This is a story that not even my family knows…

Two years ago, when my mother passed away after suffering a massive stroke, I was understandably still in shock when faced with the task of selecting her burial outfit. I did it as quickly as possible, choosing the pieces that she most loved.

Fast forward 3 months to a Hampton Inn in southern Virginia. My husband and I were staying there overnight, in order to drive down and help my son move into his dorm at UNC-Chapel Hill the next day. The morning of the move-in, Roy was taking a shower in the hotel room while I was getting dressed. I glanced at the full-length mirror, in passing, and noticed that my pants’ legs seemed to be too short. I started to wonder how that could be, and absent-mindedly embarked on an interesting train of thought.

My mother and I both shopped at Chico’s and each of us had owned a black pair of “Traveler’s” pants. Mom, being even smaller than I am, always had to shorten even the shortest of items. Was it possible that I had somehow mixed up our clothes? If I had, that would mean that my pair was buried with my mother.

OK, certainly not a major deal, but that got me musing further. Now what if someone was buried with something *really* valuable that wasn’t supposed to have gone with them? Like, let’s say a family heirloom diamond? Were there ever cases where people could be exhumed for that reason?

I was standing still, lost in thought, when Roy came out of the bathroom. Without bothering to enlighten him as to how I got to be asking this question, I simply said, “Do you think that a family has the legal right to dig someone up if they think that there’s something valuable that was mistakenly put in the coffin?”

He just stared at me. “Now why on earth would you ask me that?”

“Well, my pants are short.”

Before I had a chance to explain, he did a double -take and shook his head.

“No, no, I’m not crazy. It’s just that my pants are short, and I think that maybe they’re my mother’s and that mine are with her, and that just got me thinking what would happen if something valuable was involved and what the laws are in that case.”

He continued to stare at me. But of course Roy knows me well, and understands that I occasionally pop out with the unexpected. Or more than occasionally.

As for the switched pants, it gives me comfort to believe that that’s what happened and that even if I’m left with the ones that are too short, something of mine is with Mom for eternity. ?

3 Responses to "The Burial of the Black Pants"

  1. Jamie

    August 3, 2007

    I love the way you think. I’m sure Roy and Justin could swap funny stories about our oddities! Um, maybe we should keep them apart.

    What strikes me about the story is all that you and your mom shared, even your pants. Thanks for sharing here.

  2. Susan

    June 8, 2008

    OK, Sunny, I’m a little late in reading this, but I find this so quintessentially YOU! (And I, too, shop at Chicos and have a pair of black Travelers pants.

  3. sunny

    June 8, 2008

    Susan — then you really understand! 🙂

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