Saturday, November 21, 2015

Traces of Charlie

We had just come home from the hospital, leaving our lifeless Charlie behind.  Just the 5 of us now.  Charlie was gone.

I went upstairs to my bathroom searching for signs of Charlie.  I glanced down and noticed that my white bathmat was stained with yellow pee on the edge.  I chuckled thinking about a couple days prior when Charlie was standing diaperless by the tub waiting for the water to heat for his bath, and he peed on my mat.  He always got a kick out of watching himself pee.  I sat there looking at the pee.  Tears began to flow.  That spot was merely a remnant of his living, breathing, functioning body.  That would never happen again.  Sadness overcame me as I knelt down on the mat.  As crazy as it sounds, I pressed my nose to that dry, yellow stain and took in the smell of him.  I just needed something, ANYTHING, that would help me remember his scent.

My parents followed us home from the hospital that day.  Immediately they went into working gear.  They tackled piles upon piles of laundry.  Washing and folding for hours.  I was so grateful.  Later that night I walked into my room to see the piles of laundry they folded and I panicked!  What had I done?  They washed every piece of Charlie's clothes.  Not a scent of him remained.  I had no yogurt, booger, dirt-smeared shirt to snuggle and smell.  I was crushed.

As the days go slowly by, the traces of Charlie begin to fade.

We've already wiped the downstairs bathroom vanity clean from his smears of toothpaste artwork.  Oh, how he loved that sink and vanity.  It was his canvas, and toothpaste was his medium.

I've removed his countertop booster seat and cleaned the floor beneath it that had plenty of evidence of his food-throwing hobby.  He had really turned food rejection into a talent.  His mess used to be confined to the area directly below his chair, but as his abilities to chuck food increased, his damage radius grew to include the entire kitchen floor and its surrounding walls.

His favorite toys are tucked away in the garage and his carseat sits in storage collecting dust.

I know that eventually his room will change.  We will have to take the crib down.  Maybe we will sell that annoying, old, squeeky glider that all my babies were nursed in.  His clothes will get boxed up.

I'm doing my best to fill the house with pictures of him.  We see his darling grin around every corner of our house.  But nothing seems to be a good substitute for the visible traces of his living, energetic presence in our house.  I never want him to fade from our memory.

12 comments:

Sarah said...

I wish I could give you a big hug, mama. Facing the mortality of our little children is something no mother should have to do, and yet it happens still. I'm so very sorry. You're writing is so beautiful and I pictured Charlie painting with toothpaste, peeling on the mat, and chucking food 'round the kitchen. Writing is such a balm to my troubled soul and I hope it is to yours as well.

Marsh Lueck said...

What you have shared& continue to share is breathtaking! Breathtaking in the beauty, the emotions & inevitably the pain that you paint. I cannot imagine, although I try to understand all that you face daily! You & your adorable family continue to be in my prayers & thoughts. Thank you for sharing Charlie. Charlie lives! I am grateful for the understanding that there is a bigger plan, that he, among all of our loved ones who have passed beyond the veil have great work. We too have so much to accomplish, so much to share. I will have to be honest, this experience I am witnessing you go through has shook my world, to be even more grateful for these little blessings in our lives (children). Life is so precious! Love you dear friend! Hugs

melimba said...

I followed your blog back in the day, so when you started writing the story of your precious Charlie, it would automatically post to my feedly account. I know I don't know you, but your sweet memories with your darling boy have touched my heart and I just have tears and tears as I read your words. Having littles myself, I can only imagine the pain and sadness and heartache you must feel. Sending all my love to you, prayers of comfort in your darkest hours, and my belief and hope that you two get to be reunited again and never, ever again be separated. You've inspired me to not begrudge the never ending crumbs, spills, and other challenges that come from toddlerhood, and I want to be a better, more patient mom because of your words.
Thank you for taking the time to record these heartbreaking details. Again, sending all my love.

Rachael said...

Sending you a big hug! Thank you for sharing your sweet memories and thoughts during this heartbreaking, faith building, and fragile time in your life. Love you Ali!

HeatherM said...

Oh Ali, too many tears. You are a gifted writer and I love getting to know Charlie a little better. You have so much strength even when you maybe feeling weak you are strong! I love Charlie and I love you!

Amy said...

I feel like I know him so well. Charlie is Cooper or Cooper is Charlie. They are so alike as I am sure every mother of an almost 2 year old can relate. This post is heartbreaking, and every bit as difficult to read as the title leads you to believe. How will time heal these wounds? I grieve for you all days. God has sent so many blessings your way but I am praying for even more. This is such a depressing comment to leave. I usually have to google positive quotes before I leave you comments. I will do that next time. SO much love dear friend.

forget laundry said...

Xoxo

Camilla Hancock said...

Went to your blog and was surprised with this post I had missed. I'll never, in my whole life, forget your tender hand grabs and hair strokes and that last kiss to Charlie's hands on the day of the funeral. I love your emotions, I love your rememberings and I love you. You've always been on my list of women to be when I grow up and you continue to inspire me with your remembering and your writing.

Minna Dyer said...

I don't check blogs anymore but today, I thought I'd check yours. My heart continues to ache for you, Ali, and we continue to pray for your family to feel the peace and comfort you need. You are amazing. Love you!

merideth said...

just saw this now! i will love every post you do of charlie!!

kt said...

Married by Jack Gilbert
I came back from the funeral and crawled
around the apartment, crying hard,
searching for my wife’s hair.
For two months got them from the drain,
from the vacuum cleaner, under the refrigerator,
and off the clothes in the closet.
But after other Japanese women came,
there was no way to be sure which were
hers, and I stopped. A year later,
repotting Michiko’s avocado, I find
a long black hair tangled in the dirt.

kt said...

Married by Jack Gilbert
I came back from the funeral and crawled
around the apartment, crying hard,
searching for my wife’s hair.
For two months got them from the drain,
from the vacuum cleaner, under the refrigerator,
and off the clothes in the closet.
But after other Japanese women came,
there was no way to be sure which were
hers, and I stopped. A year later,
repotting Michiko’s avocado, I find
a long black hair tangled in the dirt.