The Parade of Plaid
Thank you to our guest post author, Kim Taylor. Kim emailed us sharing her experience of letting go of "stuff" after the loss of her husband, Ed. She shares a beautiful story of how that experience brought unexpected joy to her and her friends and family. Thank you Kim!
-The Take Them A Meal Team
The whole thing with the plaid shirts started organically a few days before the funeral when someone had the idea to wear a plaid shirt to the funeral. Someone called and asked if they could borrow one of Ed's shirts. When I asked why, they explained some people were wearing plaid shirts to the funeral because my husband, Ed, VERY often sported some kind of plaid, button-down shirt.
I thought about the request before they arrived. I had no use for those shirts other than memories of Ed wearing them. Some shirts he wore more than others, some he grew out of and could no longer wear. I couldn't think of a more fitting gesture than people attending the funeral wearing Ed's shirts.
When word spread I was giving away his shirts, many people started calling asking for one. I sorted through closets, his dresser, and a few unpacked boxes and pulled out all his plaid shirts.
There were about 50 shirts in different sizes! I folded them and stacked them according to size (being the pack rats we were, he kept all the different sizes, no matter how old!).
I decided to freeze the moment in time and snap a picture of everyone who picked out a shirt.
At the funeral not everyone had one of his plaid shirts on, but many people did, myself and my kids included. His parents and brother as well as an aunt and uncle wore one. It was like we were enveloped in a hug from Ed that day. "Ed" was everywhere.
I started posting the pictures on Facebook.
After the funeral some of our family and friends who couldn't attend requested one of the plaid shirts. For anyone who didn't live close enough to pick one up, I mailed them. Ed's plaid shirts traveled to Massachusetts, Arizona, New York, Michigan, and West Virginia. I asked every recipient to send me a picture wearing it.
I posted each picture in a Facebook album titled "Ed's Parade of Plaid Shirts". Later, I purchased a photo book with all the pictures and made one for Ed's parents and myself.
I gave away all his plaid shirts except for seven favorites I saved to make a quilt.
Those were special memories of all those people honoring Ed by wearing his shirts. It felt amazing to know so many people all over the country were remembering him.
The whole plaid shirt movement prompted me to begin sorting through his stuff soon after he passed. I didn't intend to start that early, and I did not mentally decide to start sorting, it just happened naturally. But I am glad I did.
I sent my cousin in Massachusetts, Darek, a black and white "OP" shirt. It was one Ed wore during the time he had lost a lot of weight. I have a picture of Darek wearing that shirt and I looked for a picture of Ed wearing it.
I found a picture of my son, and my uncle-Darek's dad-and Ed.
HONESTLY, I had NO idea that Ed had worn it when we visited Derek's dad more than a decade ago. And I cannot express the incredible hand of God feeling when I read Darek's comment on that picture from 2010, "Never saw this pic before! :-) Makes me smile!"
It makes me smile as well!
Two months later at Christmas, my sister gave me a box that brought tears to my eyes. Inside was an adorable teddy bear she made from Ed's shirt. That little guy sits on my desk. I look at it and smile remembering Ed wearing that shirt.
There is no way I could have known what would happen when I made the decision to sort through and begin giving away Ed's plaid shirts. The blessings for me, and hopefully for everyone who received one, was more than I could have imagined!
I would love to thank everyone who honored Ed by wearing his "colors" that day.
Thank you so much to Kim for sharing how she used her husband's plaid shirts to give everyone a chance to remember him in such a unique and special way.
Kim grew up in St. Charles, Michigan, and joined the Army after she graduated High School. She met her husband of 29 years while stationed at Ft. Riley, Kansas. They had two children who currently live nearby. Her husband passed away in 2017 after complications from double knee replacement surgery. Kim finished her Bachelor of Arts degree in Public Relations in 2020. She now lives in Champaign, Illinois, with her fiancee, Chris, and her rescue dog, Addy. She enjoys roller skating, dancing, writing and transforming loved one's clothing into memorial creations. You can read more about her experiences on her blog, Taylored Memorial Creations.
Read other recent blog posts:
- An Easy Comfort Care Package Idea for Under $40 Shipped
- 5 Tips for Taking a Meal to Adopted or Foster Families
- 4 Food Prep Ideas to Save You Time
- Take Them A Smoothie Kit
- The Easy (and FREE) Way to Organize Meals - Jessica's Story
- Only a Few Days Left to Order our Engraved Spoons
- Our Engraved Spoons are Now Available
- Soft Food Recipes for the Ill or Elderly
- Plan a Vacation Using Perfect Potluck
- A Macaroon Recipe Worth Sharing