Monday, December 6, 2010

Shopping Therapy

by Kate Collins

“Life goes on” were words that, at first, cut through my heart. How could my life possibly go on when it no longer existed? My life as I knew it, anyway. For a few weeks after my husband’s passing, I could barely force myself to buy groceries. Shoes? Clothing? Bah humbug. What was the point? Who would appreciate them? The sales clerk?

But then here comes the holidays, with our children expecting to exchange gifts. Home for the weekend, they decided that we should do a family shopping day. We would stop at Starbucks for coffee, then hit the stores, looking for presents for each other.

Sigh.

I couldn’t very well play Mrs. Grinch. It wasn’t fair to them. They’re healing, too, after all. And at least I’d have company for the afternoon.

So we piled into my car and off we went. The department store was jammed, so the kids split up, each heading in a different direction. I followed the youngest to the junior department to search for THE JEANS. (Cough) As if there was such a creature. Got her situated in a dressing room, then reconnoitered with the other two.

Heading back to the dressing room to check on progress there, I spotted a very snappy jacket. For me. I paused. Hmm. It would be a nice buy for my next writer’s conference. Ultimately, however, I continued on.

At the end of the aisle, I did an about face and went back to take another look at the jacket. A little voice in my head said, This is what my Greek would have picked out for me. (He was my personal shopper.) I tried it on, and it did look smart. But I put it back on the rack, the thought of buying something new without my husband too painful.

I found my daughter ecstatic about finding two pairs of jeans. My stepdaughter was happily browsing the make-up section. My son was doing laps around the store, having tired of the whole scene.

So I took another look at the jacket and decided, okay, maybe it would be nice to have something new. I could almost feel my husband urging me to get it. The kids loved it, too. Sold.

I had a few moments of buyer’s remorse when I got home. But then I realized that purchasing that jacket was as much about having something new as it was to remind me that life does indeed go on, even though someone mourning a deep loss often feels like it never will.

Tiny slivers of hope come in minuscule increments, and sometimes they leave behind feelings of guilt. But those, too, will diminish, I imagine. And next April, if you attend Malice Domestic Mystery Writers convention, you’ll get to see my new jacket.

Do you think shopping is therapeutic? Or do you really hate it? Are you a cyber-shopper or a hands-on shopper?

19 comments:

Cindi said...

I glad you bought it for yourself, I'm a firm believer that little voice you hear is always someone who you've loved dearly pushy you, now not only do you have a nice coat you have something your husband helped you pick out after his passing, and to answer your orginal question, I hate shopping but I suffer thru for my girls, lol

Cindi said...

opps, pushing you, not pushy you

Linda McDonald said...

I'm happy you bought the jacket. Your Greek kept pushing you back to look at it until you made the decision to get it.
As for shopping, I sometimes like it. I find I'm doing more and more cyber shopping, but never for clothes. With clothes I have to try them on, feel the fabric, etc.

Andrea C. said...

Glad to hear your family is keeping you busy (Thanksgiving, shopping day, etc) and being supportive!
I dislike shopping. I never used to but as I have gotten older (and perhaps a bit wider. haha) it is not as fun; howver, I could cyber shop all day - from the comfort of my couch -perhaps the reason for the wider comment :)

Sheila Connolly said...

Wear the jacket happily, Kate.

My sister is the shopper in the family--you know, the one who has all her Christmas gifts wrapped in September? Me, not so much. But I do prefer to feel what I'm buying. Yeah, I'm the crazy lady who goes through department stores patting all the sweaters.

caryn said...

Very happy for you that you found the jacket. Won't be a Malice, but maybe Bcon mnext fall?
I don't like to shop, but I do find wandering aimlessly around a mall a bit therapeutic at times. It's a way to be w/ people w/o having to interact while working through whatever the current problem is.

dollycas aka Lori said...

I haven't lost a spouse but my mom died 2 years ago and last Christmas I didn't even let the family put up a tree and stayed home from all family get-togethers. I just couldn't face the holiday, her birthday is also December 24, without her. We talked or saw each other every day and I was lost. I am handling things much better this year, but as you know the holidays are the toughest.

I am so glad you bought that coat, your Greek was right there with you whispering in your ear or in your heart letting you know it was alright.

I still pick up the phone some days to call my mom, but then realize she right here with me, watching over me with my dad and all the other special people who have gone on before us. I truly believe in angels, especially at this time of year.

As far as shopping, I do most of mine online and until the economy gets a little better unfortunately it is a little more stressful than therapeutic. :)

Kimber Leszczuk. said...

I love shopping when I can find really good deals on things.

Anonymous said...

Kate, I lost my Mother years ago and since she always loved Alfred Dunner clothing, every time I would see the display in the stores, I would feel like crying because I missed her so much.

A couple of weeks ago, I found a really cute Alfred Dunner outfit for myself and knew that Mother would have loved it, also. I'm wearing it today. It makes me feel very close to her. I'm wondering do we always turn into our Mothers? If so, I'm glad! She was a wonderful person who everyone loved!!!

I'm looking forward to Malice 2011 and seeing you in your new jacket!!!

Shirley in Baltimore

Leann Sweeney said...

I am so glad you bought that jacket. It was telling you something important. And I get to see it at Malice!

As for shopping? I do everything I can online. Just easier.

Heather said...

I generally hate shopping--unless, of course, a book or craft store is involved. Then I could get lost (happily) for hours, or at least until the money runs out. The noise of the mall especially stresses me, but for shoes and clothing, I prefer to try it on before I buy, since one designer's 10 is another's 14, and no two pair of shoes fits the same way. Which, of course, means going to the mall. *whimper*

Miki Willa said...

I love shopping for books, art supplies and fabric. Clothing, I am not thrilled about, but shoes I really hate to shop for. I am the only one in my family with only three pairs of shoes at a time. However, I have more books, paints, and fat quarters than all of them put together.

signlady217 said...

I love "shopping"! Of course, a lot of my shopping is actually just looking! I don't necessarily have to buy anything to have a good time. I get ideas for birthday and Christmas gifts, and can wander around places like Hobby Lobby for hours!

The one thing I do hate shopping for is underclothes! That's my "Bah, Humbug!" moment, any time of year!

Linda Leszczuk said...

I'm not much of a shopper but sometimes I fall over something that catches me in some way and if I buy it, it makes me happy. Even more so if it makes me think of someone I love. This jacket will be the one he picked out for you, even if you couldn't see him there.

Debra said...

I can shop for yarn and knitting needles,no problem. I just bought the Ferrari of needles-Signature Arts doublepoints. Trying on clothes in the store? Yuck. My system is to find something that fits,usually from Llbean or Landsend and then buy four or five of them. Jackie O did that.
Just getting out of the house and going to the mall, I know that must have been so hard. And you bought a pretty jacket too.

Kate Collins said...

Lori and all of you who've lost a parent(s) spouse, or loved one, you know how hard the holidays are. My mom passed on 5 years ago and when I get good news, she's the second person I want to phone. (And my mom loved Alfred Dunner, too. Those racks always bring a tear to my eye). Everyone loses someone very close at least once in life. It's a bond we all share sooner or later, I've come to realize. And it means a lot that you have all been so supportive. I hope I can return the favors. Thanks to all of you for your comments.

Maggie Sefton said...

Kate---I'm SO glad you bought that jacket. Buying it was a powerful step affirming the future. I can't wait to see it at Malice Domestic in April. :)

Dru said...

Kate, I'm so glad you bought that jacket and I can't wait to see you strut your new jacket at Malice.

Kathy McIntosh said...

Shopping used to be therapy but now it's generally hard work. But when something speaks to you like the jacket, you need to trust the voice.
Enjoy wearing it at Malice.