There's very little that I hate more than packing for funerals. Beyond the fact that it obviously happens at a very stressful time, I feel added pressure to pack correctly, perfectly. Should I throw in my bikini? I know that there will be a lot of down time, and that both my hotel and the house I'm visiting will have a pool, but it always feels wrong to bring something frivolous at a serious time. I pack a black suit for the funeral and a black dress for the rosary/wake/meditation, whatever the event the day before is called. But then, what do I pack for the rest of the time I'm there? It feels wrong to pack colorful, fun clothes that I enjoy wearing, but I know that no one cares what I'm wearing except for me.
And, as you know from reading the post below (and even more so - I have a very large, very Catholic, very close family), I have packed for funerals more often than I want to admit. I've had to do it from vacation, where you just take what you have with you and hope to buy or borrow what you need when you get there. I've done it from my childhood home when I still lived there, I've done it from school, I've done it, most recently, from my soon-to-be marital home just before my own wedding. I've done it from my childhood home when I was just visiting there, and I've ended up scavenging from both my sisters' and my mother's closets to find appropriate clothing. I remember one funeral where I made countless trips to Macy's for red shirts, red ties, black shirts, and black skirts for everyone who needed them. By the time I was finished, the sales staff knew me, and knew what I'd come in for. They'd approach me and ask, "What size are you looking for this time?" It took me almost a year to be able to wear the skirt that I bought for that funeral even to the office. And then, when people would tell me that they liked my skirt, they'd get a twenty minute sob fest from me about its history.
Tonight I'm doing it from my own perfect, happy apartment. It feels wrong to wear the dress that I just wore to a party for my cousin's wedding to a funeral, so I keep looking for something else.
Matt has had a tragedy in his family, and he and I are headed back to the West coast for the rest of the week. If you do this sort of thing, please keep him and his family in your thoughts.