Yesterday was a rough day. I have been on a roll lately getting things organized around the house...something that makes me very happy. But the one thing that threw me yesterday was deciding to put some of Gavin's clothes "away." His closet and dresser are still filled with the clothes he was wearing for the Spring season. But in the spare room I had all the clothes he had grown out of or was going to be wearing this Summer. Every day they stared at me. Mocked me, even. Typically, I would either give away or sell the outgrown items in a consignment sale I participate in twice a year. But I won't be doing that this time. At least not yet.
With Brian safely in the playroom watching a "Veggie Tales" movie, I kneeled on the guest room floor - soon to be Hope's nursery - and I slowly and painstakingly placed each item in a plastic bin. With each article of clothing, I hoped for a memory to flash through my mind of a happy time. Instead, I got flashes of the last days.
The second he stopped breathing in the emergency room.
The crowd of people around him and on top of him trying to bring him back.
The jerking of his tiny body when he started seizing.
Saying goodbye...only to soon have hope once again.
Watching his eyes travel in different directions that night and just knowing...he was gone.
Watching his skinny body swell with fluid.
Knowing we would soon say goodbye.
In the hospital on those long days and nights, I actually flashed forward to the day I would start "putting Gavin away" at home. It seemed inconceivable. Wrong. A betrayal. I left a tear on every piece of adorable clothing as I put it in the bin.
But the truth is, Gavin can't be put away. He is in every corner of our home. His spirit invaded our bodies from day one. His room is now Brian's room - whether it's temporary or permanent is up to Brian. The truth is, I would have put these clothes away or sold them or given them away if Gavin were still alive. But typically I look forward to buying new things to replace the old - and there will be no new clothes for Gavin.
I kept it all to myself when Ed got home from work. We had dinner, did our nightly bedtime ritual with Brian and then went our own ways. A little while later, I got an email from Ed about a 4th of July sale at Pottery Barn Kids that started that day. I'm not much of a shopper so I typically ignore these sale emails because I don't want to buy anything. But for some reason, I clicked onto the website. And that's when I saw this...
I knew it was Hope's. And it really felt like Gavin had a part in choosing it. Everything about it was perfect. The trees are just like the big trees in Gavin's bedroom. The big owl and the little owl - like Brian and Hope - with a butterfly flying over them. I showed Ed and he wholeheartedly agreed. We had to get it. (The best part is - Ed had a $200 Pottery Barn Kids gift card that he won so we got this so, so cheap!)
Then this evening, the three of us went to the Carter's store. What I wanted to do was exchange a brand new pair of sandals that Gavin never had the chance to wear and choose a new pair for Brian to replace them. As I was choosing the new sandals with Brian, Ed wandered away.
I walked through the store and froze in my tracks when I saw where he was. The newborn baby girl section. As I got closer, he turned to me with a sweet terry sleeper in his hands and a tear in his eye.
It is really just amazing - improbable - that anyone could find beautiful and hopeful moments after the loss of a child. But we have been so blessed with Hope... and hope... in more ways than one.
But you know, it's more than this baby. We refuse to give up hope. We refuse to give up joy. We refuse to give up love... and laughter... and happiness. Is that easy? Not always. But doing anything else would be a disservice to Gavin, who found joy and laughter and happiness in his every day. Through each painful moment, we remember and honor him by holding onto hope.
Gavin will always be in this home. He can't be put away.