Thursday, January 26, 2017

To Keep or Not to Keep

I have never been a sentimental person.  At times it has frustrated my husband over the years, especially because he is very sentimental.  He keeps every little thing.  He has all kinds of momentos from high school through now, from jackets and yearbooks to ticket stubs and name tags from conferences.  Ugh.  I toss it all.  I have literally nothing from my school years except a very few pictures.  No jackets.  No horse show ribbons.  No ticket stubs.  No play bills.  No yearbooks.  No cheerleading or pom uniforms.  No plaques.  No trophies.  I just didn't keep them.  They were not important to me.  On the rare occasion that the children have gone through his things, it's been fun, but even then I did not regret not keeping my things.

And, if I'm being completely honest, it's caused me more than a little frustration when I have to move the mountains of paper, stuff, and junk, yet again, that seem useless to me.  I've thrown away more than one conference name tag and consoled myself that no one is the wiser.  😬

But it's different now.  When I look around at William's things, I'm torn.  I wish I had taken more pictures, more video, but I don't know what to do with the other things.  I feel a great sense of guilt that some things could be used by someone else, but they sit here, doing no one any good.  Yet, I can't seem to let them go.

Of course, some things we passed on pretty quickly.  Like his cochlear processors and Roger kit.  They were such a blessing to him, I just knew someone else had to benefit from those.  And he would have wanted to bless someone with those.  Well, actually, he would have given anyone anything if they needed or even wanted it.  I did keep one processor, though.  I know it's silly.  I have absolutely zero use for it and it makes me feel a little guilty.  But when I open my drawer and see it there, it brings me comfort somehow.

Most of his toys were shared by the other children so they are largely still being used, but I am keenly aware of him as they outgrow them and move on to things more age appropriate.  Some of the things that were expressly his or really loved by him I either put in my drawer, one of the children kept out special, or they remain untouched.  I don't think anyone has ridden in the police car since he left us.  Maybe I have not made enough of an effort to let them know it's okay or maybe it's hard for them, too.

On Sydnee's birthday, the weather was so nice we had the patio door open.  Wallace was looking outside and started crying, out of the blue.  He cried most of the night and was just not himself.  When I asked him what was wrong, he said that when he sees the stars he remembers William and how much William loved to look up at the stars.  We would lie on the trampoline or the hood of the car and just look up and I would describe the sky to him.  I'm not sure how much of it he saw, but I think he could tell there was something there.  He always said it was beautiful.

I don't think the trampoline has been put back up since he passed either.  In some ways, I feel like he just left.  Like yesterday.  How can I be expected to get back to "normal" life already?  But then I look and I realize it's been 15 months.  FIFTEEN MONTHS.  Fifteen months that I have not held that precious boy in my arms or sang him to sleep at night.  Fifteen months since I stopped living, too.  I type this and I think, how can 15 months have gone by without my children enjoying the trampoline?  How can I have let FIFTEEN MONTHS go by without taking them swimming or horseback riding or running around with the police car?

I am just now starting to do some of the things that I used to do.  Just recently have I stepped back into the role of overseer of my home and even that is not as full-fledged as I once was.  I know I'll get there.  But sometimes it feels like with every step forward I leave him behind a little.

So I find myself clinging to his things.  Like...

...his green backpack that he carted all his therapy tools in.  The other day, I found myself so frustrated, I dared not speak when Knox left it outside.  It's now been confiscated and put up in my room.

...his Cough Assist machine, which was so useful to him and SO hard to get ahold of.  I know it could benefit some child and I should donate it.  I want to donate it.  I just haven't been able to bring myself to step into his doctor's office.

...his wrist weights that I made for him to try to help his tremors.

...his soccer socks.  Oh, how he loved those socks!  I bought them to go under his orthotics to protect his legs, but he loved them and insisted on wearing them all the time, even to bed.  I remember striking a deal with him once that if the temperature was over 98° (or something like that), he would not wear his socks.  In the summer, he would get up in the morning with his big grin and say, hopefully, "Mommy, I think it's less than 98° today."  Now I have several pair of soccer socks that sit in my drawer, untouched.

...his medical records and x-rays.  Seriously, what to do with those?  It just doesn't feel right to toss them but it also doesn't feel right to hang onto them for nothing.  Literally, boxes of paper.

...his wheelchair.  We donated his orthotics and PT equipment, but I kept his wheelchair.  I don't know why.  It's not like I'm going to use it.  I know it could benefit someone but I can't seem to let it go.

My heart hurts as Wallace outgrows the clothes that William wore only briefly.

My heart hurts when I walk through a store and see a toy that he would have loved - like an ambulance, police car, or fire truck with lights, sounds, and sirens.

My heart hurts when I buy gifts for the children, like for Thanksgiving and New Year's.  I just could not bring myself to not buy something for him.  I know that's weird but I just couldn't leave him out.  But, of course, it makes no sense to buy him something, either.  So I did what felt right.  I bought gifts that he would like and gave them away.

Maybe someday I will know what to keep and what to give away.

Maybe someday I will not feel like moving forward leaves him behind.

Maybe someday I will not feel guilty for hanging on to his things.

Maybe someday I will not feel guilty for giving his things away.

Maybe someday I will learn to navigate this new life with grace and ease...

But today is not that day.

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