Sunday, January 31, 2010

cleaning out my closet...

I'm honestly feeling quite motivated to organize my house, get rid of clutter and get ready to move forward with my life but it's so unbelievably hard to do. My house is beyond cluttered (I may soon be a candidate for that show "hoarders") so today I decided I'd start with something small - the hall closet.

I keep mostly towels and sheets stored in that closet with a couple of shelves dedicated to things like first-aid supplies and toiletries. I thought it would be the easiest place to begin, the place with the least emotional attachment. Notsomuch. Who would've thought the hall closet would bring me to tears.

First I found the giant Spongebob band-aids I bought for Peter when he fell and scraped his knee at a playground. I can't quite possibly get rid of those...and I guess I don't really have to. Then I found the unopened bottle of kids' shampoo I must have bought right before they died. Guess I don't need that anymore.

Next I found a partially used bottle of Zofran, an antimedic that was prescribed for Peter exactly one year ago today. He had a very bad gastrointestinal illness last year. I had to take him to the ER at Children's Hospital twice and he missed a full week of school. It's not a good memory, but at least it's a memory. Even if he was really sick, he was still here.

This picture Kate made for Peter when he was sick is still hanging on my wall where she taped it:

She sure loves him!

Then I found the Vicks VapoRub that I used to put on Kate's feet before bed when she had a bad cold and cough (yes I said FEET and really, it works for the cough! ). Again, a memory of having a sick kid, but also a memory of putting her in bed at night, hugging her, telling her I loved her, and knowing she was safe and sound in her bed.

So now instead of cleaning and organizing I'm crying and writing. At this rate my house will be organized sometime in 2016...maybe. I know I need to take my time and I know I need to cry, but it sucks...and hurts.


  1. Stay strong. It is okay to cry!

  2. I think if I were in your situation, I would be able to look at ANYTHING and somehow relate it to my kids. Stay strong. Cry, laugh,hit, scream, kick, do whatever it takes to get you through the day. I can only imagine how much you cherish those memories!

  3. It's hard reading about these bits of two sweet, beautiful lives - I can't imagine how you're hurting. Ditto the above - stay strong; it won't be easy. In fact, do what you can - keep what you need to right now - step away from it all for a bit (I will NOT alert the "hoarders" people :-). Anyway, you're in my thoughts today ...

  4. Keep all those things Amy. They are important for healing. For God's sake I still have a half used jar of Johnson's Baby Cream I used to put on my daughter's faces before they went out in the cold. My daughters are 40 and 36 years old and they are alive. If they had died I would still not have taken apart their rooms let alone get rid of their Spongebob band aids. You will heal in time Amy.

    Ellen Kerr Ryan

  5. Amy - just getting to the point where you were motivated to do some cleaning, then giving it a try, is HUGE. You are taking steps and you also are acknowledging what it's like to take them. Be gentle with yourself and continue on when you are ready.

    Love ya.

  6. Amy - I pray for you, Kate & Peter often. Who would think so many emotional triggers in a hall closet? Your blog post reminded me what is in my hall closet...tub toys, baby blankets, vaporizer, Little Mermaid sheets, Lion King/Simba pillow cases, a Rug Rats throw -- all triggering very specific memories of each my children. What happened to your family completely sucks -- and it sucks that I don't have any comforting words for. Please know we are out here in blog land and will support you in any way we can.

  7. I have a bathrobe of my mothers. It still has a wrinkled up tissue in the pocket. (Hopefully not used) I sometimes wear the robe, I can't for the life of me empty those pockets!
    (Gross, I know.)

    Don't beat yourself up about the house. Make that be the least of your worries.

  8. Interesting that you found Peter's prescription today, one year to the day that it was prescribed. Maybe another "sign?"


  9. I also put Vick's Vaporub on my stepson's feet when he is sick. I know it is partially wivestale, but I SWEAR it helps get rid of coughs!

  10. I'm back - wanted to say to be sure to definitely keep some of that stuff. Band-aids, Vapo-rub, etc. - all trigger very specific, tactile memories. I smell California Baby hair detangler - I think of my now 14 year old as a two year old. Love it. I was just going through some old scrapbook stuff myself and thought of your task at hand. Really - keep it. Remember those moments. Look at one of my posts - I have a pumpkin taped to my daughter's door because my new preschooler brought in to me in the hospital - over two years ago. And, like Eileen (above), I, too, kept something odd of my late Dad's - a post-it in his handwriting with his credit card number on it hangs near my computer (he had wanted me to buy an expensive diaper bag for myself - obviously years ago - he's been gone 4 - I like looking at it - he had funny, boxy handwriting like all engineers :-). Hope you're feeling a little better as the week progresses.

  11. Amy, you do not need to get rid of anything and anyone who thinks otherwise obviously does not have kids. You are an amazing writer for one and even though your blog brings me to tears I am addicted to it. I cannot even imagine what you go through. Personally I do not think I could go on but like you said before I too would be afraid I would never see them again if I took matters in my own hands. You are an inspiration to anyone who is going through what you are. And this site you have created is amazing. You should really consider a career in writing professionally. My son and Peter were in the 3 and 4 year old preschool class together and I can still see Peter's sweet little face getting his mail. A few nights ago my son said to me "mom remember when I got hurt on the jungle gym and that little boy was the only one who asked me if I was ok. Wasn't that nice of him? What was his name again? I reminded him that his name is Peter and that I agreed that he was such a nice little boy. I pray for you and think of you constantly. Try to hang in there because I feel there are many good things coming your way. Do not ever feel like it is time to move on because that is a matter of opinion and no one can tell you when that time is. And if you never move on that is ok to. Hell, you just getting out of bed daily and doing all you do is far more than I could ever do. I will continue to pray for you and hope someday soon the pain eases up. God bless you.