Touched by loss. Empowered through community.

Funeral Dress

Monday, March 31, 2014
Posted By: 
Jodi Salata

One of the gifts I've been given is that I just don't give a damn.  During my process of being broken, my give a damn was also broken.  Once I dropped caring about what everyone thought or my perceived notions of what mattered, I was free.  Free...  That word alone makes me breath deeper.  The weight on my shoulders slides off.  I am reminded again to fly, soar, and take my place in this world. 

For too long I chained myself to expectations and should's.  I didn't know who I was but I know I just wanted to do it "right".  I was so stuck in playing it cool.  I've also just wanted to blend, fit in.  I felt like a fraud.  I wore the clothes I thought a respectable wife and mother should wear.  I did what I thought a respectable wife, mother, and friend was supposed to do.  I always felt like I was wearing a jacket that never fit right.  I was always uncomfortable in my own skin. 

I would have these long conversations with myself.  In my mind I was talking to someone specific but I was alone.  I would discuss everything in the world with my invisible counterpart.  I would work through arguments; finish the things I wished I had said.  Discuss the things I felt I had no one to share with for fear of being looked at like an alien. 

When John died people started to look at me different.  I didn't care.  Mostly in the beginning I didn't even notice.  I didn't realize it until later but the moment he died, the chains feel off and I was free.  Not because he was gone, but because the love of my life just died and nothing really freaking mattered anymore.  NOTHING.  My first order of business was to honor this beloved man to the absolute best of my ability.  My sister took me shopping for a funeral outfit.  I was determined to wear a dress.  I don't know why but it's what I was pulled towards.  Might seem normal for most but for me this was completely strange. I would never willingly wear a dress.  The last time I can remember wearing one was about 9 years earlier at my best friends wedding, a requirement as a bridesmaid.

My sister kept showing me pants suits and I kept turning them down.  I must wear a dress.  I must honor my husband properly.  I finally shared that I wanted to wear a dress.  I don't think my sister believed me.  I remember her saying lets just see what we find.  It's a miracle I remember that much.  Those who go through loss like this know your brain goes into shock and protects itself.  Later as the fog begins to lift you might get some of those early memories back.  There are others that you will remember when you want to forget, and those that are so emblazoned in your memory nothing could erase it.

I found my dress finally, a simple yet proper black taffeta number.  It still hangs in my closet, my funeral dress.  Never to be wore again and no idea with what to do with it.  Today it’s a symbol, my first step into my true self without a care about anyone else’s opinion or what people would say.  This is my journey.  It doesn’t look like anyone else’s but it’s mine.


Bravo! I heard the message in this beautiful blog and I am doing the same! Full steam ahead giving my gifts to the world in spite of what anyone will think! Thanks for giving your gifts! Elizabeth

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