A couple weekends ago -- only about halfway into the prescribed period -- I painted my toenails red, a color I haven't used since I-don't-remember-when.
Why did I commit such a faux pas?!
For one thing, those "rules" only loosely apply to me because I wasn't born in the home country, and we aren't there now.
But the real reason -- the one that makes most sense to me -- is because rather than miss and mourn my mom, which I do all the time anyway without even thinking of it, I wanted to intentionally celebrate and be like her (which Ikind of am anyway thanks to genetics).
When I still lived with my parents, my Mom and I had a weekly Sunday night ritual: I'd give her a manicure and/or pedicure; she always had French manicured fingernails and red toenails. We'd chat a little about our day or week, and then mostly read or write -- or in my mom's case, household bookkeeping and such -- in our own little words, but right next to each other.
Last weekend, my dad and I went to the cemetery to visit Mom's grave. I hadn't been there since my birthday. And it felt especially right to be there with my red toenails. I think she would have been glad about them.
Someone I know would call this, "Saying 'yes' to life." I think that's why it felt so good. And I think my mom would have agreed.