The other night I was watching TV. I never watch "normal" television - it's all Discovery Chanel, Animal Planet, etc. Well I got caught up in an episode of Hoarders. The show makes me twitch, makes me want to clean closets, and throw everything that isn't absolutely a necessity in the garbage. Generally I ignore that urge - I hate housework LOL! But in the episode I was watching Monday night, the woman began hoarding in response to the loss of her daughter as an infant. One scene was of her, in the basement, going through everything her child ever owned - and realizing that it was all damaged from moisture.
OK, I think any of you who know me realize that I can relate, right? I've lost a daughter, and a son, and have held on to a LOT of the stuff they had. Nova lived longer and came home from the hospital for months, so he owned a lot more 'stuff' than Alexis managed to have in the 12 days she lived in the hospital.But the reality is, pretty much everything either of them ever had was boxed up in the closet. And the episode made me realize how silly that is. The 'things' are not them. They don't replace them, the don't even "symbolize" them... they're just used, old baby clothes in the closet that serve no purpose at all except to anchor me to 2 of the most painful experiences of my life. It was "Mommy Guilt" and a sense of scarcity that made me hold on to these things. I realized that these things didn't actually hold my memories of the babies I'd once held - instead, they held me prisoner. It was time to move on and let go.
So I headed to the closet to sort through bags and boxes of baby things I hadn't even glanced at in years. It was surprisingly easy. Don't let me mislead you, I did not get rid of it all. I saved pictures, and items that held significant meaning. But did I really need every blanket Nova owned? Was there a reason to keep all 15 unused diapers? Or the spit-up stained onesies and sleepers? Or the things I'd forgotten we even had, let alone saved? No. Realistically, no.
But it was so much less painful than I expected - so dry-eyed and tearless. And THAT sort of makes me sad - if that makes any sense at all.
All in all though, it was a relief to be rid of some of the things that anchored me to an unchangeable and painful event. I still miss them. And I still feel particularly guilty that somehow Nova was... how should I say it? More impactful perhaps? Is that even a word? I think not, but that's what he was. More impactful. Alexis' things barely fill a small pink diaper bag, Nova's filled 2 shelves of the closet...
Not sure if there's a deeper significance to that fact - or if it's worth examining further? All I know is, for now, I am feeling a bit lighter, in both the figurative, and literal sense.