Since you’ve been gone, I’ve really hated shopping.
It was our thing, you know what I mean? As much as I wasn’t big into materialistic things, I loved how your face just brightened up whenever you went into a clothing store, or perused some aisles or shelves for something new that caught your eye.
You always were so into shopping for me instead of yourself. I wanted YOU to enjoy the experience and buy something beautiful for yourself to wear and feel good in. Something that would make you feel radiant and elegant and keep that smile on your face that I loved so much. But nope, you always turned it around and made it about me. So selfless. I don’t know how you did it for so long. But I wanted to say that I appreciated it. Really, I look back now and realize that those moments in Capilano Mall, or even way back during the Eaton’s Days- those were OUR moments. I just didn’t know it at the time. Shopping was our thing, because it was your thing. I should have savored it more. Forgive me for moping so much lately when I walk into a shop, no matter how nice the clothes or how big the sale.. It just doesn’t feel the same without you.
Remember how you would never try any of the outfits on but you would still buy them? And I would get upset about it? Because on some of those occasions, you would get home and the outfit didn’t fit and I’d be the one who would have to go back and return it. Gosh, I would do anything to have that happen again. I wouldn’t care how many times I would need to return something for you. If I had the chance to shop again with you, I wouldn’t complain anymore about your not trying things on. I wouldn’t even complain about you telling me to buy things for myself that often didn’t look quite right on me or didn’t fit or were missing a button or had too many crazy patterns on them or were just totally impractical. I used to get frustrated with that.
But now, I realize how you just wanted me to never be ‘wanting’ of anything. You wanted me to always have the best and to never worry about money or about having too much. For you, nothing was enough for me. You made me feel like I deserved the world, and for that Mom, I will always be grateful. Only a mother can make someone feel like that. Plus, I never got a chance to tell you that you had great taste! Really, you did. You always found me clothes that I didn’t even realize I wanted. But I loved them. And I always got compliments on the things you bought me. I loved saying, “My mother chose it for me.” Your choices were the best and were filled with so much love. I could feel it coming through the fabric of whatever you got for me.
I haven’t been shopping much over the past couple of years. And most of the time, when I do, I have such sadness in my heart during the experience. I do try to imagine you saying “It looks beautiful, Miti. Buy it. Buy it.” And then a little smile, sometimes, even a laugh, I have to admit, will appear on my face for a little moment because I remember your smile. But the heaviness of not being able to see that smile right in front of me again, or hear your voice, in reality, just hurts too much. Plus, I always think what is the point of this? I mean, clothes and materialistic things never meant much to me. And they certainly mean even less to me now. My mother is gone. These little ‘things’ don’t matter. They are nothing. They are only things. And it all seems so trivial- shopping and trying clothes on and … I don’t know.
But I found a place the other day that I think has turned my thinking around a little. It hasn’t turned me into a shopaholic. Don’t worry! But it brought me some peace and a little more enjoyment and understanding and meaning to this whole shopping thing we shared. Funny enough, the shop is called Angels in Canada, and it actually does feel quite Heaven sent, for a few reasons.
See, I never told you but when I was in Italy, I think it was, I first got introduced to my favorite store and clothing and accessory brand- Desigual . I had never seen anything like it. To me, it wasn’t just a store, and they weren’t just clothes. The whole experience – going into the store, seeing the textures and colours and designs- felt like walking into an art gallery or a work of art in itself. So unique! And actually, that’s what Desigual means in Spanish- unequal- not the same. Nothing like it, is how I’d like to interpret it. And it’s also how I think of you. Nothing could ever compare to you.
I wish I could have shown you the richness, and movement and energy in the store and its clothes and colours. I can’t explain it exactly, but it makes me feel alive. Moves me in some deeper way and reminds me of the beauty of creativity and art, of expression and its connection to emotion. But as far as I knew, Desigual was only a European thing. I mean, it is originally from Barcelona. So really, it’s a Spanish thing. But I mean usually the stores in Europe were the ones that carried it, and I thought it didn’t exist in Canada, especially not in Vancouver.
But there I was, just the other day, walking in Gastown and I just decided to step into a store for some reason. And low and behold, a huge sign in front of me on their back wall said DESIGUAL! Wow! I was shocked. Then I realized that a friend of mine, after he noticed the Desigual name on my purse, had told me that he thought he saw Desigual merchandise in Gastown. I thought maybe he was mistaken. I bought a handbag from a Desigual store in Prague awhile back. It’s one of my favorite things. And you know me, I rarely make things favorite. I was only able to buy the bag because there was a huge sale on accessories in that store in Prague when I was there. I remember feeling pretty good about actually owning one Desigual item. But my friend was right. A store right in our city carried a lot of Desigual clothes and other items.
I wasn’t planning to spend much time in there. It was cold. I was bundled up. I wasn’t in the mood to try anything on (haha! I am turning into you! 🙂 I just thought I would soak in the pleasant surprise of finding the store and exploring what kinds of dresses and purses and jeans and jackets they had. Even if I did try something on and like it, I would never be able to afford it, or I’d feel guilty for spending so much on clothes. So just a little time in the store seemed like the best choice that day.
It seems the universe had a different choice for me- one I didn’t even know was a possibility. The owner of the store and I got to talking, and one conversation about what really was the purpose of shopping, lead to another about there never being anything that could compare to a mother’s love. And then she shared with me some stories and thoughts about her mother passing away, and I told her about you. And eventually, I learned that the owner and I had a lot of ideas and opinions and beliefs in common. She just understood me and what I was going through. She also told me that her mother helped her in that store for many years. And her mother lived until she was in her early 90’s.
I can’t explain it exactly, Mom, but I felt her mother’s love in that store. Like she was still there somehow with her.And maybe you were there with me too? Because I felt like shopping and clothes were not just materialistic things to this mother daughter pair. They held memories in the fabrics- smells, and smiles, and tears and fears. And they reminded me that in some ways, that’s what it was like for us. I started wondering if you by chance, had met the owner’s mom up there. I mean, does that even really happen? I have met a lot of people since you passed away, BECAUSE of my grief, and my connection to them and their grief over the loss of their loved one.
I sometimes find myself wondering if my meeting them has anything to do with you meeting their loved one, up in Heaven somehow. I know it’s such a dreamy thought. But what if the connections that I make down here actually come from the connections you have made up there? Two mothers scheming to bring their daughters together in a shop, so that they can comfort and listen and bring a little peace to each other. I know. It’s silly. But… I like to believe in silly sometimes. It gets me through a little more each day.
So I ended up spending what felt like a couple of hours in there. Maybe it wasn’t that long. But I know I lost track of time.
And guess what, mom? I bought two beautiful shawls – I think they were by Smash, not Desigual. But a similar style and flair. I think you would have absolutely loved them. They would have looked great on you. And I bought a black skirt with some red and wine coloured embroidery in it. So unique. One of a kind. Desigual. And I could hear or imagine you saying buy more, buy more. I DID try on A LOT of skirts. And I could have tried on more. But I still have my limits. Plus, the prices were pretty expensive. But you know what? Besides them being on sale already, I ended up getting even more of a discount on them- perhaps because of the connection the owner and I had. Or perhaps you pulled a few strings up there with her mother? 😉 I don’t know. But she gave me a really good deal.
Whatever it was, I am not totally against shopping anymore, at least not at that store.
Desigual. One of a kind. Like my mother- And Angels in Canada in Gastown- brought me a little peace and joy and wonder. Hope. I’d like to pretend there was some divine planning involved in that one.