This evening I was moving some furniture around and re-organizing some things in closets and such. Going through cd’s and dvd’s and purging and just generally getting things in order, not that they were out of order but still…
I came across the boys “baby boxes”. I’m not a tremendously sentimental person when it comes to holding onto things and physical items but these baby boxes are something that I have put a lot of energy into over the years.
Each boys has a box that has all sorts of things from when I was pregnant with them, from the hospital when they were born and from their first few months… things like the newspaper from the day they were born, the hospital identification band from their ankle – and the matching one that I wore, the first sleeper they wore, a toque from the first time they went in the stroller… little items that signify their arrival into our life. Also inside each box is a handwritten account that I wrote for each of them of their birth… labour, delivery, my thoughts when they were born… how it felt to hold their little bodies and nurse them at birth…what our first night was like together… memories from me to them. Things that are important to me to pass along.
I still have all of the baby boxes. Even though Sons 1 and 2 are older and live on their own, I still have them. I agreed to keep them with me until they’re more settled. Son 4 is still young and one day he’ll get his to keep.
As I moved the boxes around tonight it came to me that there is one baby box that won’t ever be going off to be kept with its rightful owner though. Willie’s baby box is here along with the others but he’ll never claim it. He won’t ever go through it and read about his birth or laugh at the tiny socks that were too big for him but look so small now. All those memories put together into a keepsake box that is now nothing more than something else to decide what to do with because he’s gone.
Physical burdens that it feels wrong to throw away – wrong because he means so much and they represent him in a way. But also the knowledge that they mean nothing now that he’s gone. My memories of him won’t be diminished if the baby box is gone; I know that. Yet I simply put it back under the bed tonight…
Things are just things. Stuff. I’ve been in a situation before of having to go through a house of someone who has passed away. An older person who had a lifetime of “stuff”. Things that must have meant alot to him at one time… but with him gone and us going through it, it was all just nothing. Things that he held dear meant nothing to us so it was easy for us to just discard and move on from the piles of items.
I remember sitting in Willie’s room after he died and looking through his things and being struck by the awareness that things that meant so much to him were just nothing now. The pain of knowing that the value of importance of those items was, in essence, gone, because the person who valued them is gone. As non-sentimental as I am with most things I find myself clinging to certain things that I know Willie held close to himself. A few items that I have kept that I now hold onto as a way to maintain a physical “him” in my life. A couple articles of clothing that I associate with him that he wore just before his death… Things that, while I can’t part with them, I also don’t keep them out and in the open as they hurt too much to see and touch still.
Seeing his baby box tonight a nasty reminder of how “not here” he is now… and never will be again…and how much I miss him