From a “Tommy” girl to a “Cato” girl?

By Traci Jahnke

I have no idea if this will resonate with anyone, but doing laundry one day, I was compelled to write it down. In fact, it may not make sense to anyone and that’s okay. I was hanging up clothes in my closet and started to cry.

My mom and I have done our fair amount of shopping together over the years. She LOVED shopping at Macy’s and somewhere along the way, I fell in love with the Tommy Hilfiger line of clothing. Well, one of my Mom’s FAVORITE things to do was give gifts; but not just any old gift. Gifts that brought joy and love to the recipient. Mom LOVED giving. So, most Christmas’, I received a Tommy Hilfiger purse. My birthday gifts were always Tommy clothes from Macy’s.

But lest you think Mom and I are elite snobs, we very rarely paid full price for ANY OF IT. Half of the fun was scouring the clearance racks, checking the price scanners, and deliberating which Macy’s coupons would get the most bang for the buck. And don’t forget that Mom double and triple checked that receipt to be sure we were charged correctly.  🙂

Almost every time I drove Mom to chemotherapy treatments, we stopped at Macy’s on the way home, just to check for a deal. Nothing better to brighten our day, than to find a cute blouse or a pair of jeans for $12!

Here I am, living without Mom for a year and 10 months now. My closet is full of Tommy clothes, so as soon as I get up and walk into my closet, my memories of her are right there.

Since she has been gone, Jeff has gone to Macy’s with me to look for Tommy bargains and even the outlet mall near his parents’ house. We have bought a few items. My sister has shopped with me. My best friend has shopped with me. BUYING TOMMY CLOTHES IS JUST NOT THE SAME ANYMORE. It doesn’t bring the joy it used to.

So, the store I have been shopping at more recently is Cato. I still have the thrill of looking for clearance items, but these are new memories without Mom. So back to crying in the closet: my Cato clothes are hanging next to my Tommy Hilfiger clothes. Here is a crazy thought:  I wonder if Mom is disappointed in me. She had actually mentioned in her last few years: who would help continue the tradition of my Tommy wardrobe?

On some level, you probably think this is silly. It’s just clothes, right?

But on a deeper level, life is moving on without Mom, and I am struggling with who I am without her. Am I a Tommy girl or a Cato girl? Or a mixed breed of both? I look at my closet and there they are, side by side, representing life with Mom and life without Mom.

Who would have thought that EVEN CLOTHING, makes me grieve you, Mom?


One thought on “From a “Tommy” girl to a “Cato” girl?”

  1. The most mundane things trigger our memories. Having lost my mother several years ago, I fully understand trying to find your way without her. I have found that the memories become sweeter and the pain lessens over time. Every now and then, something triggers the pain and the tears fall again. My joy is knowing that I will be with her again.


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