Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Silver, Grey, Glittering Solemnity


 We're getting ready to say good-bye to my mother, who is sleeping more and more each day, moving less and less, although she still does her best to hold up her end of a conversation. I told her Saturday morning, after some surprisingly clever little quip she'd made, that she had a good sense of humour. "Well, I try," she said. And then corrected herself: "Actually, I don't try. It just comes naturally."

But there was a change in her meds regime last week that told me something which has become more obvious as the days progressed -- the doctor had seen something that meant some meds were more cost than benefit. Hospice is a possibility now, although we may well be able to manage at home right 'til the end. We'll see.

Grey skies, silver linings, rippled waters for meditation. Life right at the margins. It's all a bit raw.

So I pulled out the sequins. The students in my very special class of mainly non-traditional learners are a wonderful bunch, and we've developed a special, intimate, and trust-filled environment. One of them teased me, "Whoa, disco ball!!" And I explained -- if you can't sparkle from the inside, sometimes you can fake it on the outside.

 The grey wool flannel pleated skirt (Gap, 4 or 5 years old) and boots (Ink, bought in Paris year before last) seem to tone this sequinned sweatshirt's exuberance down perfectly (another Gap buy, from December's offerings just this past year). And I loved the way the Club Monaco cashmere cardi (you know I have to have some cashmere to keep my spirits up these days) reinforced the colour theme whereby I'm echoing my environment through my clothes. . . .
 See? Aren't those colour palettes similar? -- and doesn't that water sparkle, almost as much as my sequins?

I suppose some might find me bordering on the . . . . what? irreverent? disrespectful? inappropriate . . . to post about what I'm wearing while discussing my mother's last weeks, days even.  Believe me, I'm crying the appropriate tears. I'm just not able or motivated to make words from them at the moment, at least not publicly. Nor may I ever be. But I can get dressed. And as I do, I can let snippets of feeling escape. I can dance carefully around emotions, ready to distract with the glitter of sequins. It's what I can do. For now. Thanks for understanding.

33 comments:

  1. You are in my thoughts mater. Very much so.
    I have that Gap top and wear it regularly
    We will be in Vancouver early next week will be on Robson I you are free and the timing is right we might meet.

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    1. Sadly, I'm working weekdays (unless I take time off in which case I'll be at Mom's). One of these days, we really should set up a coffee/lunch date, though. . .

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  2. Love the sequins. The sea keeps sparkling whatever happens. Hang in there.

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    1. That's true -- the sea sparkles indiscriminately so why can't I? Thank you!

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  4. There is no reasoning necessary for personal expression. It just is. Whatever it takes. I love the support you are getting from your class. What a gift that has been in such a time. Your sparkle is gorgeous, yes, just like the water.

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    1. Thanks, Melanie. And yes, they're a really supportive class -- I so appreciate them.

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  5. That's the thing, life and death are intertwined not separate and we all need something to help us through - a little sparkle helps along the way. I lost my mother 6 months ago and am still struggling with the fallout. Even though I brought my sons up on my own as it turns out, I never had to be so strong as that last year.

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    1. I'm so sorry, Marianne -- I suspect I'm going to do some floundering after my mother's gone.

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  6. Thinking of you - having a hard time writing lately, but come online to find out what is happening with you. From what you've written about your mother, I'll bet she'd be interested to see the sparkle and to hear your observations on how it mirrors the waters surrounding you. If the sparkle helps, find some every day.

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    1. Although she'd never wear sparkle in the daytime, Mom would be intrigued by my sweatshirt and she might even claim to want one for herself. It would hang next to the lovely Missoni jacket she found when we browsed her favourite high-end consignment shop a few years ago. The colours were too much when it came to going out the door, but she loved the concept!

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  7. Sometimes all you can do is get dressed - so you might as well dwell on its relevance. I hope for you all that your mother's remaining time is full of love and that you are able to say all of the meaningful things that you would like for your mother to know. What a profound expression of the love and care she showed to all of her children that they are now caring for her with the same attention. Really, makes me cry.

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    1. It's really a beautiful time in so many ways, K. My mom was not easy and we've probably all had/got issues with her, but that's all fallen away (suspect the narcotics contribute!) and she will go out of this world well loved and comforted. Sorry to make you cry . . . xo

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  8. Thinking of you too. There's no strict playbook for family nor for sorrow.

    You look a little like a school girl in that outfit - in a good way. The kind of kindergartener who insist on wearing sequins, and whose mother good-naturedly permits. It makes me feel that you are close to your mother.

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    1. Oh dear! Not the effect I was aiming at, even "in a good way" I see most of the outfit as rather Librarian/SchoolMarm Stereotype. . . and I would never have worn sequins to school -- Catholic schoolgirl uniform all the way . . .;-)

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    2. Oh, the good way is flocks of French and British schoolgirls, knife pleats fluttering in the wind, only the cool girls adding that special touch to make the uniform their own:). It's a look I'm very fond of, one that grows up to be Parisian women in their twin sets and skirts!

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    3. I remember the most charming processions of chattering, behatted, uniformed schoolgirls pulsing excitedly toward the Tate Modern on school field trips. So picturesque I couldn't resist snapping photos.
      And are you suggesting there is hope I might grow up to be a Parisian woman in a twin set? (Claps hands with glee!)

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  9. I think sometimes the external, even frivolous, is a necessity when you are in pain. It can help to take a breather from the heavy-duty side of life.

    Sending you love and wishes for a good ending for all.

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    1. Thanks, Rubi. And that's exactly it, the respite of the sequin. , ,

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  10. I was first enchanted by the beautiful photographs, and then delighted by the echoes of them in your outfit, even before reading your post. This is a hard time, I know, but I am reassured to see that you are able to respond to your situation from your heart rather than overthinking, with a grace and humor that I feel sure (judging from her careful iteration regarding the source of her own humor) your mother can appreciate. Not disrespectful, irreverent, inappropriate - quite the opposite, a kind of homage.

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    1. Glad you saw the same connection I do between seascape and outfit. In fact, I think you're right that my mom probably would get this. . .

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  12. "...if you can't sparkle from the inside, sometimes you can fake it on the outside." Excellent advice Mater. I am thinking of you too and sending hugs.

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  14. These days I click on your blog with my heart in my throat. Hoping more than anything else that your mother is comfortable; clearly she is deeply loved.

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    1. I know you've been here, K -- And I know, from my Dad's passing, that these losses continue to resonate. . .

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  15. I've had you on my mind a lot in recent days. Sometimes I think we need the quotidien (what we eat, what we wear) to ground us when The Big Stuff is going on. Anyhow, a bit of sequins to lighten the heart are never a bad thing.

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    1. Glad you agree! And thanks for your kind e-mail, which I've just answered. . .

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  17. If a little sparkle can help restore your balance in such an emotional precarious time then so be it. Many kindly thoughts for you and your family during the days ahead.

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    1. Thank you so much, Ilona. It is a precarious time and I feel it especially in dealing with my students. I like the deflection of the sequins, the chance to be teased and to tease back so that the risk of public tears is lessened.

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I'd love to hear your response to my post. Agree, disagree, even go off on a tangent, I love to know you're out there, readers. Let's chat, shall we? I apologize, though, for the temporary necessity of the Word Verification -- spam comments have been tiresomely numerous lately, and I'm hoping to break that pattern.

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