Tidying up a life…

I feel so sick that Abi has gone. I just can’t believe it. How can she not be here? There is such a huge void without her presence.

When buying cakes at a sale today, I chose four. Now, I would normally do that because I wouldn’t usually have one (watching my weight). But I looked down at the four and realised that I’d be able to have one this time… I just wanted to break down.

There are so many small aspects of life now that hurt me so much.

I’ve packed Abi’s school books, drawings, certificates, cards and funeral memories into strong boxes. Her clothes I’ve put back in her drawers and hung in the wardrobe. Her shoes are under her bed. All her school stuff (PE kit, bags, pencil cases etc) are in the wardrobe. The Olympic duvet cover has been changed to a brand-new one and her duvet cover and sheets have been put into a specialist wedding dress box, in the hope that it will preserve her smell.

When I tided her things away, I did it with my ‘busy mum head’ on… the usual running about the house tidying away without really thinking about it mode. That helped me get it done. But sometimes it has proved so moving, so heart-breaking, that I can’t do any more than a few minutes before I have to give up and walk away.

I’ve sort of packed her life away, but what now? I know we need to do more to sort the things. What do we keep? What do we get rid of or give away? I know we can’t keep everything, well we could if we really wanted to, but I don’t feel like we have to hold on to every single thing, but where does that leave us…?

Only a week before Abi died, I listened to a woman on the radio who had called in about why she has not changed a thing in her dead daughter’s bedroom in seven years, she was still very emotional and fiercely protective of her little girl’s bedroom. I could understand her reasons, and I recall feeling sad about what had happened to her, but I considered that it seemed ‘unhealthy’ that this mother had not felt able to change the room at all. She was now in a position where she couldn’t sell the house, to live her life, because of that room. I do have great attachment to our home; it was where our son was born, and now where our daughter died, but this attachment isn’t felt in the same way as that mother.

Abi is everywhere, and everything reminds me of her in some way, but I know that my true memories are in my mind and heart, and in the minds and hearts of those who knew and loved her. She lives in me in my memories of our chats, our cuddles, of the fun we had, the sadness of the tiffs, regrets of things not said or done. I knew that if I left her bed any longer then it would almost be too late to change it, as each day passes it would be harder and harder to do.

But now that everything is packed away, almost out of sight, it needs to be sorted through. I’m not in any hurry to do that part, it will take some time as we still need to read through everything carefully and I know each day will be different, but we’ll do it together slowly, as a family. But then what? I guess we’ll put it in the loft – but somewhere accessible so that we can reach it whenever we want.

This week, I bought a new locket and a small silver pill box for my husband to carry around with him. I got his engraved and in it I placed a small photo of Abi and a lock of her hair. I sat on our bed, cutting her hair into a loop to fit in the box. Some hairs came away and I was so careful to keep them. Never has a strand of hair been so valuable to me. I recall thinking what a ludicrous thing it was to be doing on a sunny afternoon at home. I should be doing mundane, routine things, not putting my child’s hair in a keepsake! But a locket is one way of keeping her close to me at all times and, at the moment, gives me more comfort than seeing reminders of the things she loved and used every day that won’t ever be touched by her again.

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2 thoughts on “Tidying up a life…

  1. I think many people reading this will recognise your pain, the unbearable grief, the shock of realising you can never see that person again, talk to them, laugh with them, hug them.I feel that shock hit me now sometimes, 4 years on from losing M and B. How can they not be here? I knew and loved them for 50years, they were an everyday part of my life? Tidying up their lives was difficult enough, all those memories, their treasures and mementoes, but it has to be done, because they have come to the end of their lives, lived their ‘three score years and ten’.
    Your Abi had her life in front of her, all that life to live, ambitions to be achieved, people to meet and love, new worlds to discover. Sadly, this won’t happen for her now, but it can for you all, so live your lives to the full, embrace every day, laugh every day. Abi will love you for doing this for her.
    Keep writing these blogs, your words draw us in…

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