Oh, Mother, where are your Ferragamos?
That was the question I asked as I looked at the body of my mother who had died a day earlier. She was decked out in one of her St. John suits, ready for a private viewing.
I took her hand, surprised at how cold she was. Of course she was cold, she had been in the cooler at the funeral home awaiting the service that would honor her memory.
I patted her face, talking gently to her about how good she looked, how much she would be missed, and how peaceful she appeared. Looking good was the most important observation for this woman who had a flair for clothing. She worked at looking good, and she succeeded in that quest. A tall woman, she carried herself with authority, and was noticed when she entered a room. Not beauty queen beautiful, but handsome and striking.
She had left strict instructions: she did not want to be viewed after her death. But one of her 4 grandchildren hadn’t seen her in some months, and wanted to spend a few moments saying goodbye. Thus, the suit.
Mother would be pleased that she was in her newest expensive outfit for her final visit with the youngest member of her family. She exited this lifetime in style, and that certainly is the way she would want to be remembered.
This woman of many talents came from a small town in the eastern part of Oklahoma. Her father had lost everything a few years following her birth, so she didn’t grow up in wealth, but learned how to work hard. She determined at a very early age she did not want to be poor. In fact, she stated often she did not want to grow old being sick and broke. And she spent her adult years making certain her 3 daughters were well-educated, and she had enough money to care for herself if she lost her health as she aged.
Yes, my Mother worked hard throughout her life, and benefited from her efforts. She could afford to have expensive clothes, full-time help when she needed it, and a lovely decorated home in a high-rise apartment.
I was recalling all this as I said my own farewell to my perfectly imperfect mother.
I turned to leave her side for the final time, when I thought about her footwear, and wondered if she had on a pair of her favorite shoes.
When I lifted the sheet exposing her feet, I gasped: no Ferragamos, but a tag dangling from her big toe.
Oh Mother, you really would die if you saw your footwear!