Things he left behind

It’s been five months since Nash passed……………five months…………he has officially been gone as long as he was here. I don’t know what I expected to feel five months out. Maybe better, maybe I thought things would be easier, maybe I thought I would have moved forward in some way. All I know is what I feel now is not what I expected and I’m happy and sad about it all the same. I never truly want to move on. I don’t want to live my life without having some amount of sadness when it comes to Nash. I guess I just thought five months out, at the very least, I would see a light at the end of this very long tunnel. I don’t though, I don’t see a light. I don’t see an end to this gloom, this cloud that hovers over me everywhere I go. Part of me wants to see that light, feel normal again. Be that person bad things don’t happen to. Live life again where my biggest problem is paying my bills. The other part of me wants to stay in this gloom. Embrace it. Stop pretending I’m okay because it’s exhausting. I’m tired of putting on a smile and acting like I’m doing better. I’m not doing better. If anything, I’m doing worse. There are all these reminders of my previous life wherever I turn. Reminders that Nash was here and he isn’t any longer. I wish these reminders made me happy, but they don’t, they make me feel empty.

When I was pregnant with Nash, Todd had a diaper party. He got over 3,000 diapers! We stacked them in the basement  and grabbed them when we needed them. Some boxes are open, some are not. Next to the diapers is an empty swing. Nash never really liked it. So we put it in the basement next to the diapers, thinking maybe we would need it when we had our next baby. I also had bagged up Nash’s clothes as he grew out of them and put them in the basement as well. Our washer and dryer are also in the basement. Every time I wash clothes, I stand next to the boxes of diapers that are left and that empty swing and bags of his clothing. Reminders of our previous life. Reminders that we were once parents.

Instead of overflowing our trash with big boxes, I’ll just throw them downstairs and Todd knows to burn them out back. Everyone who has had a baby knows that you have an unlimited amount of boxes from things you’ve gotten. We were so busy loving Nash and taking care of him that our basement became full of them. Todd laughed one day and said, “Feel free to throw some of these in the trash every now and then.”

Over the last couple of weeks, Todd has started cleaning the basement and burning the boxes that accumulated. I watched him from the upstairs window without him knowing. I saw him throwing the boxes in the fire but stopping to look at some of them for a minute. Like the box Nash’s bathtub came in. The front had a picture of the tub with a baby in it. He stared at it for what seemed like five minutes before throwing it in the fire. I’ll never forget The look he had as he burned the boxes. The boxes Nash’s toys came in, his tub, his high chair, his saucer, his diaper boxes. All I could do was watch and cry as I saw my husband throwing away things Nash left behind and saw the agony it was putting him through to do it. I was mad at myself, I should have just thrown them away. I should have known what this would do to Todd. What was I thinking!?!?!

The teddy bear I have Nash’s ashes in came with a sweater that had his name on it. I didn’t like the way it felt, it was wool and hard, not soft like his clothes, so I put an outfit of Nash’s on the teddy bear. I loved that the neck of it smelled like milk. I would find myself waking up in the middle of the night and smelling it and pulling the bear as close to me as I possibly could. Last week, I started getting upset that it was losing its smell. I needed to put a new outfit on it. I stood in the doorway of his nursery and looked at his dresser. Being pregnant, before I do something I know is going to upset me, I literally stop and takes a couple deep breaths and try and calm myself down. I did this and then walked in his nursery and knelt down and opened the dresser drawer. A drawer I used to open at least three times a day five months ago. His clothes were in disarray from the last time I was in it. I looked at all the familiar outfits. Everyone has a story, a memory. I started to pull them out one by one and smell them to see which ones still had that milk smell.

There I was in a pile of his clothes, crying and smelling them all before finally picking one out. As I put the outfit on the bear, I cried as I snapped the buttons. I hadn’t snapped buttons like this since Nash. The familiarity of matching the buttons up cut me like a knife. The last time I snapped these buttons it was when I was putting this outfit on Nash. I cried and thought to myself how pathetic my life has become, I’m crying as I’m dressing a teddy bear. When I was done, I sat on the edge of my bed, stared at the teddy bear dressed in Nash’s clothes and wallowed in my sadness. Its not fair to be dressing a teddy bear and not my baby boy. I look at all these things he left behind. His clothes, diapers, boxes, bottles, blankets…us. He left us behind and now we have to try and pick up the pieces left of our hearts and go on living without him. It’s hard enough to have all these memories of our previous life to live with, without all the physical reminders….but I can’t get rid of them….it’s to painful. So I’ll hold on to them until I have the strength to let them go. I’m not sure that day will ever come, and I’m learning that that’s ok.

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8 thoughts on “Things he left behind

  1. I validate her desire to hold onto baby Nash and grieve. Don’t force through the grieving process. Just let it take it’s natural course, whatever that may be. Allowing yourself to indulge in the memories and routines of simply snapping buttons is necessary. When I read these passages I feel probably only a small portion of what she is experiencing and believe I would do the same thing. She clearly took nothing for granted, not one snap or empty box. When I hold my babies and remind myself they are four months old and think of Nash, and what if I only had one more month. I squeeze them a little tighter and also inhale the familiarity of the milk smell. Stay strong!

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  2. Thank you so much for sharing your stories. I lost my baby 3 months ago. Reading your posts helps me to know that what I am feeling and experiencing right now is just part of the process and is normal. A “new normal” everyone keeps talking about. Your ability to put into words exactly what your feeling amazes me. I am not sure I could do it! So thank you…..it helps me to feel like I have someone out there who understands my pain. I am so sorry for your loss! He was a beautiful boy and I love his dimples!! Love his name too!

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  3. Your heart always touches mine. I do believe that writing is therapeutic. Your writing I believe will help you. You are truly gifted in that area. Your writing also has helped others. I encourage you to continue writing and will stand in line to purchase your first book. Blessings to you and Todd

    Tammy Jo

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  4. I lost my son, my first born child 6 years ago. As I read your blog I found myself relating. I was overwhelmed with emotion. I can remember this doll my mom had bought me as a child I would dress this doll in his clothes. I slept with it every night when I’d wake in my grief I’d pull it close. I can remember looking at his swing in the corner of the living room knowing I would never see him in it again. I’d go into his room just to look at his things I hated knowing he’d never be in his crib looking up at me again. I miss my son every day. I miss what he could of been. I miss his smell, smiles and being his mom. I wish I could say the grief stops but I don’t think it ever will.

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  5. I think you are a very strong young woman. I do not know you, but I pray life will get easier for you very soon. Your blogs are sincere and I’m sure you are helping many others deal with grief. God bless you!

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  6. I have never personally experienced the loss of a child, but please do not cut yourself short of grieving for Nash. He is, and will always be, your son. No one will replace him. Let him live on forever in your heart and your memory. The child you carry now will be a blessing in your lives, not a replacement for Nash. I Love your Love for him. Always cherish that and know what a blessing he was in the short time he was with you. Take as long as you need to be at peace… God bless you, and so much Love and joy is wished for you both on the birth of your next child.

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  7. We lost our son in February of this year and, like you, I keep a blog on my website. I am so very sorry to hear about your son Nash and I want you to know that I am always available to talk. Most of the people I would consider good friends now I didn’t even know before our son Lincoln passed away. I fully understand the ghost town that use to be a nursery, and the boxes of diapers and wipes that now collect dust in our shed. Its all so very heart wrenching, but those of us who can find the strength to talk about it really can help others through the loss of an infant. Thinking of you and your family, and especially baby Nash.

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  8. I also just want to say that I have not given away or returned any of my son’s belongings, so what you are feeling is completely normal. I flipped out on my husband for trying to give away his Fisher Price rocking cradle. I know he was just trying to help someone out, but I made him go back and get it. I even got upset because people were like vultures…just waiting for me to give them Lincoln’s things since ‘We weren’t using them.” Someone actually said that to me…gave me some sob story about how she couldn’t afford things her baby, but after your child dies you need to think about your well being and are allowed to hold onto every single diaper if you want. Don’t do anything that makes you more sad or uncomfortable. Plus they say never to make any rash decisions or give anything away for at least a year so that you do not regret giving away something that was important.

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