Saturday, November 19, 2011

The Nursery

Henry's room looks the same as the day he died. Ok, not entirely true, it's a little cleaner, but his bed, toys, clothes are all where they should be.

I don't go into his room often, but I crave it at times. It helps me feel close to him, to dust his dresser, touch his blankets, look at his clothes. I'm always sad when I do it, but I usually only go there when I'm already sad.

His ashes are in there as well, in a handsome wooden box with his name on it. I've only picked up the box twice since he died. It is not soothing to me to hold it, but I like it being in the house.

We're T-minus 13 weeks to baby, presuming she shows up around my due date, which the other three did. I've written before that I wasn't ready to prepare for her, plan for her, get excited for her arrival. Lately, I've been feeling like it's getting to be time.

I had thought that cleaning out Henry's room and preparing for the new baby were flip sides of the same coin. They aren't. I went into his room this morning to try to make a stepwise plan of what to do to begin the transition from his room to hers. I couldn't. I don't want to put away his toys. I don't want to store his clothes. I don't want to paint his walls. I don't want to give up the closeness, the connection that his room gives me.

I was waiting till I was ready. I don't think I'll ever get there.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Fall

Henry's diagnosis and relapse both occurred in October.

Who doesn't love fall? The gorgeous blue skies, the turning leaves, the crisp smells in the air. This year, I've liked fall again, the first time since his diagnosis. I haven't had an immersive fall experience, ie hiking and biking and spending time on those beautiful days outside, but that's been because of a busy life and a pregnant body. I can imagine myself loving fall by next year.

This year we traveled to the mid-west to spend time with my in-laws and extended family. I hadn't been there since we traveled with Henry, within 6 weeks of his death. He really enjoyed the trip, and though the rest of us knew the end was coming, at that point we didn't know how quickly. Generally, he was feeling pretty good then. It was a blessing that his deterioration was so brief.

I was surprised by my response to being out there. I avoided the activities and places that made me remember him; they were too painful. I completely lost it one day and had to excuse myself for quite a time of private sobbing. That hasn't happened to me for a long, long time.

I realized that though he's been gone for two and a half years now, it was the first time for me that he was dead, out there. The first time I saw my in-laws' home with photos of their dead grandson on the walls. The first time I saw all the cousins out trick-or-treating, without him. The first time we saw the extended family since he died.

The firsts have always been the hardest.

Since we've been back, he has stayed in the forefront of my mind. His presence generally comes and goes; for most of summer I did not dwell on him regularly. Since our trip though, he's in my thoughts all the time.

I still can't believe he's gone.