The call came early Saturday morning. I leapt from bed to prepare to leave. Ten minutes later, I was informed that my haste was for naught. He was gone. At 7:03 am on May 19th 2012, my Grandfather slipped away from this life.
I spent most of the day at my Grandparents’ home in somber calm, unsure of what to do, trying my best to be of comfort to my relatives.
Now, almost a week later, as I deal with the grief, I long for a simpler time – when mourning was visible, accepted and expected. The Victorian Era comes to mind, with it’s set traditions of attire and conduct. With the laxity of tradition nowadays, how is one to convey the fact that one is grieving without making a verbal statement?
The mourning wreath on the door and the black garb worn by family in those days were a clear visual clue that there had been a recent death in the family. Duration of wear and extent of mourning attire varied depending on one’s relationship with the deceased, with widows wearing all black (full mourning) for a few years and household servants wearing a simple black armband for several months.
In this day and age, black is considered a fashionable color and therefore worn by many almost constantly. At least half of my wardrobe consists of black clothing. How would anyone know I’m mourning? If I was to place a black mourning wreath on my front door, who would understand it’s meaning? I am left with no other course but to verbally inform those who ask me what is wrong that I have lost someone. As for those who do not notice or think to ask, they have no idea that for the time being, I could use a bit of consideration.
It often strikes me that in our quest for an easier and improved life, we have succeeded in making life more complicated and stressful than it needs to be. By breaking with sensible traditions in the name of “freedom” we have encumbered ourselves with previously unknown burdens. And a grieving family does not need additional burdens.