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In her shoes

To know mummy is to know that a few years back, she had an impressive shoe collection of mostly high heels and pumps. My sister and I were talking recently about how my stepfather used to take mummy often to Chernyn’s Shoe Store in Chicago to buy her shoes.  The day before I left Chicago last month, I halfheartedly went through mummy’s closet. I really didn’t feel like looking. It felt oddly intrusive.  My sisters told me to see if there was anything I wanted, and if so, to take it because they would eventually be sending mummy’s things to her sisters and other family in New York.

I didn’t see much. I was curious about what happened to the shoe collection because what I saw was mostly modest, orthopedic type flats. Mummy was 78 years old, so I know she stopped wearing heels a while ago. There were so many nice clothes  hanging in her closet, some with the tags still on. I saw a few items I gave her when she was in Austin visiting in September 2016 and when she returned in November 2016 for my breast cancer surgeries. The only piece of clothing I decided to take was a lounge dress I bought for her while in Jamaica last year. After mulling over a unique pair of lilac shoes, I decided to take them too.

As of Tuesday, August 8th, it has been one month since she passed away. It still feels surreal…more like surreal-ality as I indicated in my previous post. I had a rough week, but Tuesday was particularly difficult. I discussed with my husband the night before that the next day would be one month, but I forgot about it the next morning. However, my subconscious didn’t forget. I was sad at work and really struggled emotionally. My tolerance and patience were very low that day.  I made my husband worry because I started crying when he asked me how my day was going. I attributed it to something going on at work. It wasn’t until I spoke to my oldest sister that evening that I realized what it was because she was struggling too.

I had worn mummy’s shoes for the first time on the one month anniversary of her death. I didn’t plan it, but it was comforting knowing that she was so close. I wondered how I would react if someone complimented me on my shoes and I would tell them they were mummy’s.  Had someone said something, I might have remembered what day it was, but no one said anything about my shoes and it was like any other day.

Mummy and I didn’t see eye to eye during my teenage and early adult years…in fact, for most of my life. We had very different upbringings. I’m not sure that I could ever survive what she’s been through or walk in her shoes. I was literally in her shoes for the first time on Tuesday, August 8th, and you know what, the shoes felt comfortable. They were worn in just right. They were stretched slightly enough to be firm and provide support, yet allow me to slip them off when needed (as I tend to do in my office). The shoes fit me perfectly. They are pretty, unique and interesting just like mummy and myself. I love them.

By the way, my sister told me about 2 weeks after I left Chicago that a bunch of shoes were under mummy’s bed. So that’s where she kept her collection. It never occurred to me to look under the bed. Oh well…

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