There has been a lot of talk of the past in the world of Flaxen Tawny recently. As much as we are advocates of forging ahead in life and living within each precious moment, we also recognize the importance of our pasts-the credit that they deserve for getting us to the places we are today, and how our occasional reminiscing can be extremely therapeutic.
In the wake of any loss, be it a split or a death, similar steps are taken when grieving. Oddly enough, as I described to some of my friends my personal feelings after our recent loss of an amazing friend, I found myself describing emotions I had experienced once before after an ended relationship. This was a relationship I would have done anything to sustain, but it was out of my hands, and at that point in my life was probably the most devastating loss I had ever been through. I have, since then, lost two grandparents, a great-aunt, and now most recently, a best friend. It’s incredible how such specific emotions resurface given such seemingly different circumstances. How can one compare a break-up to a death? To lose someone metaphorically is just not comparable to losing someone physically, no?? Ehhhh… we’re not so sure about that. The reality here being that the circumstances aren’t actually all that different. A loss is a loss, however great or small. So we have to ask ourselves how do we pick up the pieces after losing someone we love and find ourselves able to continue to love today or to love again in the days to come?
The answer to this problem is this: to carry their love with you. How? Well, there are many ways; photos, poems, blogs;)- but the Flaxen Tawny solution to this conundrum is this: we wear it, of course.
Now although that devastating break up that seemingly left us with only a pair of earrings and a broken heart may not have ended on the most pleasant note, there was indeed some sort of love behind it. This is what we want to carry with us; this is what we NEED to carry with us if we want to continue to love. And this goes for those we’ve lost in life as well.
Throughout my grandmother’s life I collected items from her wardrobe (belts, jackets, handbags), and have integrated them into my own wardrobe. After she passed away, those things have gained so much more sentimental value to me, and are my way of reminding myself of her life, love, and legacy that she left behind. When my great Aunt passed, my aunt and mother picked out a few handbags of hers for me. She wasn’t really one to carry handbags in the time I had known her. Yet now, in her wake, I found this new connection to her youth; a side of her I had never known very well, who had been kept tranquil in dresser drawers for most of her adult life, a side of her that was able to now live again through me.
But, most recently, I (along with so many others) experienced a loss I had never before-the loss of a best friend. I have to say that it felt quite different taking things from a friend who had lived for only as long as us, if not even. It’s not exactly the same as having your grandmother’s belt, or your great aunt’s handbag. There was more of a sense of guilt attached to it, like it was too soon to be going through her things and deciding what we wanted to take for ourselves. It seemed selfish in a way, insensitive, and yes, a bit morbid.
The truth is, it was too soon, people aren’t supposed to die at 30 years old. We weren’t ready to accept this as a truth, much like one may feel after a seemingly too-soon ended relationship that in which they would have done anything to hang on to, it wasn’t time. These items of hers hadn’t acquired enough of a story yet. They hadn’t sat in her dresser drawers awaiting to be gifted to her grand-daughter, as we all know Mary would have done. Yes, the truth is, it was too soon for her to leave this world. So it is now up to us as her loved ones to continue the legacy that was hers, to keep the stories going by wearing her things; be it a necklace, shawl, jacket, or an old re-invented long-trail tee-shirt. Mary had a lot more life to be lived, and it is through us that her spirit will continue to create stories and her love will continue to touch people. This is how we continue to love.
Some may find this too difficult a feat, to put on an item of clothing that a loved one once wore. But to us, it is cathartic and respectful, and is in every way Flaxen Tawny.