A few months ago – I don’t know what it was that triggered it – I suddenly remembered these two dresses that my mum sewed for me many years ago. (Mum was an excellent seamstress. She sewed me all manner of things when I was growing up. The baby pillow that she sewed for me before I was born, I still sleep with it every night and it goes in my hand luggage when I travel. Seriously.)
Now these are not fancy dresses you wear to go somewhere. These are the kind you wear around the house. One is red with white flowers, the other is leopard print. I’d wear them on and off over the years but I guess I kind of forgot about them and hadn’t worn them for a long time. I felt this urgent need to find them – you know, see them with my eyes and hold them in my hand. So I dug them out of my closet. They were in great condition, still, if only smelling a little musty from not having been worn for so long. I washed them, and upon drying, discovered that the leopard print one had a broken zip. I put it back in my closet and put on the red one. Since then, that dress has been in my regular rotation of “home clothes”. I’m terrified of wrecking it from wearing it so often, but she sewed it not for me to keep it untouched in my closet. She sewed it so I could wear it. So I’m going to wear it.
Last night I watched a French movie called Je Suis Heureux Que Ma Mère Soit Vivante (I’m Glad My Mother Is Alive). In a nutshell, it’s about a boy’s relationship with his mother. It’s got nothing to do with my relationship with my mother; I can’t relate to it at all. But I suppose the subject matter alone was enough to make me think of my mum. Halfway through the movie, I recalled that there’s actually another dress that she sewed for me, not just the two. It’s green, with white flowers. Again, I haven’t worn it for a while but I know it’s in my closet somewhere. I let the movie finish before going to look for it. But by this time it was 11 and it was time to go to bed. So I told myself I’ll look for it this weekend. And when I find it, I’m going to wear it often too.
Wearing the clothes she made me, thinking of her…it doesn’t make me miss her less. In fact, it makes me miss her more. But that’s okay. Dead mothers are meant to be missed.