Little Black Dress


I spent the morning trying on black dresses in preparation for a funeral I don’t have details for yet. The pending service is for a 35-year old woman I’ve known for 10 years. As I pulled a zipper here and adjusted a waistline there, all I could think about were those numbers.

My mind drifted to November 2015 when I rang in my 35th year on downtown Nashville rooftops, clinking glasses with close friends, and feeling so loved. I spent time on Florida beaches with my family and took holiday photos with my grandparents. I cultivated a thriving garden, I cooked a lot, I traveled to the Pacific Northwest with my husband. My mom & I celebrated her birthday in Cancun and I won a Nashville Emerging Leader award that same month. Hubs and I celebrated our 2nd anniversary in Puerto Vallarta and my mom’s retirement in Atlanta. There were so many days of laughter, celebration, and sunshine in between. (Frustrations and hardships, too — I’m sure — but photos don’t seem to capture those.)

It feels really messed up: 35 should not signal the end of life. In some ways for me, 35 was just the beginning.

There’s something I’ve heard a lot over the past two days: “This isn’t fair.” I can’t disagree. It’s not! I’m reminded of the Bible verse that says in this life we will have troubles; a literal promise that life won’t go the way we think. Even that realization doesn’t erase the hurt or pain or confusion when we experience loss.

The news I received on Sunday morning left me feeling like I’m running a marathon through water. When people speak, it’s like my ears are muffled. Nothing makes sense as I continue processing what all this means.

In the meantime, my Facebook feed is flooded with tribute posts and accompanying photos (a lot of them with Amanda cameos; flashbacks from what feels like another lifetime). I can’t bring myself to post anything. After all, what is left to be said? And what hasn’t been said surely isn’t appropriate to say now.

I checked in on a friend of mine last night who was regretting not saying goodbye. “I said ‘I love you’ in our last text exchange so I’m taking comfort in that,” she wrote. I made an off-hand remark that this was a lot better than my last exchange. It really, really was.

Recalling mixed emotions later on, my husband reminded me that none of this matters now. I know he’s right.

I’ve spent the past five weeks digging into The Lord’s Prayer: understanding what it really means and learning to apply this to modern day 2019. Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us is haunting. So, yeah. I know this doesn’t matter now. But, should it have ever mattered?

As I set aside the black dress I settled on wearing this week, I ran through a list of silent resolutions. These memories have reminded me just how short life really is. Other than getting my own affairs in order (note to self: give husband passwords to Netflix and Google Music), I want to be mindful in my interactions. I want to speak with lovingkindness, I want to forgive with grace. Yes – even in times when I’m hurt or know the information I’m holding is correct. Life is far too short to spend it arguing when we could be using this limited time together to build each other up in love.

None of this is about me. All of it is greater than I have the capacity to understand. But, however limited my understanding, I do know I will be forever grateful to the woman I knew for teaching me this. Whether she meant to or not.

One Comment Add yours

  1. Dad says:

    Well said.

    Liked by 1 person

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