My friend and former client ( that I midwife’d for for two of her babies) Silvia Frank’s funeral is Saturday, December 11, 2010 (details below) and the decision about what to wear to a funeral seems to come up more often as those around me have died. The American (Western?) tradition is to wear black, whereas in other cultures, white is the appropriate/accustomed color.
When Silvia was laboring with her second youngest of five daughters, I arrived wearing black leggings and a black dress kinda thing; the thought being, “Birth can be messy and you can’t see wet/blood/poop/anything on black, so good choice, Barb!” Half-way through her active labor (I can see her even now), inbetween contractions, she, in a silky red nightie (see picture below), looked up at me and said, “Don’t you ever wear black to a birth again.” Oh how I wished I’d had a change of clothes! Later she expounded by telling me how she thought of me in lots of colors, that she could never think of one time when I’d worn all black clothes. I’ve never worn all black to a birth again.
So, as I sadly prepare for her funeral, I keep smiling thinking, “I’ll be damned if I wear all black!” Reminding her oldest daughter of Silvia’s admonition, telling her I wasn’t going to be wearing black, she said she would not be wearing black either, that she would be wearing her mom’s favorite color - orange. I dug around my closet and found an orange top and will wear that color as well. (If you’re attending, perhaps you, too, might wear something orange in her memory!)
Choosing what to wear in mourning is absolutely a personal decision, best made by the mourner him/herself. For me, I don’t think I will ever be able to wear all black again… funerals or births… equally pious and blessed events.
For those wanting to donate funds to the five girls, ages 3 to 17, here is the information:
Viewing and Funeral, Saturday, December 11th, from 12 P.M. to 4 P.M. (I don't know the exact time of the service; her page has been removed from Facebook... very sad, indeed. When I find out the time, I will post it.)
McWane Family Funeral Home
350 North San Jacinto Street
Hemet, CA 92543-3110