Child Loss · Grief

Just Things?

Were these just things that left our house a few months ago?
Just things?

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If they were just things, then why on the day we packed them up did I fall apart in a heap of tears?
Why as the kind man came to the door with his check list, did I want to push him away?

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If they were just things, then why can I hear the sound of them in my head still when I close my eyes and think of him.

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If they are just things, why do I feel so grateful for every beep and hum and whir of them.

Because they were part of our lives for almost 4 years.

Because they kept my son alive.

Because they are part of my journey.

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They took his medical log away. Where we checked off every med given, every feed administered.

Where at times we logged ounces in soiled diapers to make sure his fluid intake and weight gain was appropriate.

I signed “P” for parent.

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Encouraging notes from friends, emergency procedures (by the way, apparently in an emergency you don’t look at lists, you just move and do what you’ve been trained to do)

Doctor’s appointments that had to be cancelled.

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His toys the way he left them. (and no it doesn’t still look like this, but I wanted to remember his last touch in this room)

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So many stories read and re-read.

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Foot supports to help him learn to stand and walk (we were so very close).

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The things we grabbed and threw in the ambulance out of instinct and years of emergency trips to the hospital.

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Not your typical baby room closet.

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Clothes that I would grab in my arms and inhale for weeks after he passed away. The place my husband would find me in one of my most intense moments of grief.

Clothes that we only washed when we were ready (and mostly because I was afraid they would mold).

A last load of laundry done with love by his Daddy who washed his things every week.

Folded by me with tears that wouldn’t stop.

No they are not just things, my friends.

And his room remains virtually unchanged. No we don’t protect it like a shrine.

The kids can plan here. They come an touch and play, they put his puzzles together, they read his books.

I work in here at the same desk. The only difference is, I only work here. My other “office” has been abandoned.

This is my safe place.

I wrapped Christmas presents in his room.

I sit in silence in this room.

I cry.

No these are not just things.

No this is not just a room.

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8 thoughts on “Just Things?

  1. Those “things” were as much a part of Mattie as his curls, his lips and his beautiful smile. Missing Mattie means missing all of him. Love you friend.

  2. As I read through this, I felt a heaviness in my chest. Some of the things in these pictures were ‘things’ that my mother in law had. She was on oxygen for years, to help her breath. She’s been gone 2 years this month and moments like this remind me of how much I miss her. Sometimes I too can smell her in the air and I have dreams of her. I wish I could hug you because I know what it is like at moments like this to be deep in emptiness for the one you love.

  3. I subscribed to your blog after purchasing Mattie Breathes. I am so sorry that Mattie is gone. Thank you for sharing your journey here. We had a very, very close call with our trached daughter last month, and I know many other families of medically complex children have lost a child or come close. It helps to know that there are others who share a similar journey, especially the trauma and grief. I’m praying for y’all.

  4. That makes total sense. I’m a military wife, and whenever my husband leaves (like he’s gone right now) I can never bring myself to wash the last of his laundry, his water cup he casually left on the counter, or even use the towel he folded because he folds differently than me and I like being reminded of him. And that’s with me knowing he’s coming back! So yes, I can see that Mattie’s things are more than things. Thank you for sharing, Tracie.

  5. This is my first visit to your site..came over from OneThoughtfulMom, whose 13 yr old daughter died 2 weeks ago in a car accident. I am so very sorry for your loss. I can see Mattie was deeply loved by you and the rest of his family. My heart aches for you. You and your family will be in my thoughts and prayers.

    Damaris

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