You know, it is coming across stuff that was either Christopher’s or special to him or simply a part of our life together that can most reliably stir up the pain in my heart. I did a lot of going through stuff (feeling compelled to simplify by de-cluttering around the house) last night. I came across stuff that I had never seen before, notes from when Christopher in high school, papers he wrote. Just seeing his goofy handwriting makes me thankful and sad all at the same time.
I still live in the same house where I lived with Christopher and I still work at the same job where I worked when he died. I suspect that until I move, I will forever being dealing with “stuff” that makes triggers intense emotion. I absolutely dread dealing with the garage because that was his domain and practically everything in it is connected to Christopher in some way. It will only be when I move that I will be done going through everything. But then there are still the pictures.
Through the years, thankfully, I was faithful to have taken Christopher to an amazing photographer. Pictures of him are throughout the house. I used to joke that I was sure that there would be days that he would wonder why his biological family didn’t want him, but he would certainly be able to look around our home and know that he was wanted and is cherished.
Lately, I’ve realize that people deal with the loss of a child in vary different ways. I have met two people who lost a child 20 or more years ago and it seems to me that the pain is just as real to them, but they keep it very personal and private, There are times that I am not ever sure that people around them even know of there loss. Then I got to thinking. . .
It makes me wonder if when I move – home/job – if I will be inclined to put out all the pictures that I have out now. It feels weird even now to put up new pictures. I don’t know the answer to that. It is so natural to add to the wall as he grew up, but I am so afraid of creating some kind of memorial that I will forever have to sustain.
(This reminds me of a friend who lost a young daughter and she immediately took down all the pictures from the walls of their family home. They have since moved away from the area and I suspect that their new home is void of evidence of this precious child. Please know that this is in no way a reflection of their love for their child, but rather they way of getting through the pain.)
Having said that, I can’t imagine that there will come a day, even when the stuff is all gone, that I won’t want people to know about Christopher. This is such a difficult balance because I don’t want Christopher’s death to define who I am although it will forever be a part of who I am. Oddly, his life and his death make me who I am, but they don’t define me.
This serves as my reminder that the stuff is a part of who Christopher was, but it isn’t him. As I let go of the stuff, it is not a reflection of my determination to put him behind me. Christopher is and will always be a part of my life and for that I am very thankful.