Sunday, July 01, 2012

A Year And A Day

Today it has been a year and a day since I became a widow. I have now passed all the first anniversaries-first birthday, first holidays, first wedding anniversary, and first year. Each one has been bitter and sweet, filled with memories and with emptiness.
In Victorian times, the official period of mourning lasted between two and three years. First mourning was for a year and a day. During that time a proper widow was expected to only see close friends and family and have very limited social contacts. Clothing was limited to black, usually crepe and non shiny fabrics. Everything was expected to be very plain, with no shine. When a widow did go out, she often wore a veiled bonnet, and could keep her face covered, so people wouldn't see her grief. The dyes used to treat the veiling was very irritating, so probably caused even more tears, and headaches, and feelings of faintness. I have read that cuffs on sleeves were often very wide and called "weepers', serving extra duty as handkerchiefs for weepy eyes.
Second mourning lasted for nine months. Still black, but a little more decoration was involved. A little bit of trim, a little bit of shine was considered to be proper. More jewelry was allowed, but mourning pieces were expected to be worn. A widow could be more active and no longer wore the veil.
And finally half mourning, when colors were allowed, particularly lavenders and greys.
I am ready for a little bit of shine. But, in my heart, this victorian gypsy will probably always be in First Mourning. I love you, Jim. Forever.