It was time to get rid of Annette’s clothes. Tom asked if I wanted anything before he got rid of the clothes, so I went through her closet. I often drop in and visit the closet when we go to Tom’s house. I like to look at and touch her clothes and remember. So, I was going through the clothes, taking some things for me to wear, taking some other things as mementos, and feeling OK about things. Some melancholy, (the maid-of-honour dress from my wedding). Some sweet memories, (the Mickey Mouse sweatshirt from our fabulous trip to Disneyworld).
Then I came upon the drawer. The second drawer from the top. Inside that drawer were all the head scarves that Annette wore. They stopped me in mid motion, hand left hanging in mid-air. I cursed each and every one as I moved them aside, one by one. I even said, “I hate you.” Like it was the scarves’ fault. Isn’t that a sight? A grown woman telling head scarves, “I hate you.” To me, at that moment, they symbolized her cancer. I felt pure hatred for the scarves.
But later that evening, I got to thinking about the scarves. About their purpose. About what they gave to Annette. About how the soft fabric protected her sweet head from getting cold. About how they provided her with some modesty and comfort in her home. About how she began to feel comfortable enough that she would sometimes wear them in public. The scarves actually provided comfort and security. They served their purpose well. So, in a way, I am grateful for the scarves.
Then I thought more of some “ugly” props in life. Walkers. Canes. Wheelchairs. Hospital beds. Yet they all have their place. Then the ugliest prop of all came to mind.
The cross. Roughly hewn. Crudely nailed or tied together. Shoved into the ground without a foundation, I’m sure. Ugly, like the head scarf. And yet, it has its purpose. A beautiful and grand purpose. The ugly prop, which never was beautiful, also served its purpose. And for that reason I need not hate the head scarf. Or the hospital bed. The walker or cane. Because the ugliest prop of all made all these other things not all that important. The cross made them just that… props.