I started the process of packing up our house this week. It's tedious but we seem to do this a lot, so I'm very calculated in my approach. I'm not sure packing is something that anyone would brag about being good at, but it seems to be unfortunately becoming one of my skills; I'm good at packing... I wonder if I should be proud or embarrassed by that? Anyway, I've been trying to figure out, over the last several weeks, what items to pack and what items to purge. It seems like the question of whether or not keep all of our baby stuff is coming up again. After George Mason died, I told my sisters and the various other people in and out of our home to help, I wanted to get rid of everything. If I couldn't even begin to try for another baby for 18 months, I didn't want to stare at all of the things that should have been being used. It felt like storing all of the things that had been saved from Audrey for her future siblings was the most terrible idea. At least that's where my head was in those initial hours after George's day.

In an effort to respect my wishes and also prevent me from regretting ridding myself of all the stuff from Audrey's infant life, all those helpers just stored the baby stuff away. Out of sight. {hopefully} out of mind.

Well, here we are 7 months later and I'm faced with the same question: to get rid of the baby stuff or not to get rid of the baby stuff. The decision has mostly remained the same, get rid of it. Donate it. Consign it. Do anything but keep it. It seems hard enough to have to sort through it to pack it, I don't want to open boxes a month or two or three from now and be reminded yet again of the baby that didn't come home. It seems like the closet full of baby things (economical as it is) was and is a constant reminder of all the disappointment. The disappointment when we found out our baby was sick. The disappointment when we realized just how sick. The disappointment when we learned that the NICU would be our baby's home for an indefinite amount a time. The disappointment that our son's childhood, particularly his infancy, would be so very different from his big sister's. And then the ultimate disappointment of having to say goodbye and see you in heaven to the baby boy that we had fallen so deeply in love with.

It feels strange to even talk this way about stuff. Generic, not super sentimental stuff. But it's the reality I'm facing and is why I took a trunk load of baby stuff to the local children's consignment shop today. I dutifully, and unemotionally, loaded my trunk and drove to the shop. I brought it in, talked them through whatever questions they had, stood there while they judged whether or not my babys' stuff was good enough for resale. I did it all with a straight face. I did it with a smile even. I took the cash and dropped what they wouldn't buy into their donation box, and took Audrey to the car. And that's when it hit me. The tears that never really came. That weird tremble in my upper lip that always comes when I want to cry but can't. I drove down the interstate back to our half packed house on the verge of tears and I've been in a funk ever since.

I didn't want to open boxes in our new home and find a storage closet for our disappointing memories. I didn't want to have to go through the grief of our son over and over again with each smile and coo of the new baby as they played on the activity mat that he should have played on, or as they refused a bottle just like Audrey did. Those baby things were full of disappointment and getting rid of them was supposed to be a good thing. I think it was. But I also think it was one more piece of this grief journey. I guess there's no way to really know if it was the right decision or the best decision or whatever. But it did unveil another layer of processing. As I sit in the haze of this funk, only one thing is actually certain: God is always good. Despite my experience with the brokenness of this world, God is still God and that means he is good. It means he is working. It means that this horrible piece of my story is working towards His glory. His promise that I'll come out of this with a greater love for Him has already proven true. I do love Him. I long for answers to this death, but even if I don't get them right away, I so deeply love my Father in heaven. The theological answer is that He is all I need on days like this but it doesn't always feel true. But there is a very large part of me that only wanted Him as I drove through those almost tears. There is a very large part of me that knows, and feels, that He really is enough. So haze/funk or not, to my Father I turn and lift my gaze. Today was hard but today was another day that He gave me strength.


I saw in the night visions, and behold, with the clouds of heaven there came one like a son of man, and he came to the Ancient of Days and was presented before him. And to him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve him; his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom one that shall not be destroyed. - Daniel 7:13-14