“Little black dress” has become something in society symbolizing attractive young women with their go to outfits for a night on the town.
And I may own one or two dresses like that, the cute kind, the sexy kind.
But I also have another little black dress.
The one I put after sitting at my uncle’s bedside.
The one I put on after my friend’s brother fell while hiking.
The one I put on after my friend’s father went to sleep and never woke up.
I’ll be putting it on again today, after watching my aunt in pain for the last year.
And it would be completely normal to have terrible feelings attached to this dress. And sometimes that’s all I can think about; the tears, the pain in my chest, the emptiness.
But my family has a beautiful way to deal with grief, one that I’m trying to hold onto.
When my uncle was sick, very sick and nearing the end, family from all across the country flew out to see him and say their goodbyes.
And dozens of us would cram into his little hospice room and we would sit and talk. My aunts and uncles and other relatives would tell stories from their childhood, recount happy memories, sing their favorite songs and oh would the laughter fill the room.
One of the nurses working there said it was so refreshing to see so much joy and happiness in one of those hospice rooms.
Now don’t get me wrong there were plenty of tears; in the end, when everyone had gone off, just a few of us where left there for the last breath and the grief was enough to take my own breath away for a moment.
But I’m trying now not to remember that breathlessness. I’m going to remember the comfort of family, the old stories and the music filling the air.
That’s how she would’ve wanted it.
Goodbye Auntie Lau.