Sometimes those shoes in our closet are the suit of armor we need to face the most difficult day of our life. They are the anchor and the raft. Thank you, Sara, for sharing your story, your bravery and your heart.
I wore red shoes to my son’s memorial service.
They are the perfect red shoes, really. Heels not too high, shade not too red, lines sleek and swooping; the perfect compliment to the classic wardrobe I’d carefully crafted over the last few years. I’d worn them with jeans to run errands and to black tie events and now I would wear them – just eleven days postpartum squeezed into spanx and a forgiving dress – to the service where we would honor the four and a half days we spent with our firstborn.
I remember standing in my closet and tearfully telling my female family members, “I like to think I would have been the kind of mom who wore red shoes.”
I never really knew my style in my twenties. I drifted between comfortable, flattering, unflattering and what looked good on someone else. In the wake of a devastating divorce, I spent my early thirties finding my fashion groove. I searched and thrifted and spun together a classic collection that made me proud. I found out who I was, probably for the first time, and I declared it to the world in a well fitted jacket with a trouser jean and splendid pump.
I built from the ground up, tasteful black and brown heels, flattering jeans, simple accessories. I moved forward to accent pieces, colorful shoes, trendy tops and timeless coats. By the time I met my husband I enjoyed dressing myself for the first time in my life. I put together pieces thoughtfully, and I enjoyed entering a room. I really, truly and finally, knew myself. My wardrobe just told the world what I had already figured out.
And then my son died and I would have just as soon burned my closet as take another breath.
But something in me refused to die with him. I stubbornly stuck out my chin and declared that my faith would not be shaken. I summoned every ounce of grit buried under the grief that enveloped me and decided if I had to keep living, I would do it in a way that would make him proud. I had so very little left, that stubbornness and grit were miniscule compared to the massive, crushing knowledge that my son was gone from this life forever. But I also had my red shoes.
So I wore red shoes to my son’s memorial service.
Do you have a cherished and storied item that you’d like to share? Come find out more about Storied Collections and submit one of your own. We’d love to hear about it.