Most of my clothes are black. Although I have been described as a melancholic person who loves to dive deeply into emotions, including the emotions of others, I do not wear black because it is my favorite color nor do I wear it to represent my fascination with death. I wear it because it makes me look thinner.
But recently I have been longing to wear black to signal to others that I am still grieving the loss of my mother. I get it now why some cultures wear black as an outward sign to say, "This person is grieving, certain topics are off limits. Be sensitive, be aware, be patient, even if she seems grumpy, show her some grace." Oh how I wish we could wear a color that would universally signal the state of one's inner landscape.
We live in a culture that pushes death far under the door. We don't like to think about it. We don't like to talk about it. We want to pretend that it won't happen to us, but death is real and all of us at some point have to deal with its waves of grief: shock, anger, sadness.
I don't find death as hard to deal with as learning to say goodbye is. It's funny, I thought I had said goodbye to my mother, and yet, even a year out from my her death, I am still learning to say goodbye as I move through the natural cycle of the year with birthdays, holidays, and Spring's arrival. Maybe grief really is just learning to say goodbye. And perhaps wearing black for now helps remind me that I am still practicing, still learning how to say goodbye to all that was once good about my mother's life.
Maybe next year I might wear blue.