Wednesday, June 11, 2008
To truly know a child you need to go in their room. A child's room is an honest reflection of the little person that child is. This was the case with Hannah and her room. I knew yesterday was going to be difficult, I had anticipated that. I had steeled myself for the hard time I knew lay ahead of me, and I needed to do it, no matter how difficult it became.
Brien was initially unable to help me as the task seemed so difficult and daunting. Lily was sleeping and I went in the Monkey's room and just started snapping photos. I took pictures of all her treasures, of her "cave" of a bed, of her Race to the Finish game, of her journal and diary pages (who knew a five year old could have a diary??). I took photos of her dresses and panties and art work and everything that made Hannah the nifty little kiddo she was. There were so many things I knew about and still so many surprises awaited me.
The task was so daunting I was stymied as to where to begin. I decided piles were my best course of action and began there, sorting into Hannah's treasures I couldn't stand to part with, Hannah's art/writings, items to donate, and trash. The trash pile was the hardest because I knew I was tossing items Hannah considered treasures. There was the bag of Valentines and Valentine's candy she had stashed away for a sneaky treat, the curling ribbons off my Chico's bag, the polka-dotted cellophane taped to the walls. Hannah was simply everywhere and yet, not there at all.
It seemed so strange to be in her room, pawing through her personal items, almost a violation of her trust. How could I possibly go in there and begin tossing things?? Although I've accepted the fact she is in fact gone, going through things and tossing them made it real for me yet again. How, oh how can she be gone? She was so there, so alive, so vibrant and then, suddenly, she wasn't.
Lily awoke, took in the chaos in the hallway and announced, "What a mess!" and indeed, what a mess. I was a mess, the Monkey's room was a mess, the bridge was a mess, Brien was a mess. Lily was pleased as punch to be in Han's room and played around. While I didn't mind her being in there with me, I had a hard time trying to accomplish anything so I begged B to take her to Nana and Pop's so I could just get it finished. Mom, Dad, thank you both so very much for helping with Lily yesterday. Thank you.
Brien returned and we finished the room. We moved the dresser into Lil's room and the one from Lil's room into that room. I say "that room" because, now, it's really not Hannah's room anymore. The essence of the Monkey lingers, but all that made it her room has been stored away, donated or tossed.
Tomorrow Lil and I will go to Lowe's to look at paint chips and other such things in order to prepare the room for Monkey Studios. I'll need to get a mirror and lighting, paint, and new valences as well as a workspace. I'm keeping many of the items that were Hannah's to honor her and to keep her close to me. I'll keep her trash can, her storage containers and all the decorating on them. I've set aside one of her precious Littlest Pet Shop pets (a bobble-headed monkey), and will keep her stereo, monkey lamp and monkey wall clock in the room, as well as her "Tinker" alarm clock.
Before I put anything away, I searched through it--her journal from school, the artwork and drawings that littered everything I picked up. I took photos of all the dresses she adored, the pages of her journal, the underside of her cave where she had smeared Vaseline and drawn pictures, the wall she Vaselined her "moneies" to (don't even ask...). The one thing we have left in the room that literally SCREAMS "Hannah" is her cave. Lord how she loved that bed.
I remember the day we bought it, it was the day after Thanksgiving. :o) Hannah had determined she needed a bunk bed and B and I were more than willing to accommodate. We found the bed at Big Lots Furniture, so of course it needed to be assembled. Hannah flitted and danced around the room, listening to the Christmas music on the radio while B and I put it together. I've never seen anyone as thrilled with a bed as the Monk was with her cave. She called it the cave because she could lie in the bottom bunk and it would be dark--unless she turned on the tiny fluorescent light her daddy had installed. There were bookshelves along one side of the cave that collected various and sundry items--books, tissues, cups, stuffed animals, rocks, you name it. Han LOVED having that light at her disposal. She would read until tired and then turn off the light. The bookshelves also held the remote control to her stereo and she could press play to listen to "Nicolet Arson" (Nicolette Larson--I highly recommend this album) and adjust the volume as needed.
Oh, what a precocious, precious child that Hannah was. Brien and I have talked and talked and talked and I often wonder if Hannah lived so very fully because she was destined to have a short life. I truly wonder. It doesn't make it any easier to accept her death, but I wonder. I wonder many things. How much would she and Lily be fighting now? How often would I hear Hannah tattling? How much fun would the two of them have snuggling in bed together on weekend mornings? How many teeth would she have lost and how HUGE would the new ones look as they grew in? How tall would she be?
I knew Hannah had grown tall and lanky, I just didn't realize how tall and lanky until I was putting away her dresses. I've become quite familiar with Lily's "princess" dresses and know just how long they are. Holy cow were the Monkey's dresses SOOOOO much longer! I know we have asked Grandma to create a quilt of our favorites of Hannah's clothes, However, I had a very difficult time selecting which dresses and outfits to use and gave up. I'll try again some other time as I've just left everything in tubs in her closet. As for her pink blanket and nightgown, they still smell like her and I'm holding on to them as long as I can. I may not be able to hold her, but I can hold them and snuggle them and smell her and weep. Sometimes you just need to cry.
I'm devastated I had to do this, yet relieved it's finished. It was one of my last big milestones, the biggest coming up in July.
In other news, Lily went poo poo on the potty today! Of her own volition no less! I heard her upstairs and queried her as to what she was doing. I RACED up the stairs to celebrate with her, called Daddy at work and attempted to call other family members who were, lamentably, unavailable.
We visited Target today to find an incentive for a filled sticker chart and came away with this and Ruby Mae (who is MUCH cuter in person). I keep reminding her she has to go pee pee or poo poo on the potty and she'll get a sticker, when the chart is full, she gets the toys.
This evening, right before bedtime, Lily was sitting on her potty, trying to make something, anything, happen. She turned agonized eyes on Brien and said (I promise you, this is true, I couldn't make this stuff up), "I can't do it. It's impossible!!" It was all B and I could do to keep from falling on the floor with laughter! Lordy, that is one funny child. :o)
Kat and Greyson came for a visit today, and not a moment too soon. Greyson is getting SO big and has the most delightful little squeal when he's upset. Most babies cry, but not Greyson. He squeals! I LOVE it! Thank you, Kat and Greyson, for coming to play today--I really and truly needed it. :o)
1. Lil's "impossible" comment. Hee hee hee!
2. Kat and Greyson.
3. The temps FINALLY dropped to the upper 80's and the humidity has dissipated. Whew.
4. The new Groovy Girls as SOOOOO cute!
5. I no longer have Hannah's room "hanging" over my head.
6. Even after almost a year, I can still smell the Monkey in her nightgown and blanket.
That's pretty obvious...
Since last summer were the most recent memories of Hannah, they are the ones that keep playing through my head, over and over and over again. I miss her SO very very much.
Oh, and if you know anyone who needs a free, well-loved "cave" (Hannah was the original owner, after all...) please let me know.
One more thing, I took close to 126 photos yesterday and wanted to show them all. The slide show was the best I could do.