Packing away your bedroom – by Simone
My darling Belsie
This morning was a big morning for me. I took the step of packing up your room. For a long time after you died your room was left just as it was. Slowly bit by bit we have taken certain things from your room – we took the name off your door, took a few things down to put on our memory wall. Some of your clothes that had specific memories for me, I have given to my step-mom Debbie to make into a memory blanket. But there was still a lot of stuff in your room. The outfit you died in was still in the drawer. Your nappy bag still hanging behind the door. Your changing mat on the compactum, nappies, nappy cream, toys, you name it! Murray still loves playing in your room, getting into your cot, unpacking your things.
Your room was going to become Thomas’ room and I remember really battling with the thought of turning your room into his room. And then we lost him too. And so there was no immediate pressure to do anything with your room. But I have been doing a lot of work on getting to the point of being able to pack up your things. And for some reason, today was the day. It wasn’t planned, it wasn’t thought about. I just suddenly thought “get up and do it”. And so I did.
And maybe it’s because I spent some amazing time with a wonderful woman yesterday who lost her little boy not too long before you died Belsie. And she is so real, gracious, together, truthful in her journey. She misses her little boy so very much but is also just so grateful for what she does have, for life. She is a true inspiration. And even though most days I feel like I am coping okay, some days are really really hard. And it’s so good to see someone who is so gracious with the unbelievably raw deal life has given them, and carries on always remembering their darling child, but also revelling in the good life has given them. And maybe it is because the milestone of your 2nd birthday is past, and while I took so much strain, I survived another “big day” and I am okay. I am getting through this. Maybe it’s because my social anxiety is starting to get better. I am more easily able to deal with those difficult situations that life throws in my path daily. Of being able to be real about what happened without falling apart. Of not having to shy away from almost all social interaction because of the severe anxiety it made me feel. Maybe it’s because on a practical level we need the room to have a bed in in April, so I needed to do something sooner rather than later.
Whatever the reason, I did it. It wasn’t nearly as traumatic as I thought it would be. And maybe it’s because I have done it in little steps, not in a Big Bang approach, and this has got me used to the idea. And maybe it’s also because I have realized that the room is no longer yours. It doesn’t embody you anymore. It’s actually just a space in a house. We have created so many other spaces where we can go and think of you and be with you that I don’t need to hold on to your bedroom anymore.Maybe it’s my final step in accepting that you are gone. Whereas before I wasn’t ready to take that step, now I am.
I have also realized that keeping your bedroom as it was has probably also been confusing for Murray. In his mind we were keeping your bedroom as is because you were coming back. And I realized that we have never actually said the words to him, “Sissie is dead. She is not coming back.” We unfairly expected him to understand that you being in heaven meant that you weren’t going to be coming back. How on earth can a 3 year old understand that? And so on your birthday when he wanted to go and visit you and take you cake for your birthday I had to explain to him that we can’t visit you because you are dead and aren’t going to be coming back. I think as adults we often sugar coat things thinking that it’s making things easier for children. Perhaps we are actually making it easier for ourselves but confusing kids more? Who know, this is all a learning curve. But again this morning, as I was packing your room away he came in to chat to me, and to ask me questions about what I was doing, and I had to explain to him again that you are dead and won’t be coming back. He then also asked me about his brother, and I had to reiterate the same message. This poor little guy, it’s so so much to deal with for such a little person. But he seemed to quite happily accept what I was saying, think about it a little, and then carry on with what he was doing. We are just so so blessed!
We still had the outfit that you died in in the drawer. Washed and waiting there. A reminder every time I opened that drawer of what happened.It was an Earthchild t-shirt and leggings with a little zip up hoodie that had also been Murray’s. it didn’t feel right to keep it, because I was never going to put another child in that outfit, but it also didn’t feel right to throw it in the dustbin. And so I burnt them. And somehow that too seemed a fitting end.
Darling child of ours, you are always with me, every second of the day. You are emblazoned on my skin, and in my heart. Not a day goes by that I don’t think of you countless times and miss you beyond measure. You will always be my feisty, gorgeous, delightful Belsie.
I love you with all my heart.
Your mom xox
That’s a brave milestone. As always you handled it with grace and meaning, and write with such eloquence too. I hope that burning her last outfit was cathartic. Well done and BIG HUGS.