THE FIRST AND LAST GOWNS

Betty - Jacksonville, Florida
Entered on June 25, 2007
Age Group: 65+
Themes: love

The first gown was black and sheer and lacy and revealing. Just what a wife would hope her husband of less than a year would choose for her. It fit perfectly. Long, to the floor, with a plunging neckline. And what’s more, it was flattering–emphasizing my best points (pun intended!) and glossing over problem areas.

That gown would not wear out. We used and enjoyed it for years. Somewhere along the line, after the first twenty years or so, it got shoved to the back of the drawer. I would get it out occasionally and try it on, primarily to see if I could still squeeze into it. Because it was a nylon jersey fabric, it was very forgiving, and so, consequently, it “fit” for a long, long time.

One day in a cleaning mode, I finally put it in a GOODWILL bag. It had met its purpose, and after all, life would always be the same, wouldn’t it? With Tom beside me to choose other gowns?

The last gown Tom chose for me could not have been in sharper contrast. This gown was a blue and white flannel print, with lace around the neck and sleeves. But I loved this gown. When I slipped it on for one of Florida’s rare cold nights, it felt all warm and cozy, like Tom had put his arms around me and promised to keep me safe and warm.

After Tom’s death, the gown became a great source of comfort. I thought about his purchasing it for me at K-Mart. Not the most elite of stores, but apparently this gown had quality because it has lasted and lasted.

I have just folded the flannel gown out of the dryer once again and thought, “I’ll wear this tonight. We have an unusually late cold spell coming this way.” And so I shall. And each time I put on the last gown, I can see my dear Tom, no longer embarrassed to be purchasing a woman’s gown, and his image of me–perhaps not so racy as it once was. But he knew me. And he knew I was ready for a gown that matched our love, warm and cozy.