How one room can go from the best and most hopeful place in your house to the place you dread so much you think you are going to throw up (literally) just because you walk by the door is beyond me, but part of all that comes with being a mother whose child has died. It never ends. Never ends.
I DID go in this morning, though. In the last few weeks it's been hard to face reminders. While every picture I have is priceless to me, they are all also so hurtful. To look at all the pictures just makes me ache to have him. It stings, physically. So, I've sort of tried to avoid them. Not totally, but enough to keep me from going insane with missing what I wish I had.
Same for the nursery. Matthew's room. Just typing that gives me such a lump in my throat and my eyes instantly fill with tears. I've pretty much avoided the nursery because it is just agony to go in there and know what should have been but never will be. I feel like my head will explode, it hurts so much. On one hand, I wish that I had the guts to just pay someone to go and remove every trace of anything in there because it just hurts so much. On the other, I can't bear the thought of any of Matthew's things being disturbed or gone because it's all I have left.
In thinking about this, though, and still sort of grappling with well-meaning people telling me they are excited about us going back to Shady Grove this year, I realize that the very thing I don't want--people forgetting that Matthew was born and lived, is our first son and can't ever be replaced--is the very thing I indirectly am doing when I avoid his pictures or his room. In not forcing myself to face those things because they hurt so much, I essentially am trying to forget Matthew. It's not Matthew, of course, but rather, the pain and grief that comes with missing Matthew. And yes, I desperately, desperately, DESPERATELY wish I didn't have to deal with that pain and grief.
But remember my new favorite word? Bittersweet? Well, here's another one of those situations. In saving my heart from having to face reminders of all the hope and joy of Matthew, I am robbing myself of all the hope and joy that was Matthew. I simply can't do that. To love him is to love him, period, and I'm just being sort of selfish when I avoid things that make my heart hurt. I've said this before and I mean it: If I knew that it would all turn out this way, I'd still, in a SECOND, do it again and again and again for the sheer bliss I've been privileged and honored to experience. If I continue to avoid the things that hurt, I continue to avoid Matthew, and he's nothing but love and happiness. It's because I love him so deeply that the pain hurts so much, but the bottom line is that I can't have one without the other right now. As that is the case, I refuse to lose one second of loving and remembering him, as painful as it is.
So, I went into the nursery...not for long, but enough. Enough to sit in the chair I never got to rock him in and to look at his name wall that he never got to see. Enough to see the changing station I imagined him wiggling around in and to see the hundreds of books I've been collecting and buying for him. Enough to look out the window that he would have looked out of and enough to dream about all that could have and should have happened in that room.
And that was enough for today.
My sweet little monkey, how my heart aches for you today. Please know that it's only because I miss you and love you so much that these things break my heart. I'm so thankful for them, though, because they remind me of the miracle of you. I'm just trying to get to where they don't hurt so much.