough...

My deepest sympathy and prayers are with you...

Her Big Sad said...

Your mom was blessed to have you as a daughter - you have honored her so beautifully in your writing, and even in the blue jeans incident! My prayers are for you now, that you may experience healing of your spirit from the pain of your loss and also healing of your body. Take really good care of you now, and thank you so much for sharing this with us. God bless you!

Titus said...

Love to you, and my prayers.

Beautiful poem and quite astonishing in your grief. Love the blue jeans story and reasoning, and the Ruth reference caught my throat. And oh, that final verse. Fresh, original and the perfect tone. One hell of a mother you must have had.

Lydia said...

My sympathy to you and concern for your health also. The poem is perfect. I love that you carried her clothes along with you. And I totally remember my mother's smell on her clothes and furniture when we had them in storage for a time after her death. I would go to the storage unit to sit in her chair and just breathe it all in one more time, one more time. . .

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