Monday, January 31, 2011


A looong time ago in a decade far far away my husband, still my boyfriend at the time, presented me with a couple of lovely handkerchiefs with the first letter of my name hand embroidered into the corner in blues. They were soft and delicate and I had no idea at the time how much I would value them. They have wrapped sacred bits and bobs to be safely stowed in my purse until I came home and could put them away properly; they have seen blood sweat and tears. I have always been glad to have them. It took a funeral to demonstrate what power they really wield.

It is said the tradition of handkerchiefs derives from Marie Antoinette coming to France. She cried the entire way to her new home and tore bits of her lacey clothing to dry her tears. From that moment on it was her habit to carry little squares of lace with her to dry her tears where ever she went. The first thing that crosses my mind is AHHHHKKK! Lace back then was hand made and a precious commodity! The second thing that crosses my mind is that because of the association it may be a potent tool of not only self care, but self worth: you care enough to acknowledge that you need comfort too. ( A big thing for mom's who run round on everyone elses' behalf)
Don't get me wrong. . . I am a huge fan of toss away tissues, but at the funeral . . . well can you say unprepared???

Of course, I forgot to pack the kleenex for the funeral. I was busy running around making sure everyone else was ready in classic mom mode. I had a moment of panic that I had forgotten to do so until I spied that little linen with blue embroidery peeking up at me from the pocket of my purse. I was relieved at first and then comforted as no paper tissue had ever inspired. I still can't put my finger on the exact reasoning as to why I felt that way, I just sort of accept it now. I think the moment really hit me when I was able to pass a non sopping falling apart wad of paper to my husband. It was a soft piece of delicate linen that someone had taken the time to embroidered my Monogram upon. Someone who understood that life will always throw you a curve ball. No matter how proud or strong you are YOU WILL cry at some point and someone had thought enough to prepare me for that.

Now with my hanky safely returned from the wash, I have it tucked back into my purse with a whole new appreciation.  Kleenex may be convenient and cheap especially for those cold seasons, but when it comes time for self comfort, that hanky will be coming out, hopefully it won't have dried weeds in it.

I am now going to have to scurry around and see if I can find some traditional magic involving the handkerchief. . . I'll get back to you if I find anything cool! ;)

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