This is not about dusting and cleaning on a normal basis. I don't dust regularly anyway, but it was beyond time to clean up some thigns that had collected in the crib. I'd call it Chase's crib but it is really our crib. All the kids have slept in there and any subsequent children will sleep in there. But for the last year and a half, it has been filled with memories of Chase. From the first week we had gotten home from the hospital until now, I have collected cards, small gifts, photos, letters, sculptures, clothes and anything that reminded me of our little boy. I had been feeling for the past couple months that I was about ready to box up these things. I still want them available to me to look at whenever I want, but I wanted to get a pretty little (medium-sized, actually) box to collect it all in. And the crib was getting pretty dusty anyway--it was time to do something.
So I ordered a pretty box and assembled it and started storing his things. Though it seemed a pretty unemotional task at first, the wave came over me, as I figured it would. In some ways it was comforting to see go through these memories--in a way it's hard to describe. But then the sadness....the deep sadness....came. And the tears.... Those things that will always be there. Not far from the surface. I had saved things like the hospital bracelets which I have in a shadow box. But I forgot about my hospital bracelet. The sight of that brought back a bunch of memories. I had even put back some of the clothes that we had on the day we held him and he died. Those are things that I don't see as "normal" and when I would see them come through the laundry, I'd think about our last day with Chase so I finally pulled them an put them in his crib. I have stuffed animals and wonderful, wonderful cards from my family that have words in them I cherish very deeply. Words that bring tears, but words that mean so much to me that it is hard to explain in a human capacity. I have little airplanes and nerf bullets that Reese gave to his brother that I put in this box. I have Reese's little santa hat that Chase was going to wear last Christmas. I have Chase's first birthday cards and memories and my mother's day cards from Patric and the kids the month after he died. I probably have hundreds of photos in there, several duplicates, but of course none of them I could throw away, so they are all there. And then all the legal documents from the funeral home are in another matching box, just smaller. The baby book from the funeral home with all the signatures of those who attended the funeral, which still surprises me to read through sometimes. I have my blog book in there, too, which is sacred to me. It is what helped me most through this loss....writing down my feelings and the comments from those who cared enough to tell me I wasn't alone on this journey.
I still have plenty photos, some candles, statues and things on the wall to see....my blanket I sleep with every night... And we talk and pray about Chase every day. But for now, the crib is empty. We hope to fill it again some day. Maybe we will move first and I won't put the crib back up until we need it. Maybe it will sit here until I am ready to take it down. Maybe....
My memories are in my heart. They are in my head and in my soul. And if I need something tangible, I can go to the boxes and touch him. I know I have a lot of "stuff" but I couldn't get rid of any of it. It's as close as I want it to be. Without having him here.....it's as close as I want for now.
I am curious, for those that are a year or more out from their loss, what have you done with your memories? I would love to hear your stories.