In earlier times relatives of a deceased would wear black to show that they are mourning the passing of a loved one. I have not seen anyone do this for a long time. I can vaguely remember a few people who I would have characterized as very religious from my teenager years. At that time my perception was that wearing black was something that was imposed on them. Not only did they lose someone important to them, but then they had to wear black for a year or so. How wrong I have been…
Only now am I realizing that dressing in black served an important function, a basic barrier of protection for the grieving person. And I certainly do not know why we broke with such traditions. I think I shared in some of my other posts that one particularly difficult part of grieving for your own babies is that it appears to happen in silence. Bereaved parents like us and others we spoke to often feel like they have to put on a mask when they leave the protection of their home. Once you go outside, you are part of the world and it functions as it always does. With it come all the accidental and harmless sounding remarks, comments, situations that unbeknownst to others drive knives into your belly. It is so difficult to comprehend the normality of life when your own life is not normal at all.
If you wear black, are people simply more concious about what they say? Would they even realize that black stands for mourning or is this different in each culture? If it is depending on culture, wearing black in Vancouver that is home to so many people from all over the world might not work at all. Or would it even isolate the bereaved person further if the reaction is that others don’t know what to say and shun the person?
I thought about wearing black, but realized I for one thing do not have many black clothes (true, I could change that) and moreover I am sceptical it would work. I still felt I had to do something. So I shaved my head.