You’d think by now that we would be getting used to the change that came into our lives so abruptly on February 17, 2008. For the most part, we look like any normal family doing normal things. (Although, perhaps calling us normal looking might be a bit of a stretch. We are a peculiar lot. 🙂 )

Still. Life will never quite be as ‘normal’ and simple as it was before. Sometimes it gets downright complicated.

I have been bitten by the redecorating bug, and am in the process of reorganising the tv room, which formerly doubled up as Jenna’s playroom. I want to turn the room into a cozy den for hubby and I, or for the kids and their friends, and since color is the thing that speaks to me most when I am decorating, I have wanted to move everything that ‘doesn’t go’ anymore, out.

I am grateful to be able to pass Jenna’s big pink dollhouse on to her bestest friend Joseph’s little sister. I didn’t want to pass it on to a stranger. I am really OK with letting it go, though it took hubby a little longer to agree.

It is the colorful plastic drawers that I moved into the walk-in closet in that room that bites. It would be so fine if I could reorganise the stuff in those drawers to make space for the the pairless socks that I stubbornly hold onto, or the growing pile of sheet music that hubby drags home after each church service. It could hold a sizeable chunk of all those other little odds and ends that spill out of their baskets or off the shelves and cry out for better organisation.

It bites, it really does. I am not ready to empty the contents of those drawers, or even to move the contents into another space. They contain the teaset and slice-a-rific sets we had given Jenna for her last Christmas with us, the dolls that went with her dollhouse, a miniature princess castle that enamoured her the moment she laid eyes on it. I pulled open one drawer, and at the very top was a teacup she had played with a few short days before she left this house for good, the inside still encrusted with sugar.


I sat on the floor and sobbed. Part of me was angry because if Jenna were here with us I would have no qualms about moving her stuff around. But she is not, and I am so torn between wanting to keep everything the way it was and moving on. Seeing her things spark memories, and I don’t want them to fade. If Jenna were here her things would mean little to me, but now they are all I have.

I am letting go, little by little. There is a bag of soft toys downstairs that I will be taking to Goodwill soon, but I arranged them all together in groups and took their picture before dumping them in the bag. For memories’ sake.


I will be taking pictures of her teaset and dolls and castle one day. But right now I am not quite ready. And part of me wishes that I was.


16 responses to “Things.

  1. ah, Sumi! I hear you and this post really is where I am at also! I cling to the few things I have that remind me of Ellie, but really wish I could let them go. Praying for you!

  2. I’m continuing to lift you and your family up!

    I lost one of my best friends this past week….grieving is a process and not much sleep has been had. My Great Aunt (who was 101) just passed on Jan. 12. So close together…

    I mention this because you talked about Jenna’s things. One of the first things I did when my Aunt and my friend passed was gather things they had given me.

    Reading your posts really inspire me. Thanks so much for your honesty…

    Love you!

    Cynthia Y.

  3. jesslovesjesus

    Oh, Sumi…

    Sometimes I feel like I don’t know what to say on your blog…like I’ll just be insensitive…But this post…Well, you say your heart so well.


  4. Sumi,

    I came across your website yesterday via a comment you left on the CaringBridge website.

    We lost our 2 year old son last August. In all of my pain, I am thankful to connect with someone who knows what we are going through. Even though I wish that nobody had to feel this agony, it is good to know that I am not alone.

    Each time I find one of Mark’s toys, I absolutely can’t hold it together. I can’t get rid of his pacifiers, sippy cups or even wipe the spilled milk stains off of his bedroom wall.

    I will think about you each day.

    Angie Z. (Mark’s mommy)

  5. Sumi,

    Thanks for the comment! I have not been to your blog in such a long time. With moving, my life just went crazy. But I sat here this morning and did some catching up. So much of what you say mirrors what is in my own heart…

    What to do with things that were Ellie’s has been quite a journey for me. I think that each person who loses a child has to figure out what works for them personally. I have determined to keep the things that remind me most of Ellie, but not to store them up in an attic to take out and cry over once a year. I have sprinkled them throughout the house – some visible, and others in small boxes on bookcases. Some have been absorbed into Ethan’s room. But Ellie had so much stuff, that I gave lots and lots away to her friends. The things that I kept were the few precious and meaningful things. Because Ellie will always be part of our family, but in a new and different way, it felt right to me to incorporate her things in a new way. Now it feels like the perfume of who she was sort of fills the house… there is something special in every room.

    Sorry… didn’t mean to make this so long. I just wanted to encourage you to go with your instincts. You will know what to do and when to do it.

  6. still hanging around….its an ache that is with us forever in this life….we miss them so much, don’t we!!!!

  7. Dear Sumi–

    During my trials with Camden I have thought about you almost everyday. Really. I have prayed for you over and over. I truly hurt for you, and have cried for you but most importantly I have thought about what an awesome example of Christ you are.
    You are loved….you are an inspiration to me. Thanks for sharing your heart!!

  8. I feel as if I’m a day late and a dollar short here. I’m so sorry for all the pain. I get it, I truly do. Big fat HUGS, Sumi. Big hugs.

  9. Sumi,
    I am so sorry and fully understand the need to move on but still hold close to Jenna’s things. I still have letters I wrote to my kids after the divorce, toys they played with at my house, drawings they made. their favorite outfits. It took a long time and I still have things I can’t bear to let go of. One day, perhaps I will be able to as well. HUGS.

  10. I’ve accepted that whatever I associate with Loren will touch a very raw part of me. Maybe forever. Like when a step-down facility phoned me and asked if I would like to sell Loren’s suctioning machine. (I hated the thing) And I just couldn’t sell it.

  11. HellO My Friend (well I feel like you are even though we have never met)! I just stopped in to check on you. Thank you once again for your candor. Your sharing about the drawers is so moving and heartbreaking. We have several of those in our home with my little ones’ things in them. I will think of you when we put things back in them at the end of the day, and say an extra prayer for you and for my little ones (and thank God for how meaningless those things are to me from this vantage point, as they once were to you). Hugs to you.

    A “friend” praying for you in MD

  12. Just a thought…maybe in time you can take pictures of Jenna’s special things and then make sort of a special children’s book…i.e., A is for Alligator (or whatever you treaure of her’s that starts with A), T is for Teacup, C is for Castle..etc. Then you can treasure the book and one day pass it along to a little grandchild of yours. Maybe you even have a friend who would make this treasure for you….

  13. Thanks for writing this. Papa God knew I needed to hear His voice tonight, and you helped me hear it in the midst of the silent wilderness I’m in right now. Thank you.

  14. I had to stop by today. Not long ago, I was catching up on your blog, and my 7 year old daughter wanted to know who the “cutie” at the top was. I told her a bit about Jenna and about the blog.

    Last night, we were driving with my mom in the car, and randomly my daughter said, “Grand (my mom’s grandmother name), I know a girl named Jenna. She doesn’t know me though. Maybe she does, because I think she watches me from Heaven.” My mom just gave me a look, and I told her that I would tell her about Jenna later.

    Granted I never had the opportunity to know Jenna, but I keep doing my best to keep her memory alive from what I do know. Thank you for sharing her life and your life with all of us.

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