I hadn't had my hair "done" since June 20.
All I could hear when I looked in the mirror was my Mom's favorite expression for a less-than-fabulous apppearance: "I look like I'm going to haunt houses." I did, too.
Every day, I knew less and less what to do with "the mop," so I'd throw it up into some sort of "who cares" pony tail. Every day, staring back at me was HER. Every day, she looked a little bit more disheveled . . . not so that anybody would really notice . . . just a little something off . . . never any ooph or effort.
If you looked really closely, you could see the grief in the eyes (and you didn't have to look too hard since no effort was exerted applying makeup either).
The thing is, after all those months, it doesn't even matter so much what you saw when you looked at me; it's what I saw day after day reflected back at me in that mirror.
Right after my Mom died, a day or two before the first funeral mass in Southbury, my friend, Grace, asked me if I'd had a manicure: "it'll make you feel better and you can't go to your Mother's funeral looking like hell - it's disrespectful." I did as I was told. I ended up getting the whole "schmear" . . . nails, toes, legs, shoulder massage. During the process, I'd occasionally feel a little inappropriately narcissistic getting "dolled up" under the circumstances. By the time I left, I felt pampered, taken care of and human.
Since then, I've not tended to grooming so much, thinking I didn't need to impress anyone. It's not for anyone else at all, really. It's about what it says to me about me. Even when I do my own manicure at home, I end up feeling taken care of, clean, orderly, "normal".
Last week, I got my hair cut and got rid of the mousy color. I felt fabulous. I feel human, not quite so much like the walking dead myself. I could definitely hear Mom saying, "Oh, Connie, you look so much better. Don't you feel better?!"
Yes, I'm still grieving over my Mother's death, but I'm not making that pain worse by being mean and ignoring myself.
I just might add a little mascara to that face in the mirror this morning . . . maybe even get a new outfit!