I had a chat with a girlfriend last week who lost her niece at the age of 25 a few months ago. Of course, the family is in the depths of grief and trying to move forward. My friend was quite vocal about 'making sure' the Mom didn't 'get stuck' in her grief....she was going to help her go through the daughter's closet and personal things, making sure any upsetting reminders of the daughter were removed so the Mom could....in her words..."Move on"....(I hate that saying)....so how do we move forward and when? How much time is it 'meant to take' before we can face some of our old memories without crying and feeling overwhelmed by grief? I had empathy for this friend, as she has two healthy children and thankfully hasn't lost a child. So, today, a funny thing happened which led me to question when I will be ready............
Our home association is having a garage sale this weekend and I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to go through Dempsey's toys and get rid of the ones she no longer plays with.....so I can at least get to her closet without the risk of breaking my leg!
So Demps and I sat down in her room, surrounded by her latest obsessions 'Littlest Pet Shop' toys, that are shiny and new, and we discussed how important it is that we give away the old toys to other little girls and boys who aren't as lucky as she is!
Little did I know, I was the one who would be arguing with my seven year old, crying, over keeping an old, broken toy that is no longer useful for anything, other than to me....you see the toy 'I' couldn't part with was one of our daughter Savannah's favorites! It had been buried in the depths of Dempsey's toy box. "Give that one away Mommy, I don't want that!" Dempsey told me. I had to smile and blink away my tears......
The toy instantly took me back to when Savannah was alive, when she was well enough to play with toys, and her hands worked and she could pick things up, and to days when she wouldn't let this one out of her sight! It even had to sit on top of one of her birthday cakes she adored it that much. A simple, outdated, old plastic group of teletubbies....LaLa has the antenna broken off the top of his head, the paint is wearing off and the bottom is all scratched....but I can't part with it! It has too many happy memories attached to it.
I'm wondering, how long it will be before I can deal with her things without crying. Most of them, like her drawings, waa wee(her security blanket, locked in a zip lock bag to preserve HER smell) and other sentimental things, I have hidden in the depths of the spare closet, and under lots of boxes in our garage where I know I won't be confronted by them. I'm wondering if other people feel the same way about their loved ones things....is it just another part of the grief process? I think it's okay to do the things that others think we NEED to do in our own time and on our terms....when WE are ready.
I hope one day to be strong enough to go through Savannah's things, smile, cry or do whatever I feel I'm allowed to do. But until then, I'm stashing the teletubbie toy in my special hiding place....although its old and broken, to me its is priceless! :)