Sunday, January 6, 2008

Sleeping in Jae's bed

It has been a long time since I slept in her bed. I used to go there often, nightly in fact, in the days and weeks after her accident. I felt closer to her there, and it was filled with so many of the physical things which she held dear. I still feel close to here there in that purple and green room.

When I spoke last summer at the Bereaved Parent National Gathering,..I recall visiting with another one of the presenters. This wonderful man had been a regular speaker with the organization for years, and is highly educated and esteemed. In our conversation, I mentioned in passing that I had not done anything to Jae's room since her accident. He let me finish what I was saying, but then her drew me back to my earlier statement. I can not recall his exact words, but he basically asked if I knew that "not re-decorating a child's room is a sign of poor coping? It often means that you are not moving on".

Do tell.
Well I have a word for him and the rest of "those people" who say I am not coping well with the death of my oldest child.
Shut up.

I can lay in her bed at night and see the fluorescent stick-on stars that we applied to the ceiling.

I laid there last night and recalled the made-up bedtime stories about a mouse named Coco who lived under our barn. (Coco was almost a part of our family. He used to hop aboard the bumper of our Dodge Caravan and go everywhere we went.)

I laid there and recalled the time she had taken us through an emotional eventful night of getting our car stuck in the mud behind the church, then covering her daddy in mud as he tried to get it out of the mud, then him making her wash the car at 10:00 at night because IT was covered in mud, and then her making peace with him about it all. She had messed up, gotten in trouble, and had then experienced the wonderful feeling of grace and forgiveness. It was one of mine and her most tender tuck-in times.
16 years old.

I laid there and recalled the bedtime when she was 10. We had watched an episode of "Boy Meets World", and this particular episode had been pretty frank about sex. As I tucked her in that night, she asked me a question about it. I began to explain some things to her and she pulled the covers over her head and squeaked "No! No! I don't want to talk about this!!"

Sounds of her bedroom used to include the noisy doorknob, her eye-glasses clinking as she took them off, her warbly singing, her cell phone "Rumba" ring, her dresser drawers going out and in, her headboard which is loose and bangs against the wall, and, of course, the sounds of a cheerleader practicing her stunts.

Then there was the time she began to talk about her grades in Algebra and began to hyperventilate. I had to get a bag for her to breathe in and everything.

I laid on her bed last night and recalled 100 more memories than what I have written here.

Right there in the dark,, blankey and mousey, stared at those ceiling stars and missed her with a quiet longing that I have grown accustomed to.

I imagine it may be like enjoying the beauty and sound of this world, but then becoming irreversibly blind and deaf. I don't know.

Her room is always clean now.
Her junk drawer, to my great comfort, still smells like her.
Her clothes are in the closet and her shoes are by the door. If someone goes in there and moves things around, it is no big deal.
The room is not a shrine.
It is my oldest daughter's bedroom.


Anonymous said...

I see you now have some links.

Like them all.

Love you


Debby said...

Becky, I love your blog! Enjoy reading all you post. I read this about another presenter at the BP Gathering telling you that not changing Jae's room is a sign of not moving on. Well, he is getting a whippin' when I find out who would say such a stupid "uneducated in grief" comment. He shouldn't have said such a thing to a bereaved mom. You can keep her room just like you want forever! It's your house! What does he know!!
love and many hugs, Debby
Carissa's mom