I keep the door closed. I tell myself it’s to keep our son from playing in there, getting into trouble in there. And that’s some of the reason. The rest of the reason is that I just can’t bear to see that room as anything other than what it was intended for.
We bought the house with the hopes of filling it with at least another child. Shortly after the buying process began, we found out that our dreams of filling this house with children would come true. That bedroom at the end of the hall would be filled with another little baby. There was our older son’s room, and there was the new baby’s room. And that made my heart sing.
We hadn’t even moved in yet before we found out that that dream had been taken away. The room at the end of the hall still holds all of our son’s outgrown infant gear and clothes, as we thought it would. Only now, they are in boxes and tucked away behind the closed closet door, rather than purposefully and excitedly placed throughout the room.
I opened the door yesterday to place something else in that room for storage, and I was coldly greeted with the musky smell of a house that has been closed up for a while. The smell of cardboard boxes. The smell of inactivity. The smell of loneliness. The smell of the absence of life.
I put the item for storage haphazardly on the floor of the room at the end of the hall, took another sad look around, ushered our son out, and closed the door behind us.
Months later. Sunlight exploded through the window as I slowly moved back the curtain in the room at the end of the hall, instigating the previously settled dust. It began to swarm chaotically in the unfiltered light, creating a glittering effect in the room piled high with unused furniture, boxes, and baby gear.
I stepped back from the window and allowed the therapeutic light to warm my soul. Today is the day, I thought. I took a deep breath, said a short prayer for courage, and then began the emotionally monumental task of cleaning out and organizing the room at the end of the hall.
I pulled everything out of the closet—infant car seat, infant swing, infant play mat, and boxes of infant clothes. All things that had once been useful to our family and loved by our young son, now too big to enjoy any of it.
I pulled it all out, and then put it all back in, along with the misfit furniture and miscellaneous items that had been stored in the room. This time, I carefully sorted, organized, and stacked everything just so until all but a few boxes too big to fit were neatly stored in the closet. My previous experience in this room was to throw the door open, cast the unused item into the room, then quickly retreat, lest the emotion, also being stored in that room, escaped.
When I finished organizing, I sat on the floor in the room at the end of the hall. I was filled with heartache, as I am every day. The blinding pain has subsided, but that place in my heart will always have a rheumatic ache for the child we lost. But on that day, there was room for something else in my heart.
With the clutter now cleared, there was room in there for something previously pushed out by lack of space—hope. Hope in the Lord’s perfect plan for my life. Hope in healing from the Lord. Hope for another child. Not to replace. Never to replace. But hope.
I might not ever understand God’s purpose for this heartache. And that’s ok. But I am beginning to experience a peace that transcends all understanding (Philippians 4:7 NIV). A peace that comes from faith in Jesus and an ever-present trust in His plans. I trust God with my life, with the life of family, with the life of my children—however long.
Only from this peace I find in the Lord can I now truthfully and comfortably say, “It is well with my soul.”
In October 1988, President Ronald Reagan proclaimed October as National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month. "When a child loses his parent, he is called an orphan. When a spouse loses her or his partner, they are called a widow or widower. When parents lose their child, there isn't a word to describe them. This month recongnizes the loss so many parents experience across the United States and around the world. It is also meant to inform and provide resources for parents who have lost children due to miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy, molar pregnancy, still births, birth defects, SIDS, and other causes." (http://www.october15th.com/)(This was written many months ago as I dealt with the loss of our child due to miscarriage. It's almost been a year, and I have found hope and healing. God is so good and has blessed us with another child due in December, but the loss of our second child will be with our family forever.)