This is a post I never thought I would actually write. Somehow, I guess it just feels intensely personal, even private, and potentially awkward for others. And yet, I find it very comforting.
Just over six years ago we lost my mom. It was an unexpected infection that her body simply could not battle. One of the blessings was being able to spend those last 10 days with her, my dad and sister at her bedside in the hospital. And my brother was even able to fly home from Siberia in a matter of days, something that has never happened in the almost 20 years he has lived there. They were rough days for Mom and each of us together as we faced the possibility of losing her. They were also filled with sweet moments when we were able to focus on Mom and our family without the daily distractions of life-as-usual, and even laugh about some of the memories we had created together.
It has been tough, this grief journey, and has given me an empathy for others who have walked through their own losses. It has grown each of us, clarified our perspectives and directed the moments of our days. It has also deepened the bond within our family, for which we are all grateful.
Mom was an avid seamstress, scrap booker, reader and lover of Scripture and discipling other women in their walk with Christ. Many of my own interests reflect her love for similar things.
There are many reminders about our house of Mama. Sewing supplies and machines, pictures, pillows from old sweaters. But the thing I’ve never really shared about are her old flannel jammies. It just seems too personal. Don’t even ask me to explain that, as I don’t quite understand it myself. But I do know they have brought a good deal of comfort to me.
Mom and I were not the same size, nor did we really share the same sense of style. So, the few clothing items I have of hers have been re-purposed into other items, like our winter pillows. The jammies have also undergone a transformation.
It’s simple really, I just cut squares as big as I could squeeze out of the flannel and finished the edges with a rolled hem. They have been the best handkerchiefs I have ever had.
Mainly because I had never really used handkerchiefs, and now I’m completely ruined for Kleenex. The flannel handkerchiefs are so much sturdier and softer than Kleenex, and I almost always have one in my purse. But more than that, like most of us, when I’m sick I really just want my Mama. Along with a big pot of her potato soup topped with shredded cheese and crumbled bacon.
And if it’s tears I need to dry, then these handkerchiefs are the closest thing to a Mama hug that I have, and somehow it simply makes things better. It’s easier to remember what her advice would be on tough days, to see her smile directed at me and to feel her Mama hugs.
So, as odd as this whole idea may seem to some, it has been of great comfort to me, and easily one of the sweetest redemption projects I have ever done.