Today totally blew. No other way of saying it … it was rough. The triplet rummage sale. I’ve spent the last two weeks pricing, sorting and hanging all the baby clothes the boys have out grown. I’ve spent most nights crying afterwards. Sometimes while I was working and others in my bed – hours after finishing up and everyone asleep.
Clothes. Something so regular, something so ‘everyday’ has so much meaning when someone is gone. Perhaps it’s because it’s something tangible. Physical evidence that my child lived. Physical evidence they existed beyond a photo. Something that you can still touch, even after the body is gone. Smell, hold, cuddle. Just like I do with my children. Just like a wife did with her husband before he was gone. To sell the last physical evidence that I have triplets was wrenching. Not a sharp pain, but worse … a long dull pain that lasted all day. Hung over the entire day like a gray cloud … nothing was good. It was all grey, even the smiles were tainted with price tags on memories.
I clung to the sleepers. Pressed them on my cheeks. Buried my face in them as I sorted them into bins by their sizes. My logical mind knows that it makes sense to sell them. What use are they in a plastic tote in my basement? I know it doesn’t change the fact that I am a mom of four. It by no means indicates that I am starting to forget or “get over” Owen and his death. I know it doesn’t mean any of this. But it feels that way.
People leave rooms exactly the way they were left for years after a loved one dies. Closets remain filled. Glasses stay on end tables. Cribs still up and dressed. I took Owen’s crib down almost right away. I’ve started to sell his clothes. Am I numb? Am I recovering? Does this mean I’m strong? I don’t know. I feel odd about it because I see most others coping differently with me. I feel like I’m doing it wrong. Why am I ok with this?
I spent so much time grouping all the ‘alike’ outfits together. Matching the three of a kind outfits and carefully pinning them together. I realized when I got to the rummage that they might not sell as much. The people who come to the rummage are mostly parents of singletons. I couldn’t separate them. I didn’t care if they didn’t sell … they were worn by triplets and they should be worn again by triplets. They are soaked with a special like of love that is deserving of another set of triplets. I figured if they didn’t sell at all, I could rethink breaking them up for the spring rummage. I just wasn’t ready yet.
I saw a mom checking out at the next table. She had a TON of the three of a kind packs in her basket! My sister casually asked “oh do you have triplets too?” She replied “No, I have twins. I just figured they were such a good price it didn’t hurt to have an extra one. It’s so hard to find outfits that are exactly the same.” They weren’t going to be worn by triplets again. Could I tell her she wasn’t allowed to buy them? I wanted to hand-pick the buyers who go to take my baby’s clothes home. I’m crazy. I felt overwhelmed and almost angry. When making small talk with some of the other moms, they didn’t understand. Why would they?
So I’ve decided I have the strength to price and hang the clothes, but not the strength to watch who buys it all.
I came home physically and emotionally exhausted. My hips hurt. My knees were sore. The hang nail, that I spent most of the day picking at, was red and swollen. (I tend to bite my nails when I’m stressed or upset.) Yet, I’m not really sure how I’m feeling or what to do. I’m not sure if I’m going to cry again, or if I’m angry/irritated still about the twin mom buying the triplet clothes. I want to ask everyone if they know who wore those clothes before. I want to tell them how much love has been prayed into those sleepers … all of the love I had for my baby has been woven into the fabric. My lips have kissed them. My Owen has touched it. It’s almost like a relic. A relic sold for 50 cents.
This sucks. There isn’t a positive spin to put on this one. There isn’t a blessing that came out of today. It was an experience I had to endure. A trial in my life journey. I ripple in a page in my life book. Heck, I survived to tell the tale … Perhaps I just found a positive?
Dear God, protect that babies who will wear the triplet’s clothes. Let them know Owen in a way that will offer them peace and strength as they grow and learn. Let them feel how special they are. Use the sleepers as incentive for moms to hug their babies a little tighter and for a little while longer. I know I wish I could tonight ….