Shelby has now, quite literally, walked in her mother’s shoes. It’s odd to me that, at the age of 12, she actually fits in them, but then again, she isn’t stricken with the growth-impeding disease the Megan had.
After buying her new hiking shoes and boots for years, we decided to have her try on Megan’s last pair. They fit her almost perfectly. Like that first time Shelby came down the stairs wearing her mom’s t-shirt, I was taken aback, and Shelby thought nothing of it.
Credit goes to Megan for that trait. She was very realistic and unemotional about her own death. She accepted it and moved on to better things. It was rare for her to be scared or have deep thoughts about it, unlike me, who constantly dreaded it. Shelby, like her mother, never worries over Megan’s death. I have yet to see her show any sadness, since the funeral mass. It’s honestly the best Megan could have hoped for.
Megan knew she was going to die, eventually. We all do, I guess, but Megan knew “eventually” would be better translated to “soon”. If she had any fear over it, it was that it would irreparably traumatize her daughter. That Shelby would cease to be the outgoing, healthy, smart and curious little girl she had always been, and become cynical, depressed, or introverted.
Donning those shoes, Shelby demonstrated that she, really, is no worse for wear. She loves her mother, and certainly misses her, but she also unconsciously calls a spade a spade and remembers all of the good, rather than the fact that Megan is gone. She still talks about her all of the time, but it is more of a “remember when mom did this?” than “I wish mom was still here”.
She truthfully does consider Sarah her “mom” in every way except the title itself. I think we’re all happy with that. The only person that should have to walk in Megan’s particular shoes is Shelby, and even then, only if she chooses to.
Still though, as Shelby physically grows up, she is fitting into some of Megan’s old clothes that I, thankfully, chose not to dispose of. It will always be odd to see her those hand-me-downs, because it isn’t as if Megan wore them last week and they’re just “sharing” clothes. They’re Shelby’s now, and eventually, the time may come where they don’t fit Shelby anymore because she’s outgrown them. Megan was very “slight of build”, to say the least. Shelby is a preteen, and on the smaller side at that, so who knows?
Ultimately, the decision to wear, donate, or simply keep Megan’s clothes will always reside with Shelby. If she were to decide to just throw away those old items, I may be a bit miffed at first, but at the same time, clothing is a material good, and if they mean little to Shelby in the grand scheme of things, who am I to tell her she needs to hold onto them?
Right now, I’m simply enjoying the fact that they fit her, and that she actively enjoys wearing Megan’s clothes because they unwittingly bring her closer to her mother.