This evening after work, Pete and I were tidying up the house. There were some random boxes that had been sitting at the top of the steps for awhile now and we finally decided to get to it today. How is it that the attic feels like miles away? It seems like so much work to pull down the attic ladder and lug boxes up there. That’s funny to me.
Anyways, I ventured up the narrow pull-down stairs and Peter carefully handed me all the bins. I had gone up there totally without thinking of the piles of baby things that were in black bags up there. It really hadn’t crossed my mind until I got my bearings up there and out of my peripheral vision, I spotted the sea of bags. The sight of them knocked the wind out of me. Honestly, it was like I couldn’t breathe. And I was surprised by how this all affected me. It caught me off guard and I didn’t feel ready for yet another wave of sadness.
When we packed up Charlotte’s nursery over a month ago now, Peter and I placed all the organized bags of baby things in the back of the attic. The bags are back a ways, tucked back if you will. Each bag is labeled and all the items are categorized but at the end of the day, it’s still a pile of trash bags. I hate it. It feels like such a waste to me. But Peter reminds me that those pretty things will go to lots of good use one day and I know he’s right. I just hate it right now.
I contemplated if I’d go over to the grouping of bags or not. It felt a little more safe to look at it all from afar but given I was already up in our attic, I thought I might as well fully embrace it. I went back and forth in my mind. Finally, I chose to walk over there. I shimmied myself over the ductwork and found myself stuck in the middle of all the baby things we had thought would be somewhere very different right now.
I started to sob. The tears wouldn’t stop. And then I found myself on my knees. I brushed my hand over the plastic bags, trying to feel what was inside each. I wanted to feel something. I wanted to be reminded that this loss was real. Life is going on but the loss of our daughter, Charlotte, is as real as ever – it’s not going anywhere.
When I was on the ground on my knees in my attic, I kept thinking how we had so much stuff yet didn’t have her. The lacking is so painful. It hurts. My arms feel so EMPTY. I feel burdened with this emptiness. While up there, I muttered in my tears, “This is so wrong!” I prayed to Jesus for His comfort. I told Him how much pain I was feeling. And He reminded me that He allows me to feel and it’s okay. He was with me.
I then moped down the attic stairs and told Peter how desperately sad I was. He held me. And lovingly listened. I then read Tear Soup by Pat Schwiebert & Chuck Deklyen. A sweet friend had recently mailed me this book. I had read this book before; however, I never read it through my bereaved perspective. It’s such a reassuring read. I cried as I read about crying. It was kind of comical. But not, too. Grief is like that – such a mixed bag. As I read the book, these little confetti hearts fell out of the pages. This friend of mine had placed little paper heart cut-outs. It was so touching and thoughtful to me.
Like my friend, Megan, had told me when we met up for the first time after Charlotte died, Jesus loves me! I was telling Megan how much I love Charlotte and saying how much I know God loves Charlotte too and then she said, “And God loves you!” That really struck me. God loves me? Really? Yes – REALLY!
Sometimes, the fact that Jesus loves me sounds so rudimentary. It’s like I get use to it. But the glorious truth that God loves me and loves you is the most powerful statement out there! Jesus, keep washing that truth over me. Thank You that You love me, that You love Peter, that You love Charlotte – that You love the world. Those little hearts kept reminding me how much Jesus loves me and is for me. There’s nothing like it.