This post is part of an 8 minute memoir project that I am doing. Details found here.
The sweater in this picture is over 10 years old. It is too small, it has lost it’s shape, and it forever smells like the inside of my cedar chest. This sweater has never been worn, and yet I’ve had it for longer than any other article of clothing in my closet. Every single year in September, as I transition my wardrobe from summer to fall, I come across this sweater and it brings me to tears.
This sweater was a Christmas gift from my beloved Grandma. She took the time to pick it out, wrap it, and affix gift tag note to the box – but she never got to watch me open it. She passed away shortly before Christmas, as I was studying for my freshman year finals. She probably bought that sweater for me, knowing that I was going to school in the mountains and could always use some extra warmth.
Truth be told, I probably would have never worn this sweater had she been alive when she gave it to me. I would have mumbled an insincere thank you, thought about how not my style it was, and I would have promptly stashed it in my bottom drawer with other dusty things that are meant to be forgotten. It probably would have stayed in that drawer for years, tags still on, until I finally placed it in a trash bag full of other clothing discards en route to Goodwill.
Because she died before I opened that Christmas present, it will forever be remembered as the last gift that she bought for me. And so, every year, I fold the sweater and place it in a drawer with all of my other sweaters. And every year, as I pack away my winter clothes in transition for spring, I look at the sweater and fondly remember the woman who gifted it to me.