weeding out the widows

In Victorian and Regency times the customs surrounding mourning dress were rigid and onerous especially amongst the aristocracy and middle classes. Widows were isolated in rooms hung with black cloth and their bed chambers were entirely covered in it. They were required to sleep and receive visits of condolence in special black beds of mourning.

No one wearing a heavy crape veil should go to a gay reception, a wedding, or a theatre. For the first six months the dress should be of crape cloth, or Henrietta cloth covered entirely with crape, collar and cuffs of white crape, a crape bonnet with a long crape veil, and a widow’s cap of white crape if preferred.

image found here

A deep veil is worn at the back of the bonnet, but not over the head or face like the widow’s veil, which covers the entire person when down. This fashion is very much objected to by doctors, who think many diseases of the eye come by this means, and advise for common use thin nuns’ veiling instead of crape, which sheds its pernicious dye producing catarrhal disease as well as blindness and cataract of the eye. It is a thousand pities that fashion dictates the crape veil, but so it is.

The period of widow isolation varied from one society to another. Amongst the Maoris of New Zealand a widow could not remarry until her husband’s body had decomposed. While this process was taking place she wore two special feather cloaks called “cloaks of tears”.  The husband’s bones would finally be exhumed, wrapped in these cloaks and reburied. The widow was then free to remarry.

image found here

Mourning accoutrements were  very popular until recent years, and included such items as lachrymatory tear bottles.

During Victorian funerals, men and women alike would shed tears for the deceased. A more upscale ceremony would distribute lachrymatory for the guests to capture their tears and aid in their mourning. A most common story of Victorian times is that mourners would shed their tears into a lachrymatory that used a special stopper. When the tears had finally evaporated, the mourning period would be complete.

Mourning jewellery came in many beautiful designs. Jet and pearls were popular and often a lock of hair belonging to the deceased would be displayed in a locket or ring. There are many more examples like these below over at artofmourning

Or you could get your husbands ashes packed into your breast implants – that way he’s with you for all time…….

Sheyla Hershey’s breasts contain over a gallon of silicone but no ashes

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36 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. And now I want crepes… and boobies, but thats nothing different.

    • hope all your wishes come true Alex 😉

  2. I quite like the idea of my ashes being sent skyward in an exploding firework ……. but not just yet ……

  3. Mourning rituals are fascinating – feather capes sound so stylish.

  4. I like black.

    • It goes well with your yellow neck 😉

  5. Lachrymose is a favourite word of mine. A bottle devoted to it is even better.

  6. Sheyla is not a real person anymore, she’s more of a life support system for her boobs.

  7. Sheyla reminds me of breaking the sound barrier…a sort of double boom.

  8. I think that the Maori woman has tried to play the donkey!

  9. Sheyla actually had her ass moved up front. She has two lovely, perky small breasts where her buttocks used to be…

  10. Will you tell Sheyla to ask her boobs to quit looking me in the eyes. It is getting uncomfortable.

  11. Do you suppose similar restrictions were placed on widowers? Probably not. After all, we wrote the rules.

  12. Why do so many cultures keep thinking up ways to keep women segregated from the rest of the herd? Mourning, menstruation, singles vs married, younger vs older… is there something wrong with you that we men don’t know about?

    • Yeah… we’ve got minds of our own 😉

  13. How have we swung so far in such a relatively short period of time? Now, when a spouse dies, you’re expected to get the hell over it, quickly, and non-publicly. As restrictive as the rules sound, I like the idea of a nice long time to mourn.

    • Interesting comment Ginny. I’m still grieving for Stephen and it’s been two and a half years since he died. I actually feel shame for my inability to ‘get over it’. Have come to the conclusion that this shame is culturally induced, we are expected now to move on quickly.

      A well known cricketer in Australia lost his wife to cancer in June 2008. When he found a new love 18 months later the papers were full of it for days. It was the wave of publicity that I found distasteful, like a socially sanctioned mourning period was deemed over by the media.

      • No need to feel shame, my friend. X

  14. Classical musicians dress the same exact way.

  15. A tear bottle, what a poetic idea. I wonder what secrets would drown in such a bottle. As for Sheyla Hershey, when she gets to be my age she’ll wonder why she has back trouble.

  16. this is intersting as hell nursemyra! i have studied the maori and i never heard this. thanks once again for an enlightening read. i visited the mourning jewelry link and plan to go back and delve a little deeper.

    • I’m a kiwi and I didn’t know this about the Maori women either!

      Mourning jewellery is beautiful. I have a jet brooch edged with seed pearls that belonged to my grandmother, it has a space in the back for a lock of hair but it was empty when I inherited it.

  17. I’m trying to think what a man could use if he wished to reciprocate that ashes-to-implants arrangement.

    • I’m trying NOT to think

  18. Now there’s a fate to consider.. having one’s ashes interred in boobs!

  19. Ashes to boobs, dust to dust, turn a tragedy into a bigger bust.

    I’m not sure how I would take it knowing that I’m burying my face in a pair of tits full of someone dead. Well, what you don’t know while motorboating a girl won’t hurt ya, I guess.

  20. Fascinating information. I feel rather badly for the poor old boys being dug up every other day to check on the status of their decomposition though. Doesn’t seem terribly dignified.

  21. Jebus! She’s gonna kill someone with those, how does she jog?

    • the same way I do. Just lie on the couch and move your legs a little

  22. Here, the older women keep with the tradition of wearing black after their husband dies…for the rest of their lives. It’s kind of sad…but romantic.

    I love the lachrymatory.

    • I wear a lot of black and red though today I’m in black and white. come to think of it, I look like a waitress….

  23. Ashes in her implants? I know the concept of together forever is nice but I think that’s a bit overboard yes?

  24. I agree with Ginny’s comment. Nowadays when someone dies society’s attitude is box them, burn/bury them, then get on with it as if the deceased never existed in the first place. Which is really sad considering I once heard someone say that it’s not really dying that we’re afraid of, it’s being forgotten. So if you’re forgotten about when renewable tenure of grave plots is introduced, you won’t be staying buried for very long.

    And don’t get me started on the over sensationalising Australian media. Especially when it comes to cricketers. Or any other incarnation of sporting “hero”.

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