Whenever I talk to my mother now about sewing, she says the same thing: “I used to sew, but I don’t anymore. It’s easier to buy.” Every once in awhile she’ll admire something I’ve made, or even offer a bit of advice, but it always ends in the same refrain.
She has dementia, at 76. She’s too young, but isn’t everyone? I made my peace with my mother’s condition about a year ago and now I try to call and talk to her and treat her with as much respect and dignity as I can.
But this weekend, when she was returning home from a trip out west with my dad, there was a new development. During an extended layover at the Atlanta airport, she claimed that the man traveling with her (my dad) was not her husband and she didn’t know him – her husband and life-mate of over fifty years. For those of you who have been here, you know what a bitter moment this is. From what I understand, the Delta personnel, both on the ground and their flight crews, were a god-send to my dad, helping him navigate this new challenge.
My mom and I shared sewing – often making outfits together. She made my high school gowns and many of my sister’s as well. I wore one of my sister’s gowns to the 1993 Inaugural Ball. She always did the difficult work – I mostly assisted. But I think sewing was more of a necessity for her, as much as she wanted it to be more. And I think that’s why she eventually gave it up.
I sifted through old photos and here are some of the outfits she made in no particular order. I wish I had more photos, and probably do somewhere. Some of the patterns are known, but most I do not know. My apologies for the poor quality – the photos haven’t been stored well and were meant to capture moments more than anything else.
My mom used to sew.