A time for every purpose (including black dresses)
My dad and I are flying to Richland, WA, today to say our goodbyes to my grandpa. We bought last-minute tickets, and needless to say, the past 24 hours have been chaotic.
One of the tasks I had last night was to find something appropriate to wear to a memorial service. Now, given the circumstances, perhaps this should have been the last thing on my mind. Maybe this was a vain endeavor. But when it comes down to it, I simply do not own anything appropriate to wear to a funeral. Period. The only black dress that I own is a saucy little number that someone once called my “sex on a stick” dress. And can you imagine? The blatant impropriety? It would be the horrifying equivalent of wearing white to someone else’s wedding, or saying “bomb” on a plane.
And yes, even if I wore a shawl.
Earlier yesterday, at Dooce’s recommendation, I went out and bought these shoes – and on a terrific sale, I might add. So last night, I was searching for something that would complement my new wedges. Perhaps I was working backwards?
Here’s the problem with shopping for a funeral dress during the holidays: nothing is basic. Everything is flashy. Everything is jewel-toned and sparkly and velvet and see-through. Rule of thumb: funeral attire should not be capable of doubling as your New Years’ get-up. In fact, if you can even refer to something as “get-up,” then it should get the proverbial trap door.
In a brief hour and a half period, I searched high and low: Nordstrom, Macy’s, Dillard’s, Banana Republic, Ann Taylor, Target, even Kohl’s (gasp) and Wal-Mart (scandal!). I ventured into stores playing music featuring backup singers who were panting. I saw sheaths that appeared to be shredded, but were, in fact, “meant to look that way.” What ever happened to a basic, affordable, modest-yet-well-cut dress? That I could possibly wear again?
I returned home defeated, empty-handed, with a blister from my new shoes. And I went up to my room, opened some boxes, and searched until I found a black skirt and top. That’ll do.
Perhaps my urgency in insisting that I find a new dress was in order to distract my mind from the fact that I am about to see death up close – something that has never happened before. I would be lying if I said that I wasn’t a little bit scared.
And yet, selfishly, I pray that we arrive in time. I hope we’re not too late.