The difficult task of packing up Lucy's things was tackled on Thursday of last week. Both sets of her grandparents were there to provide support to her mommy and daddy. It wasn't easy. But I felt like it was necessary for our growth and symbolic in so many ways of moving forward. I feared so deeply that it would be like saying goodbye all over again. And in some ways it was. And it hurts.
Vic and I took some time alone in her room before inviting our parents to join us upstairs. We took photos, cried, poured over shoes and clothing, and talked about the whens - the memories we cling to now. It was heart wrenching. Finding clothes and shoes that she was supposed to grow into was particularly painful. When the time was right, Nana and Papa, Grandma and Grandpa joined us for a prayer in her sweet little room. The room in which we rocked her to sleep, performed (rather than read) Barnyard Dance, kissed her as many times as she would let us, watched her breathing peacefully in her sleep, got her dressed in the most adorable clothes (90% or more hand-me-downs from Tokako Jackson, Cynthia Washington, and Jen Hunt--the absolute cutest things with which to drape the cutest girl ever to be born), and every other spectacular event that takes place in your child's bedroom. (Diaper changing, laughing, tantrums, playing, squealing, running naked).
Although we lived in this house only 2 1/2 weeks before Lucy returned home, her room is still her room. Her bright pink bedding (aptly named the "Lucy Line") and decorations still such a part of her whole life, no matter here or there (condo or house). And even though they are just "things", things that you can't take with you when you die, they are the only physical things we have left to cling to on earth that encapsulate all that is our little Lucy. They belong in the open air, being spit on and cleaned up, cuddled and played with, dragged through the mud and left in the car--always reminding us that Lucy lives and messes things up and enlivens our senses. But instead they are in a plastic tote. Just like her body is in a perfectly tragic white casket. It isn't right and it isn't fair. But through prayer I am hoping to be told that for some reason it is "all right" and "alright" and it was right for her to leave. It was the plan and it was His way. Brief moments have come, but until that complete day of peace and acceptance that I hope for, I long to rip open the boxes and the grave, fling things about and shake my fists at the heavens. But since I control myself and don't do that, the ripping and the screaming take place in my heart and day after day I try to pick up the pieces.
Nana Bice offered the prayer, and as has become a habit for me, I opened my eyes and watched the others in the room. I love to study faces and body language, especially while a prayer is being offered. It teaches me a lot about a person. (And I like to wonder what they are thinking. Am I crazy?) To my left side, right next to the crib was my sweet husband. Shaking. Shoulders, arms, head--shaking. Tears running down his cheeks. I had to look away for a moment and breathe, but looked back again hoping to telepathically communicate to him how much I love him. He later told me his instinct at that moment was to crawl under the crib and just stay there. It seemed like the only possible solution to the pain. Just stay there and hide and never come out to face the world. Safe beneath Lucy's protection, nothing to be moved or changed. Oh Vic, I'm so sorry your precious daughter is gone. I see her in your face everyday.
Eventually the task at hand started to feel just like work and I was able to detach myself for a while. Placing things in "future sister" box, "give away" box and "Lucy's special trunk", never to be worn by another sibling and always kept safe and treasured box. We have yet to find the perfect vintage/old world/wooden trunk/chest for these last things (her blanky, her blessing dress, her favorite pairs of shoes, etc). But we will.
And this is my mom's advice: Don't think of it as saying goodbye to Lucy. Think of it as making room for Peter.
And this is my fear: That my grief will hinder me from loving him fully. That my heart won't be able to expand after all the hurt. That I won't be able to give him the fun, crazy, hyper, silly, singing, dancing, back flips in the backyard mommy that I gave to Lucy.
We could have chosen to put Peter in the guest room and made Lucy's room the third bedroom. But one day while standing in her room, we knew he needed to be in her sacred space. Use her same crib and dresser (which was mine as a young girl). The walls have been re-painted with the help of Jane Greer and Charlotte Charles, gifts and hand-me downs of blue have been filling the drawers. But I still wonder: How will I do it? I sometimes wonder how long he will live. I lye in bed at night and imagine his birth over and over and over again and the subsequent months following. The lack of sleep, the fear and anxiety...I'm scared. I'm so scared.
But I'm trying to make room. And I hear that magic happens when you fear it's not possible. That your heart loves another child again just as much as the first.
Perfectly petite and girly. Absolutely nothing more stunning or delicious than seeing her in these dresses.
Her favorite doll. "Mommy Fly."
Her favorite doll. "Mommy Fly."
Some of her favorite things.