After I posted last week’s story about my Dad’s jacket and horse-racing suit, I realized I’d handled another, similar situation completely differently. In fact, I decided immediately what I would do, instead of packing the things and lingering over the quandary. It had to do with my friend and colleague, Jodi Taylor.
When Jodi died suddenly in August, she was back on her weekend shift at CJBK after filling in on mornings with us while Loreena Dickson was away. I wrote earlier about our conversation regarding becoming old ladies. But we had another moment on the last day I saw her. Jodi popped into my office and pinched her shirt at both shoulders so she could shake it. “Joe Fresh”, she said. “78 cents!” I was obviously floored. I get great deals at Joe Fresh all the time but never less than a buck. We laughed and she beamed with pride at her bargain-hunting skills.
When she died, I immediately set out to make sachets from that shirt. It was almost a mission. I gently asked her husband whether I could have the top and he said sure, but when it came right down to it, he wasn’t interested and I completely get that. Honouring his grief, his way is what mattered and I backed off. I was in limbo until someone said, why don’t you go to Joe Fresh and see if there’s another one? DUH. Of course! And there was just one, but one was all I needed.
Making these little sachets felt like a compulsion. I had decided that it was how I would channel my grief, and had to carry it through. I did them no-sew, with hemming tape and an iron. They didn’t turn out uniform, or perfect or even pretty. But they scratched the itch.
I gave one to each of the morning team members and a few other people I knew were close to Jodi. They weren’t meant for public consumption but they were important to me. Every time I open a drawer in my dresser and see that little green square, I think of her.
So, why didn’t I want to do that with my Dad’s stuff? Possibly because he had a strong connection to those things but I didn’t. We didn’t share that connection. He loved horses – training, grooming, mucking out stalls and racing them – but horses have always intimidated me. And the company coat? Well, I left the family business as soon as I could. I didn’t enjoy the mix of family dynamic and boss/employee relationship and how they both continued in an endless inescapable loop. Galaxy was an important part of my life but not one I feel the need to celebrate.
So, after gratefully receiving dozens of ideas about the riding suit and jacket, here’s what happened. My Mom wisely pointed out that I now live in a rural area where there are more horses and horse people. I donated the suit to Goodwill in hopes that someone would be able to use it. And after reading the post, Derek admitted he would love to wear the Galaxy jacket. It’s so old now, it’s retro, but it’s in excellent shape, virtually unworn. And it fits him perfectly.
It took writing about Dad to remind me about how I responded when Jodi died. My friend Jill nailed it when it came to my recent life/work changes. “This has a lot to do with Jodi, doesn’t it?” Yes, it does. Jodi compelled me to do more than just make little sachets. The shocking and early end to her life helped prompt me to pursue a way of life that’s in my heart, not one that looks good on paper or in other peoples’ opinions.