Friday, February 7, 2020

Packing & Moving

I am on a few Facebook support groups with other DIPG parents.  Many people write asking questions about how and when everyone packed up their child's belongings after they passed away as well as if they moved homes following their deaths.  The responses from the families varied.  Some people packed away their belongings soon after their child's death while others still have theirs left as they were on the day their children passed away.  There is no right or wrong way to do things.  There is no timeline that we must follow.  Each of our lives and circumstances differ so much even though we all feel similar pain and grief.  Do what you need to do, when you feel like you need to do it. 

We lived in a small home and had four children, including Oliver.  Oliver shared a room with his younger sister, Eden, at the time.  A few months before he passed away we painted the room to look like something out of Harry Potter.  Unfortunately he was placed on hospice shortly after and slept out in the living room and wasn't able to truly enjoy it.  After Ollie passed we waited a little while before we went through his things, maybe a month or two.  He had two younger brothers that would grow into his clothes.  We saved all of his t-shirts to make a t-shirt quilt out of (still in the midst of making it...).  Sometimes people make stuffed animals out of clothing, which I've always wanted to do for the kids, but haven't.  A few toys and stuffed animals we picked out to give to his best friends.  Most of his toys his brothers still play with.  I saved a few things of his for myself, like his special Harry Potter wand and a few other small odds and ends of his.  We did this fairly early on.  I threw away his medicine immediately as it was a trigger for me.  Some families are able to keep their child's room exactly the way it was for years, however since it was now Eden's room, we wanted to make it her own.  I can't remember how long it took us to paint the room in new bright colors for Eden.  It seems like it was just a blur of years following his death with my own grief and depression.  My brother painted it for us, as I knew it would have been too difficult for me to paint.  So many things trigger emotions now. 

We moved almost a year ago to a new house.  I had been so worried about moving and leaving Oliver's childhood home.  I wondered if I would forget him more if I moved to a new home where he'd never lived.  On the flip side I didn't want memories that were made there to be a trigger either.  I didn't want to move and then realize that I hated it in the new house and couldn't move back.  However, a bullying issue had gotten to the point where I had to think of the kids and put my worries and fear about Oliver aside.  I knew that he would be with us no matter where we moved.  It was a whirlwind move.  The last bullying issue happened the Monday before Christmas break and we found a house during that break.  We wanted to get out of the town and into a new school district so we moved to a smaller town.  When we went to take a look at the house that caught our eye, we loved it.  We loved that it was in a small town and in a small quiet area.  It was just the perfect fit for our family.  When Ed came back to look at the house a second time with the kids, our daughter looked into what would be her room and saw that they had two cribs in there.  She looked on the wall and saw two framed little baby footprints.  One of the babies names was... Oliver.  He knew my fears and worries about him not being there and he showed us a sign.  We knew it was where we needed to be.  We prayed about it, moved forward with it and everything fell into place.  We closed on the house on Valentine's Day and were moved in later that month.  I think the journey in and of itself is rocky.  Emotions from grief are up and down no matter where you decide to sleep at night.  You can't get away from them.  We have to learn how to deal with all those emotions that will inevitably roll over us.  All I know is that your child will be with you no matter where you are.  I know he's here with us.  I haven't had visions or many dreams of him, but I believe in the signs that he sends me.  I do feel like it was the right decision for our family even though it came with some negatives.  As parents, Ed and I had to make the choice to do what was best for the family as a whole.  I believe that Oliver is wherever we are.