It's odd to me that life is starting to resemble "normal" again. In the days and weeks that followed Calvin's death, everything "normal" in my life ceased to be. My sleeping patterns were completely disrupted, I often slept for maybe an hour or two maximum yet continued to function somewhat coherently oddly enough. However, everyday stuff like cooking and cleaning became something that didn't matter to me anymore. I realized at Christmas dinner at my in-law's house that I hadn't cooked since Calvin had died, and I didn't care. In fact I think it was the end of January before I started cooking again and in those early days, it was sporadic at best. It was also towards the end of January that I realized the wrapping paper from Christmas morning was still on the floor and that I had been walking around it for over a month. It was an eye-opening revelation of sorts for me, because at that time I also realized that although we had been home from the coast for two months, we hadn't unpacked. So, I picked up the Christmas wrap, took down the tree and started the task of unpacking our other life. When I got to the suitcase of Calvin's things, I realized why I hadn't started as soon as we got home.
Unpacking Calvin's clothes and toys and blankets was so hard. So many things purchased with love and hope, now lay unused, unworn in my old suitcase. Each item held a memory, of a time where I was pregnant and shopping for my unborn son, or as a gift given from the heart of a friend or family member. He was to be such a vital part of our lives, the only son, so longed for and loved by his daddy and me. It broke my heart to see all of his things unused, unloved, so at that moment in time, I shut the suitcase and took it upstairs where his clothes and toys didn't call out to me to hold them and smell them and think of him. As I began to get back into the routine of cooking and cleaning and daily chores, the suitcase sat upstairs, patiently waiting. I had thought about going through Calvin's things and donating them to the swap meet we did to raise money for Children's, but part of me couldn't let go. They were his things, and he wouldn't be getting any more. In fact I had to fight to get some of the things that had been purchased for him by family who thought it best not to "upset" me by giving me his gifts once he had died. I wanted everything. I wanted all the symbols of love and reminders that Calvin existed. So, unable to bring myself to donate any of his stuff to the swap meet, the suitcase was again closed and put away.
Since then, although I still hurt, although I miss my son every day, my life is starting to resemble "normal" again. I am able to appreciate little things that bring me joy once more. One of those things has been following Oliver's progress with his battle with Truncus Arteriosus, the congenital heart defect that Calvin had. When Oliver was finally discharged from the hospital, I celebrated his success, a feeling of pride and love for this little baby boy I had never met. It felt fitting that something I bought for Calvin with love and hope be given to this little fighter who is winning his battle with congenital heart disease. I am so grateful Jesse said yes when I asked her if I could send her something of Calvin's for Oliver. The suitcase didn't seem so formidable anymore when I went upstairs to get an outfit to send, in fact it felt right and good and I think Calvin would have approved. I feel so connected to Jesse and Oliver, although we've never met, we understand each other, know what it's like to be facing fear and uncertainty and to cry with love and hope for our children. It's nice that my life is starting to get back to some sort of reality again, even though that reality means a life without my son. It hurts, but it will get better.
Avelyn is Eleven Years Old. (WHAT IS LIFE?!)
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