30 October 2009

The Nightgown

She went off to the undertaker in a nightgown. A soft cotton-knit nightgown from Lands' End. Heather grey, with a henley neck and a handful of buttons and long sleeves. It hung to below the knee, and had side slits at the hem.

I'd bought it for her around the time she started sleeping in the living room. All of her other nightgowns were cotton flannel, and harder to get on and off; the stretchy knit was easier. Over time, though, both side slits tore farther up the seam. All of that pulling and rolling and tugging - to change the diaper, change the bedding, get her positioned in her bed just so - took its toll on the fragile seams, already weakened by the slit running up from the hem.

She went off to the undertaker in a nightgown with ripped seams. I wonder, did they take it off, that nightgown? Did the funeral home send it off to St. Vincent de Paul? Or did she go to the crematorium in that nightgown?

It was one of the last things that I bought her.

21 comments:

slouchy said...

oh, m.

this tore at my heart.

love you.

YourFireAnt said...

This is wonderful, Maggie. It makes me cry, it is full of love.

Mine is buried in an orange jumpsuit and pink flats. That is what she chose.

T.

Mental P Mama said...

Bless your heart. I bought my mother a lavender nightgown as one of her last gifts, too. And when I went to clean out her house, I took it. I still wear it sometimes. And I love it. Is today an anniversary? Hugs to you.

Furrow said...

You will never run out of things like this to wonder about. sigh.

susan said...

((((magpie))))

heidi said...

I imagine she wore it. Wonder if I can choose my own nightgown for such purposes... must make a note to self. You always make me think, think, think M-pie! xoh

ann said...

oh, so sad. It brought back a lot of memories for me about times at your house with your mom there. Always great smells at your house from your mom cooking something incredible, and so many interesting things your mom did - still remember her amazing dollhouse.

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

We didn't know my mom would die quite as quickly as she did and she was wearing an oversized t-shirt. We changed her to a pretty nightgown before they took her--she would have wanted that.

Angeline said...

The feeling that this post gives me is a mixture of many emotions...the ache from the torn, the satisfaction that your gift of love is worn.... you stirred up my Saturday... thank you, I needed this, feeling a little 'dead' today.

InTheFastLane said...

There are no words, sometimes. Only thoughts. And hugs.

Maggie May said...

This post is so ... just true. Those kinds of nagging worries or small heartbreaks reveal the deeper fissure of loss.

Anjali said...

Worn clothing is always the most loved.

I'm sorry it's so hard.

phd in yogurtry said...

I think she wears the nightgown still, one of the last things you bought her.

kathy a. said...

i think phd in yogurtry is right. and that she left wearing something that she loved, and that was comfortable. who could ask for more?

I Am Very Mary said...

I rather like to think she fancied the racy split seams, showing off her gams to St. Peter saying, "Oh, it's all my daughter's fault that I'm dressed so inappropriately!" with a bit of eyelash batting and coy smirking...

Bon said...

these strange things we do not know....what happens to these artifacts that are left behind?

i am glad she went wearing something you bought her. to me, it is a part of your caring that accompanied her on that list trip. your little offering for the ferryman of the Styx.

needleinahaystack said...

My mother in law died last week. she was buried in her favorite housedress.

Life in Eden said...

I've had this post saved in my reader for days, trying to figure out what to say. This was touching, but all your posts about your mom are, especially as I face my own mother's advancing age and increasingly frail health.

I think Moky insisted she wear that nightgown into the great beyond.

Kyla said...

They don't return those things? Seems that they should.

This was very touching.

MDTaz said...

Makes me remember a fabulous dress of my mother's in the '70s. It was crisp white cotton with gold embroidery, a sleeveless number with an open back that dipped down, almost to the waist. Family lore is that I suggested she be buried in it, because it was so pretty from the back. My mother laughs about this still, though I'm sure she'd prefer not to be face-down for eternity.

Your post is sad and sweet and reminds me what is ahead.

MDTaz said...

Makes me remember a fabulous dress of my mother's in the '70s. It was crisp white cotton with gold embroidery, a sleeveless number with an open back that dipped down, almost to the waist. Family lore is that I suggested she be buried in it, because it was so pretty from the back. My mother laughs about this still, though I'm sure she'd prefer not to be face-down for eternity.

Your post is sad and sweet and reminds me what is ahead.