Tuesday, June 10, 2014

The Austin Shirt

Austin at his uncle's wedding
Austin was a very easy kid when he was younger when it came to wearing clothes. He pretty much wore what ever I pulled out for him. Then came the teen years where it was jeans, wind pants, and t-shirts. Trying to get him to wear anything "dressed up" was like pulling teeth. He liked his comfort clothes!

Four years ago I once again had to pick out his clothes. This time for his funeral. My husband and I looked through his clothes and immediately picked out jeans, sandals and agreed on the same shirt. At the time I didn't know why we picked the shirt we did. It was simply Austin. One thing I did need to do was find a long sleeve shirt to go under his "dress shirt" because his arms were scraped up. Who ever knew it would be so difficult to find a blank long sleeve shirt. But eventually it was found.

Over the months after Austin died, as I was looking through pictures, a realization came to me. Almost every picture of Austin "dressed up" he was wearing the shirt we had buried him in. That's why the shirt screamed "Austin".

Austin at a friend's wedding

Now, all of a sudden, I had wished we had kept the shirt with the other items of Austin's I am saving. I wished I had it as a memory. But there was nothing I could do about it now.

Austin at his electrical trade awards ceremony (with his grandpa)

Last year, as I was going through some of Austin's things, I stumbled upon a little "pocket" that had a little bit of thread, a button, and a very small safety pin. It looked familiar. Why did it look so familiar? Then is occurred to me. It had come with the "Austin shirt," the one we had buried him in. I did, after all, have a little bit of the shirt. That's all I needed. I put it in a small snack-sized ziplock bag and placed it in the inside pocket of my purse. Every time I reach into that pocket for my lipstick I feel the bag and smile - it's a bit of Austin.

The Austin shirt "pocket"

A couple weeks ago I was getting ready for work. The shirt I put on was a v-neck created by the two pieces of fabric crossing over each other. It was early in the morning and I must have been a little sleepy still because I could have sworn there was a pin holding the fabric together. But, on my way to work I realized there was no pin. I searched through the car, through my purse, and inside my wallet for a small safety pin, only to find none. Ugh! I knew I was going to be self conscious all day. Then a light went on. The little "pocket" of Austin's that I carry around in my purse had a small safety pin. Austin saved the day!

It's in the little things that I find Austin's memories and smile!