It’s funny the things we hold onto, the things we think we can not live without. For some, its old photographs of smiling faces and exotic places. For others, its handwritten letters, on yellowed paper, or pieces of antique jewelry; lockets and wedding bands, but for me, it’s clothes.
I still have my old cheerleading uniforms with knee-length pleated skirts and stiff vests, and all my prom dresses, useless and out dated. My Wedding Gown hangs in my closet, pressed and perfectly preserved. My late grandfather’s navy, plaid, button-up shirt is tucked neatly away in my bottom dresser drawer. The outfits my babies wore home from the hospital lie in keepsake boxes, still perfumed with baby lotion and milk, and for some crazed reason I can not let go of my maternity clothes and everyone else’s (psshh…that’s another post entirely).
You and I both know, it’s not the things we can’t let go of, but what they represent. Those articles of clothing, I am convinced I can not live without, do things for me that the mind cannot. Those clothes give me memories I can touch and feel, smell, and rest my head on.
The Prom dresses take me back with clarity to music filled nights spent in a sea of weaving bodies. The thrill and anticipation of the slow dance, full of clammy hands and clumsy feet. The smell of sweat and CK1 hanging thick in the air. My shoes long abandoned for comfort and lost among the shuffle.
My grandfather’s plaid button up, gives me something to hold, when I really want to hold him. It takes me back to all the times I saw him wear the shirt, special occasions, doctors appointments, and funerals. I remember the way the colors of the shirt made his eyes shine, so clear and so blue, a pool of deep waters. I can still see him, shuffling thru the yard, his button up blowing in the wind.
My Wedding Gown, I could live in. I never, ever, want to forget the way I felt the day I wore it. My heart pounding, my knees shaking, but I have never felt more sure, confident in the love that flowed between me and him. One scan of the hemline and I am instantly transported to our wedding night. I am a mess of emotions, a ball of nerves and jitters. He watches as my hands tremble, fumbling with just one, of thousand bobby pins, holding my hair together, in a nest of curls and hairspray. He lets my hands fall, and in a gesture so tender and so sweet, he lovingly removes each pin, one by one, never pulling a single strand. I am certain, he never saw the tears that streamed down my face, because in all my life, I had never felt more loved.
I know, in a way, I am replacing people for clothes, but don’t we all long for continuity. There have been so many moments in my life that I wish I could have stayed in forever; halted and frozen in a frame. Then there are people I loved dearly who are gone, and I can not see, but I can feel them in my heart and their shirts with my hands. On those days, and we all have them, when those pieces of clothing are just not enough, and we long for something more. I can rest in the assurance that someday, as a daughter of the King, I will lead a life that has no end. A life void of change and pain. A life without the need to cling to clothing, or anything, but him.
So, for now my closet is a little messy. What about yours? What things are you holding onto that you can’t live without?