Monday, February 18, 2008

Our Home is More Than a Structure

Logically I know a house is just a structure, but this house and the memories it holds are precious. I know memories will travel with me to my next destination, but this house - our home - will always be more to me than a structure.

We bought our home in the Fall of 2002. We'd seen a lot of different places, but knew instinctively this was the home for us. Right away we made a few changes, but it felt good. It just seemed to fit. In a little over a year, my feelings would change about our home, and I'd know for sure it was more than just a structure.

After we lost Ellie and Kate we weren't sure if we should or could stay in our house. There's no guide for parents who lose both of their children on the same day - who go from having a house full of life to an broken and quiet soul. There's no one to discuss the pros and cons with. Not many people feel comfortable handing out advice to bereaved parents.

We didn't know what to do - so we did nothing. Grieving is exhausting - just deciding what or if to eat was the biggest decision I was struggling with back then. Through the shock, through the numbness, and through the healing . . . we stayed. The same house, that just a few days prior was full of joy and laughter, was now unbearably quite. And yet, it was still so full of love and memories. . . . we stayed.

For months to come I would find little fingerprints on windows and doors. I would find little toys and "treasures" Ellie tucked away in some obscure place she alone was privy. As I would wander through the house at night in a grief-stricken fog, I could still see them sleeping in their beds. I could picture them playing with their toys and eating breakfast at the table. I wasn't ready to let those memories go. I wasn't willing to let someone else live in my house - the house where I played, cared for, and loved my girls. I was afraid the least little shift in my thinking, in my being would make their voices, their smiles, their spirit disappear from my memory.

I don't remember the exact moment or the conversation, but we decided to stay. Staying was going to be hard. Spring was coming. I knew it wouldn't be long before we'd hear children laughing and playing at the park behind our house. I needed something to drown out those sounds. I needed a distraction. We decided to stay, but needed to make our house different. We decided to remodel. The process was definitely stressful, but the distraction was helpful.

Four years have passed. Bedrooms once providing shelter and comfort to our little girls are now occupied by their siblings. Their brothers and sister - too young to understand now - will one day know their sisters. We'll help them understand there were two little souls, who came before them, that taught their mommy and daddy how to love bigger than they ever imagined. Davis, Meg and Kale remind us how fortunate we are to be parents. We are blessed to be able to provide them with a comfortable home and hearts full of love and hope.

This post was submitted to Scribbit's April's Write Away Contest.


Amy said...

My heart just breaks for you loss.

I think in the same situation, I would stay in my home too. I'm glad that God blessed you with more children and I know that they will come to know and love the siblings that they never met.

Alana said...

That was beautifully written. I don't know how, but somewhere along the way I missed the fact that you lost your two daughters. My heart aches reading your story. I'm thankful that you have your home to help preserve the memories and two sweet little ones to fill it again.

Pink Dawn said...

You are so strong.

Scribbit said...

I'm just aching for you. Unless you've lost a child you have a hard time imagining the emptiness of burying a child. My sister's son drowned last Memorial Day and she hates the quiet he's left behind. I can't imagine losing two.

Four years is a long time without them, my thoughts and prayers are with you.

Megan@SortaCrunchy said...

Alana, this is so heartbreaking, but hopeful. Thank you for sharing this little window into your story with us. Thank you for trusting us with something that must be very difficult to share.

laurel said...

This post touched me powerfully. I have linked to your post today. Thank you for sharing this with us. It is impossible to imagine losing a child, much less two, and today, because of what you wrote, I cherished my children in a deeper, more meaningful way.

happyhome said...

What a beautiful post. I am a new reader, so was not familiar with your story. I am sorry for your loss and pray your future is filled with many wonderful new memories as you meld the old with the new.

Blessings and hugs!

LunaMoonbeam said...

That is beautiful...and makes me appreciate my one beautiful little daughter so much more.

Of course, I cannot empathize...a few years ago, I was very afraid of losing something, a gift and a skill that I had been given. I was terrified of losing what I had worked so hard to gain. I prayed...for a way to keep what I had. The answer I got was nowhere NEAR what I thought I wanted, but it turned out to be so much better. I was blessed with a husband with the same skill, able to help me and teach me, as his level was so far above mine. I think Heavenly Father blessed you with more babies to love so you wouldn't forget the first two. He never forgets us.

Going Crunchy said...

Ach, what an ache. You have lived through what most of us would probably say is their worst nightmare...but what shines through to me isn't the scary or horrible or awful part of's your healing and choice of how to see the situation an dyour life. Blessings to you, Shannon