Friday, June 28, 2013

He Can't Be Put Away...

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.


  1. Gorgeous, and humbling. Gavin couldn't have been loved any harder than he has been, and still is. Hope has got one heck of an angel helping her family get prepared for her.

  2. This is so tender and sweet, even the saddest parts. Hope will love her beautiful room, It must be so exhausting to be so sad and so joyfilled at the very same time. As always, blessings to you.

  3. You are right, Gavin will never be put away. He has a huge place in all of your lives and in our lives too.
    I have several things of Isaiah's that I don't think I will ever give away or sell, even though I know selling them doesn't mean I'm selling the memories.
    I was able to give a few away to a mom who also lost a child and I did give my 2 living children a couple of the toys that were purchased for Isaiah. The rest sit in a plastic storage box in the attic.
    I am glad you were able to get that beautiful crib for Hope and that adorable sleeper.
    Hope, in the midst of pain, exactly what God promised us.

  4. Oh Kate, that bedding set is absolutely adorable.

    We never put away those we love so completely. They are with us every single day. Even when we no longer have the "stuff".

    Love and Light

  5. Prayers for your Hope to continue to grow and come home to live in your family soon. God is slowly taking care of you as the three of you deal with the loss of Gavin's physical presence. His spiritual essence can't be lost. I look forward to Brian having another playmate in his little sister. It's wonderful that you and Ed are working together. Too many couples grow apart instead of closer. May God continue to bless you as you lean on Him.

  6. So, so glad that you've found those perfect items for Hope, to give you hope and ease your pain and struggles a tiny bit. I'm also glad to hear that Brian is finding comfort in connecting with Gavin in his (their) room. It's heartwarming to read of the many small rituals that are getting you through and honouring Gavin.

  7. This is beautiful. I can feel your pain and the joy through your words... and then I feel it with you.

    Perfect bedding choice also. I'm so happy you found it. It will become a keepsake.


  8. Laughing and crying - so beautiful. So HOPEful (in spite of the pain).

  9. I am dreading this process, I am so sorry you're going through it now. I will share with you what another mom who lost her daughter told me they did. They selected articles of clothes that held the most and best memories and they had a quilt made for each of their other children to sleep with - we plan to do this with Quinn's clothing as well.


  10. Oh so beautiful. Wishing you many days of hope ahead.

  11. Beautiful post. The new bed for Hope is gorgeous. ((HUGS))

  12. Kate, my son has to read the "Time Keeper" by Mitch Albom for high school summer reading. I listened to an interview with the author online, and ne of the things he said made me immediately think of Gavin. I'm paraphrasing, but he said that the amount of time you have in this life isn't as important as what you do with it, and then he said there are kids who live very short lives who make a profound impact on the world in that very short span of time. See? That's your Gavin. And as a mom, I know it still sucks.

  13. You're right Gavin can't be put away the people we love live in our memories forever.

  14. Hi Kate :) This post reminded me of something a good friend has done since the loss of her little boy. I thought it was a fantastic idea (should I ever walk in your shoes), and figured you wouldn't mind me sharing it with you: Every year, she buys something for a less-fortunate child that is the same age her son would be at the time. Usually around school time, she buys clothes, school supplies, toys, etc, and donates it all to that one special child. She says it helps her through the pain of never buying those things for her son, and it keeps her son's spirit alive. In my mind, it is such a great idea, because I can't imagine walking through a store and never being able to buy clothes or a toy for one of my children that I know they would like. This way, she still does it when she wants, but it blesses a child who may not have those things.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...