So, today I took a big step in my grief journey. When Zachary passed away, I made Jonathan bring his hamper home from his dorm room and it has been sitting in his closet with his dirty clothes still in it. Just sitting there. It has been sitting there for over a year now. I go in occasionally and smell them. I know, gross right? If you’ve lost a child, you know how fantastic the smell of your lost child is. You know what you would give to have that dirty, sunshine smell hair and skin come walking in the door from skateboarding and just inhale it and never let it go.
Today, I let some of it go. It all started with a shirt. This shirt in particular.
Sarah’s style has evolved and she asked if she could have her brother’s Fun concert T-shirt’s. This is a really big deal for me. Fun. was the first and only concert Zachary had ever been to. We went in the summer with my sister and her family and my brother-in-laws side of the family who I have known since I was I think 18. It was such a fun night and Zachary was so excited we were able to get T-shirt’s. He almost wore his out so he asked if he could have mine and wore it so much it is the perfect softness. He wore that shirt at least once a week from his Freshman year until he graduated high school. It didn’t make the trip to college with him but mine did. It was in that dirty hamper.
I went through that dirty clothes hamper today. I got every shirt I thought Sarah may have a chance of wanting and washed the boy out of the shirts. This is a huge huge huge step. I did have to save one shirt and put it in a ziplock bag. You see, when I picked this shirt up in the hamper, it literally smelled like Zachary was giving me a hug. I couldn’t let this one go.
This was another one of his favorite shirts that was worn on repeat for several years and it made the trip to college. It had gotten a little too small and almost too short but he still wore it and loved it. Maybe one day I will be able to wash this one but I doubt it. It went into the ziplock with Zachary’s Rogers State University T-shirt. There are some things a Mommy just can’t let go of. I did manage to get quite a stack for Sarah that she got to pick through. The rest of the now clean T-shirt’s will go in his dresser drawers till I decide what I am ready to do with them.
I know it seems like such a silly thing. That clothing would hold so much value that you wouldn’t wash it. I know it probably makes me gross because I go in and smell it but, I miss it. I miss what I always called “sunshine” on our kids because I never wanted to tell them they stank. But today, I did it. I let go a little. It’s baby steps. There were tears and I let them come and accepted them for what they were. They weren’t sad tears. They were tears from remembering a beautiful boy and the wonderful short life he lived. He is missed so much.
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