Some say that items hold memories, hold spirits, and hold stories. I tend to believe that this is true. Your blue beat up, torn, ratty, stained hoodie ~ well it connects me to you. It holds memories of being a layer as we walked in the snow on cold blistery Chicago nights. It holds memories of going to Cubs games when the wind left a chill and the innings left a smile or maybe a tear. It was your safety “blanket” as you played video games trying to beat the next level. It was your shield as you were the master chef at our BBQ. It was the sign that spring had sprung as you ran outside in it with nothing on top. It was your cape as you danced and swept me up in your arms to music in the kitchen. Oh, that blue hoodie~ the tattered fabric of our lives.
I remember so clearly the first time you put that hoodie on. It was the holidays and you couldn’t get over how soft it was. We were in Florida and it was hot ~ you didn’t care, you wore it anyway. Like a child in his favorite costume I knew this blue sweatshirt was now a part of our daily lives. I also remember the last time you wore it. Late in the evening prior to the ambulance coming, you said you were cold. I wrapped you up in that tarred blue pile of love and zipped it up. I placed the hood over your saved head as I kissed it. I had no idea that would be the last time I put that on you. As they took you away, as you left our home for the last time, it was a flash of blue I saw. By the time I got to see you again you no longer had your blue hoodie but a blue gown on and blue tubes helping you breath and blue plastic putting medicine into your veins. Your hoodie was nowhere to be seen. And when you slipped away~ they handed me a plastic bag with your belongings. There at the top was this piece of you, this torn and silly hoodie.
I have washed it many times and placed it in the closet. It has hung there for the past few months. But the other day, I felt a little cold coming on, I knew immediately what I needed ~ I grabbed the hoodie; I grabbed a piece of you. And instantly I felt your arms around me. I breathed in the deep smell of fabric softener but lingering below it, I smelled YOU. A million memories rushed into my mind. A million hugs that you gave me in that hoodie. A million tears you dried by dragging your sleeve across my face. And I thought how cruel it is that never shall I feel that hug again. Never shall YOU wipe my tears. But then I realized that when I want a hug I can slip my arms in this tattered sweatshirt and feel your arms. When I need to dance I can zip up this ratty hoodie and you are there dancing with me. When I need a tear dried I can run the sleeve across my face and you will be wipping my sadness away. I love that blue hoodie; I love the man that lived in it! Miss you.
Around the world and back again~