Clothes and Grief

Two years ago yesterday, Donald Lupescu passed away and our lives have a big Grandpa-Don-shaped hole in them. It’s an impossibly large hole, as is the case with grief. When the kids came home after school, we spent some time remembering the many things we love and miss about Grandpa. We cherish those memories, and we hold onto tangible things that remind us: On my counter is a sugar bowl from Don and Eleanor’s kitchen, and I think of Don each time I use it. Mark has some shirts and ties from Don; and as Liam waits to grow into his grandfather’s patterned and tropical shirts, he keeps an eye out for “Grandpa Don”-style shirts that are *his* size in the store.

There’s something special about clothes and grief. Clothes hold more than just the memory of our beloveds who wore them–it’s more like what my friend Katelan calls time travel. When we touch those clothes, we touch the past, we flash back, we get an echo. We hold on.

It was incredibly timely to read author Ekaterina Sedia’s essay, “A Story of Grief and Clothes.” Ekaterina lost her father, her sister, her aunt, and her mother in the span of two years. Because her family still lived in Moscow, she spent those two years crossing the Atlantic again and again to say goodbye. This is her beautiful, sad remembrance:

“I dress in black as mourners do, with dark charcoal and navy. I understand now: it requires no matching and no planning, it is simple clothes that require no thought and look okay. They do not show dirt, which is nice when laundry is too much to face when you barely holding it together for necessities. Mourning clothes are the emblem of simplification for survival, life-saving routines that conserve the resources. I exercise and go for walks and do crossword puzzles and read fashion blogs because they are routines, protection, they are not letting me overheat from too much processing.”

What is remembered lives.

Published by Valya

Valya Dudycz Lupescu has been making magic with food and words for more than 20 years, incorporating folklore from her Ukrainian heritage with practices that honor the Earth. She’s a writer, content developer, instructor, and mother of three teenagers. Valya is the author of THE SILENCE OF TREES and the founding editor of CONCLAVE: A Journal of Character. Along with Stephen H. Segal, she is the co-author of FORKING GOOD: An Unofficial Cookbook for Fans of The Good Place and GEEK PARENTING: What Joffrey, Jor-El, Maleficent, and the McFlys Teach Us about Raising a Family (Quirk Books), and co-founder of the Wyrd Words storytelling laboratory. Valya earned her MFA in Writing from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and her poetry and prose have been published in anthologies and magazines that include, The Year's Best Dark Fantasy & Horror, Kenyon Review, Culture, Gargoyle Magazine, Gone Lawn, Strange Horizons, Mythic Delirium. You can find her on Twitter @valya.

3 thoughts on “Clothes and Grief”

  1. Linda says:

    May his memory be eternal.

  2. Valya says:

    <3 Thank you, Linda.

  3. Liam Lupescu says:

    🙁

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