I love to shop. If that makes me a stereotypical female, so be it.
But I love wandering the aisle of Target, taking my time to linger over clearance endcaps and frog-themed bathroom accessories. I get a rush matching necklaces and earrings to springy outfits of capri pants and sweater sets. I can feel my blood zing through my veins when I walk through the mall carrying multiple paper bags, their string handles resting in my palms (though it's been a LONG time since I've actually been to the mall).
Having said all that, there was not a lot of joy in the shopping I did today. I was looking for clothes to wear to my mother-in-law's impending funeral. Shopping for a funeral when the person you love is still alive is depressing.
"Are you shopping for something special today?"
"No" is the easy answer. "Just browsing" shakes off most sales people.
But by the third store, I was ready to be real. "Yes. I'm shopping for something to wear to my mother-in-law's funeral." It was instantly apparent that wasn't what this nice woman was expecting to hear. She offered condolences and then left me to my search for something appropriate.
First was the matter of color. Is brown somber enough or does it have to be black? How about brown for the visitation and black for the actual funeral? Is a splash of bright pink appropriate? A funeral is a celebration of life, after all.
Then the issue of formality. Ok to wear pants? Maybe for the wake, but probably a dress for the funeral?
With Annie graduating from 8th grade this year, there will be several occasions -- May Crowning and the graduation Mass -- where nice clothes will be appropriate. Can I add some color to the black dress to make it seem festive at a later date?
Do I have shoes to go with this? Jewelry? Or do I need to buy those too?
Of course there is the fat factor. The fact that the clothes I was trying on were a size 18, when this time last year I was buying size 14s , was depressing all on its own. But does it matter if this outfit makes me look fat? It's not about me, right?
I tried to think of other teapot-shaped women I know -- short and stout -- who might have something I could borrow, but I came up empty. So at the end of the night, I walked out with one blouse I can wear with black pants and a jacket I already own, a brown earthy-toned outfit that I will probably keep to wear to work even if I decide it doesn't reflect enough grief for this occasion, and a black sheath dress with a wide belt that I'm not convinced is a good idea with a white shrug -- an outfit that just seems boring.
And paying for all that? You guessed it...depressing.