I started cleaning out her room. I think just getting out my fears and my emotions in the last blog readied me to do it. I had thought of it all.. balanced mine and Tonys dueling emotions. I haven’t cried like this is a long time. Day after day of intense crying. I think now I am just emptied.. drained.
I can’t believe how hard it can be 16 months out. I know logically its nothing in a lifetime without her.. I know how unnatural it is to lose a child so I shouldn’t expect the grief to be anything remotely like what I have know before.. But still it surprises me how voracious.. how violent the grief can be. Broken blood vessels .. my shirt soaked down the front. And this time something new. My body so opposed to what it was taking in I threw up.. again and again.
My parents had the boys and Charlotte was here with me.. so during her nap I just started doing it. When I started I moved a few things on her dresser and found a picture Jonathan drew for her. His drawings have changed in the last 3 months so I knew it was older than that.. Of him and her together.. At some point he brought it in her room and put it in a safe spot. Without telling anybody. I put it back because I knew I needed to make time for us to look at it and decide what to do with it together.
But that. That simple gesture of love and missing his sister started me off in a aching emotional state.
I had forgotten about how he might have made connections in that room.. balance of his emotions.
Opening her drawers. Taking one item out at a time. Holding them, remembering her wearing them. I took a lot of pictures. I folded them up carefully. One at a time. Savoring my time with them. Talking to Jennifer .. talking to God.
Wondering. Questioning. Struggling. Begging
I do that a lot. For a woman with an intense amount of pride I beg now.. a lot. Even though I know I will never get the result I so long for I simply cannot help it. Logic be damned, this is my grief I guess.
I was almost shocked the first time I threw up. It wasn’t even from crying.. It was just a violent disagreement to seeing these tiny clothes.. That she never outgrew. Some with tags still on.. inside out in her drawers. She tried them on but decided not to wear them that day.. and never got the chance to.
I think I can safely say numb is gone.
I felt like she gave me a few signs. .. Me asking questions and the next shirt I pulled out seeming to answer it and the last shirt I pulled out being one of mine that she took over for herself.. to wear when she missed me at night. .
But I did it. And then Charlotte woke up and we finished up together. We talked about it becoming her room one day. She told me in her toddler talk that she wanted Jennifer’s desk. She went to it and said “mine. my desk. cha-lets.”
So I told her yes. .. to balance her emotions.
We got dressers moved and shelves hung.. a really strong start.
The boys came home. I had told them we were going to start working on this project… I was mostly worried about how it might impact Jonathan. I was wrong.
Nicholas. Oh this boy of mine..always throwing me for a loop. He reminded me of a college kid having a sit in.. chaining himself to a tree. He was just matter of fact about it all.
no. No Mom. We aren’t doing that.
His emotions about it all. Forceful and subdued. I really hadn’t considered his.
We were so unprepared for that reaction and so strong. And surprisingly for him, it wasn’t just the room changing .. I was able to come to a middle ground on that by calling it Jennifer and Charlottes room. .. it was her bed. He was just so strong in not wanting us to move it from the room.
He even went so far as to measure out Charlottes crib to show me how it could fit with Jennifer’s bed.. but when I showed him the rest of the furniture he started to get it.
We have some more potential solutions in the works.. to try to balance all these swirling emotions that are hard for us adults to properly express or even understand… How much harder it must be as a 3 year old.
Mine was so intense I am still sore from the physicality of my grief.. and Tony has a cabinet or two to try to fix because he accidentally ripped them off the wall. .. As much as I wish we were always the ones teaching them.. I know we have so much to learn from them.
thank you for teaching me
and then everything else.
…until there is a cure..