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don’t want to leave this house May 11, 2009

Posted by guinever in grief, healing, life, loss.

We’re moving. Our growing family, although diminished needs a little more room. We hinted of it before March 22. But now that leaving is closer to becoming a reality, its hard. I think its harder to leave this house now than it would’ve been before Abby’s death. I feel like we’re abandoning her a bit.

Some might think we’re running away from this house because our daughter died here.

But we’re not. Because of Abby, we want to stay. She’s everywhere. She was conceived in the blue room that is now the boys’ room. I labored in the tub with her. I brought her home to this house. She rolled on the wooden floor and then moved on her belly and pulled herself along, ever a struggle until she was up on all fours. She took baths in the kitchen sink. She crawled and walked and ran and laughed and smiled and sang inside these walls. And then one day she escaped these walls and walked outside and soared to heaven.

And now all we have of her are the pictures on the walls and the pictures in the albums and her memories. And a box in the attic filled with her things. In this house. This home. The memories of her are in every room. Every corner. This house.

In the first few days after death, I sat on the couch nursing Mary, facing the doorway to the kitchen. I ached because I waited and waited for Abby to come prancing through that doorway like she always did. I just wanted it all to be a horrible nightmare, something to wake up from with a start. To slow my beating heart. But it’s not a dream and she’s never walking through that doorway ever again.

She sat on the kitchen counter as I prepared meals and she emptied the plastic containers onto the floor. And she played with the containers in the spice rack. And she was by my side every day as I readied for the day. She opened and closed, opened and closed my makeup drawer in the mornings.

But it’s just a house. Walls and walls and floors and a roof.

We need to let it go. A possession. A home. Someone else can come and live where our daughter lived and died.

We can buy a different house and we can make it our new home.

And next spring we can visit this old house and see the daffodils blooming by our front porch that were given in her memory by so many of our neighbors. And I can take pictures of the dogwood tree, blossoming golden in Abby’s memory. And I can turn the corner and see the driveway where her life started slipping away. And I can imagine the blood pooling on the blacktop. And I can see the steps where I held her lifeless in my arms. And I can remember where she laughed and ran and sang and played. Happiness and joy. So much happiness and joy.

Seven years ago in July we closed on this house and it became ours.

And seven years this house has been our home. We don’t want to go. But we must.

Clay has turned to loose and rich soil under Todd’s constant supervision where lettuce and cucumbers and beans and tomatoes now thrive every summer, even this summer in the drought. Todd painted this plaster covered drywall seven years ago. Perfect satin finish now stained with fingerprints and smudges of boys. And there are knicks on every doorway.

I just discovered this on my computer while looking for something else. I don’t even remember writing it and it remains unfinished. I wrote this four years ago.  We never did move from this house. We spent the summer searching and decided that the best house for us was the one we already had.


1. Karla - May 19, 2009

Such poignant words leave an ache in my heart to respond to you, Guinever, but I never know quite how. I am just so grieved for your loss and touched by your resilience. I love you and your family so much! I’m so glad there are just a few streets that separate our homes.


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