Friday, August 20, 2010


We didn’t pack for a funeral.

We packed one carry on suitcase each for a summer week in Connecticut. What would we really need? Bathing suits, sundresses, shorts, sandals, sneakers. So that’s all we brought.

When the visit tripled in length, we made do. I did a little shopping and a lot of laundry. Mom said that since we've been gone, she misses the sound of the washer and drier running constantly. (Thanks for always folding my clothes, mom. My attention span was never long enough to make it all the way through a load).

So the hot summer days would be easy enough to manage for however long we'd be there, but it was clear that I was going to need to figure something else out for the kids and I to wear to the wake and the funeral. Fortunately, Bill was on his way and I instructed him to pull all the black dresses he could find in my closet and then call me back before he started packing.

My first hint that I was in trouble came during that second call when he tried to describe to me what he had found. He asked if I wanted the one that was, and I quote: “bedazzled around the neck”. I was able to determine that he was referring to a longish, dressy tank top that I have. He said it came down to his thighs when he held it up to himself. While the visual image of my sweet husband standing with the phone in the crook between his shoulder and ear holding my bedazzled tank top up to his body to measure its length was distractingly hilarious, the reality slowly crept in that he was not distinguishing shirts from dresses. I wanted to be confident that by the end of that phone call, he had selected a reasonable assortment of clothes from which I could assemble two somber outfits, but just in case, I headed to Marshall’s.

Mary Beth and I bravely took on this task on one of those weekend days, I think. It was our first outing into the real world, and it was really, really hard. Somehow the people out there kept acting like the world was still normal, like they could just walk around and shop and talk and even disagree with us, and we were expected to know how to behave in response. Also? There was not one single pair of pants for a boy in all of Marshall’s. Not one. I swear. I checked, then Mar checked, then we both checked again because we just assumed that we were addled and unable to find the elusive rack.

We got some of the other things we needed, like shoes and a girl sized dress and a couple of possibilities for mom; and Bill eventually showed up heroic, with more than enough options for my wardrobe.

The boy, though. He was a problem. I asked around and came up with a button down shirt and khakis (thanks, Meg) for the wake. He wore his gray Chuck Taylors and it was fine. The kids didn’t really spend much time inside the funeral home during the wake, anyway. At one point I asked where they were and happily accepted someone’s reply that they were in the parking lot playing ninja with their cousins. I resisted the urge to join them. Eventually, someone took them home (thanks, Meg).

I also received this lovely offer via facebook:

Sweet Jacquie, I know that you did not pack for the event that has taken place. I just wanted you to know that I have at least 4 dif. sizes of boys Navy Blue Blazers here that could be of some use if there are young ones there that need them. I am sure there is one that would fit your son (but don't even know if those are required in this day and age?). Just let me know if you would like them and I could run them over. Once again, I am so very sorry for the pain you all are going through. Hugs to all – Glenda

We used to babysit the boys who had grown out of those blazers! Glenda brought them to the wake and my boy and my sister Julie’s boy each wore one to the funeral.

My boy is a bit of a clothes horse. He was super excited to have all these fancy duds coming in, and couldn’t wait to try them on. He was also smitten with the red tie that was in with the blazers, and he asked if he could wear it. Grammy heard this, and suggested that the boys each wear one of Jidoo’s ties.

My boy choose well.

When he put it on, he said: “I’m going to wear this to school every day, no matter what.”
Hope Jidoo will protect you from daily swirlies in 6th grade, honey.


Me, You, or Ellie said...

Look at your chitlins, Jacqueline. How gorgeous.

And that photo of your boy with his tie down to his knees (as opposed to mid-thigh) is priceless. He is about to bust with happiness and pride.

For the record? You all looked gorgeous during those days. I have photos to prove it. Hmmmm, maybe I'll trot them out one of these days....

Love you schnookums.

GFM said...

Ok, tears again! I am sending this link to those "boys" you used to babysit. Your boy looks smashing!

Mom C. said...

I love this Jacquie, I miss those munchkins and you, of course. I love you.. mom

Unknown said...

Jacq - swirlies?! LOL LOL. I didn't think I could laugh about this, but you managed it - thanks! And the visual of your wonderfully sweet husband trying his best to find your clothes is really priceless.

Me, You, or Ellie said...

"the reality slowly crept in that he was not distinguishing shirts from dresses" man, did I laugh out loud at that one, Jacquie! Too funny.

But it sounds as though he pulled through for you :-) Way to go, Bill.

How sweet your boy looks, in such a perfect Jidoo tie.

Marshalls will likely never be the same....

love you,