The other day I was cleaning out the basement. It needed it. Badly. I can't for the life of me figure out how two people can create such an impenetrable jungle of boxes, tools, Christmas decorations and random crap in such a short amount of time. I swear it hasn't been that long since I cleaned and organized it, despite evidence to the contrary.
Anyway, I was deep into the thrilling task of purging and cleaning when I dug my way down to Thomas' crib. Most of his things are in big covered plastic bins on shelves at the bottom of the stairs, but the bigger items (the still boxed stroller, the crib and the bassinet) are over in the larger storage area in the basement.
They're safe and sound, it's just that they were kind of hidden by other stuff. Until I excavated them again.
I stood looking at the crib. I ran my hand along the curved end where once upon a time I'd draped the beautiful pink, blue and white blankie my mom started knitting when she found out I was pregnant with Thomas, and slowly exhaled.
I stood there looking at it. Inconceivable, even still.
Anyway, later in the day I called My Beloved to let him know how the excavation was going, and we got talking about the crib. Suddenly, more than two years after the birth and death of our son, we're having a conversation about the crib. About the fact that neither of us feels comfortable using it for another child (should one, by some miracle, happen to come our way again) because we're nervous that it has been stored, uncovered, in our basement for so long.
Just to clarify, our basement isn't cootie-ridden or infested with anything other than Lucy the cat who occasionally wanders down there to use her box. But it's still a basement with its less than fresh air and, despite two dehumidifiers, slightly musty aroma. It's an ordinary basement. And it's just not where a crib should be.
And we're paranoid.
So there we were, agreeing with each other that we'll buy another crib if the time ever comes. And there I was, suddenly bone crushingly sad, talking about the crib our beautiful son never used, which will now never be used by his sibling either.
And this is why it makes me absolutely mental when people suggest (either outright or by more subtle methods) that there's a finite amount of time to be spent on the task of mourning a child.
Let's just clear this up once and for all. For the blissfully ignorant who just don't get it: IT NEVER GOES AWAY. Never. Not only because it's utterly impossible to "get over" losing your child, but because for the rest of your life there will be situations - like discussions about what to do with the unused crib two years down the road - that will pop up out of nowhere and remind you that your life is touched by an unthinkable sorrow.
Those moments can't be predicted, but they're always going to come. The wound is routinely stripped of its protective scar. It happens All. The. Time.
I was perfectly happy down there in the basement cleaning and sorting. I'd been walking by bins of unused baby things for two hours and coping perfectly well. I'm used to passing those bins. But I'm not used to making a final decision about the crib we lovingly picked out and put up for our darling boy, who never once used it.
You never get used to moments like that.