We are moving to a new house for the second time in 11 months. I have moved so many times in my life, but this has been, by far, the weirdest move I’ve ever been through. A very sweet family from our church offered to let us stay in their house while they were in Africa for 11 months. We were so excited because we had been in a tiny two bedroom apartment and we were expecting a third baby. Five people just couldn’t fit in that little apartment but we couldn’t afford a house. So we were excited about this big, beautiful house with a huge yard that we got to stay in. We moved in one week before Lucy died. When we came home from the hospital there were still boxes everywhere that needed to be unpacked. It was mayhem. Our lives were completely overturned.
The family insisted that we use their stuff while they were gone (which was fun because their stuff is way better than ours) so we put our things in storage. Now we have moved to a new little three bedroom house and we are unpacking all of our things that we haven’t seen since January. Since Lucy was alive. It feels like I’m unpacking some other family’s things. It’s the strangest feeling. I was a totally different person then. That family was happy and excited about their new baby. They were EXPECTING a baby. There is evidence everywhere. I found this in one of the boxes that I unpacked-
I keep finding little reminders of the hope we had for Lucy. Her cute little clothes, a Gamecocks baby towel from her Grandma, the nursing pads I bought right before she died (thank goodness I didn’t buy the video baby monitor that I originally had gone to the store to get.) We are also putting away all of the baby things, which is so strange. I thought it would be at least ten years before I was putting away the baby things. No more crib or Bumbo seat or bottles or breast pump or onesies. I’ve also had to gather all of my maternity clothes and store them out of sight. I had some really cute, new maternity clothes for the summer because my boys were both born in the winter and all I had were winter maternity clothes. I was so excited about a summer baby.
And here’s the irony. When we lived in the little apartment or the “6B house” as Liam calls it, all I could think about was moving out. I wanted a bigger house and a yard for my kids and I complained about it to God day after day. It took up so much of my mental and emotional energy. I thought if I could just have a real house and yard then everything would be perfect. So, God gave me the big house and the huge yard and it was the worst 11 months of my life. I barely even noticed my surroundings I was so deep in my grief. Right after Lucy died so many people asked us, “How is the new house? Are you guys enjoying the new house?” and my first thought was always, “What house?” No, I didn’t care about the house at all while I focused on learning to live life without my daughter. Now, I think back on the “6B house” with so much affection because we were happy and all of my babies were alive. How did I miss the blessings that were right under my nose the whole time? I should have been basking in the innocence of a family untouched by tragedy. Our family was whole.
When we moved last week Liam kept begging us to move back into the 6B house. We asked him why he wanted to go back there (our new place is much better) and he never could explain why. He said he just wanted to. But I know he remembers that apartment like I do. My guess is he felt secure there and his Mommy was full of joy then and that was before he had to deal with death at such a young age. Here we are last Christmas in the 6B house when our family was still innocent and complete. I like this picture because Lucy was thriving inside me at the time.
I see God’s providence through this other family’s generosity and their wonderful house even though it was such a hard time for us. It was big enough for us to have lots of visitors and we needed those people so desperately after Lucy died. I am so thankful that we were able to use all of their things because now I associate those things with tragedy. I have so many sad memories in those rooms, and I can leave them there. I’m hoping to leave all the tragedy there too. I have enjoyed unpacking our things, even though they remind me of who we’ve lost. The feelings I associate with my own things are joy and hope and they encourage me. God has protected us through our mourning time and I am thankful to Him for that. I am also thankful for the way He met me in that house while I was so broken. I learned so much about Him while I was there. I leave that house with a much deeper understanding of my God.
So, I am starting this new chapter of my life with a feeling of hope and healing. I needed this new start so much. We also left that house with a new addition to our family- the boys’ first pet ever, Ollie the cat. A neighbor was also moving and couldn’t take her cat with her and asked if we wanted her. The boys are smitten and it makes my heart happy to see them able to nurture Ollie cat. I wish they were cuddling their sister instead, but we are thankful for sweet Ollie who we have to love and take care of. We also now have an attic and a fenced in backyard, which are two things I have always dreamed of having. I feel blessed.
Here’s Ollie cat doing her nightly no-legs pose