Keeping things the same was never an option for me--so many things triggered sadness so I painted everything I didn't get rid of. I kept a ton of Sean's things, mostly preserved for a time when the kids can actually appreciate seeing, holding things that were his. I tried to give them things right away and there was an immediate threat of ALL OF THE SAID THINGS GETTING LOST OR COLORED ON so I did what any parent of little kids would do-put it up on high shelves. There are pictures up of them with Sean and that is what I understand to be healthy for them. As far as for myself and my grief, though, every time I passed certain things in the house it caused flashbacks. There weren't many memories with him in the house because he only lived in it for two weeks...slowly but surely though the flashbacks came. To this day driving into the driveway brings back hard memories, clear as can be, from those weeks following his death. It's just the way my brain works. I can't watch scary previews much less scary movies. I can't get images out of my head easily.
Much has been changed, painted, moved, sold, and traded but there are a few pieces of furniture I have that were originally his or from our first few years of marriage. The kitchen table. I repainted the chairs a long time ago. I recover them all the time. Duck cloth from Hobby Lobby and a staple gun=new kitchen chairs. Easy. A few months ago I painted the brown kitchen table white. I thought that would be enough. I sanded it, I repainted it. A different color white. A new stain. Nope. It's full of memories. Dang. It's not that I avoid memories-y'all can imagine how many times a day I see him in an expression or a look from one of the kids! It's just that for me, to go out into the world as a mom and face the future head-on, I need a new start with fewer things, fewer chances to feel less-than. Less than a "full" family, less than a unit. Less than what I once was. It's more than the way things look. I can change all that. Clearly I have already! It's like I've had this internal struggle-my old self vs my future self, and I'm stuck mediating and pacifying them both as long as home stays the same.
I've set our table over and over, (we're talking with plastic decorative placemats and paper napkins, nothing fancy,) and each time I look at our table and think, "This is too big for us. It's too many places, not enough people to fill them." Another reminder. Four placemats, not five. We only need four. We only have four. Four of us. For the rest of our lives, there are only four. We ARE ALL HERE, this is our family. We all pray and hope for more people around our table someday but for now I want to just switch to a smaller table. Less to long for, more to be thankful for. Less pretending everything is the same when so much is not at all the same. Pretending to be okay with the struggle between my pre- and post-loss self, hearing it was normal, etc was fine for a while. Like two years a while. Not anymore. For our family, a new start is exciting and promising, not scary anymore. It's so fun to imagine what life will look like in a few years for us. I don't dread it, I don't wish it would go by quickly, and I don't fear it. Do y'all know what a miracle that is? I know that you do!
Please pray for me as I make decisions and plans. I don't want to be careless, just fearless. Perfect love drives out fear, and God loves me...us...with perfect love. When fear or timidity creeps in it's just my past talking and I'm tired of listening to it.
It's late so I'm sure I stopped making sense a while back. Oops.