Wearing Black

I’m a widow; a term that carries with it an image of an old white haired woman dressed all in black, with a black hat and veil.  The word and image are synonymous with mourning.  I never wore black, even to the wake.  We asked everyone to wear flannel shirts to honor my husband’s choice in shirt fabric.  It’s a powerful thing, how the family and friends that gathered kept mourning from expressing itself.  These people not only allowed me to appear strong, I was strong, and not just for their sake.  There was heavy sadness in me but the weight was spread out over those who came to remember his life, the only thing we had left.  Very few of the people who came and all the others I encountered since, ever witnessed the full extent of my mourning.  Extremes of quiet and anger, numbness and sorrow, keeping busy and immobility, tears and screams.  Never knowing where a task, memory, or event would take me.  Not fully in control of my thoughts and emotions.  What would an image of that person look like?  The same as any other photo of me, because I wore black on the inside.

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