Saturday, January 26, 2013

That dreaded day

We both knew it would come, but we dreaded it just the same. We knew that one day, we would need to clean out Lauren's room. Our son is married now and has his own home. One day, we will need to have those bedrooms for grandchildren who come to visit.

So we set out last weekend, with the help of our son, to begin that process. We have cried, we have laughed, we have remembered and we have rejoiced. Instead of making us miserable, it has really helped us to rediscover our daughter, and keep her memory where it should be and always will be at all times- in our hearts.

Lauren was a real girly girl. She had more fingernail polish, makeup, hairbows, costume jewelry, purses, shoes and photos than even I remembered. The dominant themes in her room were stars and butterflies. She loved Tinkerbell and Blink 182. She was a big fan of the Godfather movies (her Italian heritage that she really loved), Harry Potter, The Chronicles of Narnia and the Beatles.  She inherited her love for the Beatles from her mom (just like her brother did). She had a million little notes (texting was in its infancy then) from her friends in a little treasure chest. She had prom dresses and school dance dresses. We carefully placed the most important things in bins and sealed them up for safety. We, of course, are nowhere near being through, but we are beginning to see daylight. 

Among all her treasures were some things that gave us great joy and brought us a sense of peace. She had three Bibles among her treasures. Two were teen study Bibles that she had gotten along the way, and one was pretty dog-eared. She had her prayer cards, rosaries and her scapular (which I think came from our friends Bill and Janet Cupo) in her treasures. She loved her Lord and her Catholic faith. 

I jokingly said she might have been a candidate for the show "Hoarders." Of course that's not entirely true, but to us, this is a daunting task. We have given some things to charity. There are things that hold no sentimental value, and we have given them away. 

Whatever we end up doing with her room, we plan to leave some of her things in there as reminders of her. It will always be her room, but as my sweet friend Dawn said, its the natural progression of things- if she were still here, she would have cleaned up her own room and put things away, as our son did when he left home. 

Now her things are put away for her future nieces and nephews to one day enjoy. They will discover their aunt through stories, photos and memories shared by their grandparents and their dad. 

That dreaded day of beginning a painful task has come and gone, and we are able now to handle it a little better. 

Saturday, January 12, 2013

And the beat goes on

I've had to talk to a couple of people here lately who have lost children recently. They are still in those first terrible stages - shock, anger, guilt, unspeakable sadness. When I talk to these folks, I try to be honest- I tell them the only thing I can do is hold their hands. No one can make this any better. Time does not heal this wound, and the only thing you can do is remember that you now have a "new' normal and take it one day at a time. It doesn't go away. 

Talking to them is something I feel called to do. I think it is what God expects me to do. But it's tough. I don't think it there will come a time when it isn't tough. I start to remember how I felt and the things that  were hard for me. 

Christmas is always hard. This past Christmas I got an iPad. It started me thinking about all the things that have changed since Lauren died. Social media had not taken off when she passed away. There was MySpace, but Facebook was in its infancy. There was no Twitter, no Instagram and no Pinterest. She never knew what an iPhone, iPad or iPod was.

Thinking about those things brings your loss into sharp relief. No, time did not stand still for the rest of the world like it did for you. The world is still turning and things are moving forward like they always have. 

I don't mean to sound hopeless because I am not. I am only expressing how I feel. God knows my pain and my suffering and the reason why. I just have to trust Him, and I do. 

That's the one thing I try to impress on these poor people, because my faith is what got me through those early days and every day since then. I have to stay strong and I do that through prayer and the support of my family and friends.

God bless those of us in this club that nobody wants to join!