And that realization hit me like a ton of legos.
I was setting right where he had set one of the last times I saw him.
Last times I saw him. Those words hurt. Those words ache. Those words shouldn't be said.
So many times I flippantly walked by him as he sat there. I can remember him glancing up at me or him being so into his toys he didn't realize I was mulling around his room. I think about how many times I looked at his room and thought, "oh, how I wish he would get this stuff up."
What is it they say? Be careful what you wish for because you just might get it.
What an understatement for my life.
Right after July 4 there was the question of what to do with Noah's room. Keep it the same, let me come home and go through it when I was ready (I stayed at my parents' house for about 2 weeks and was ready to take up residence there but I was asked, no, I was told I was going back home and that Haleigh Raye needed to get back to a routine which we did...very, very reluctantly.) Haleigh Raye had a decision in how to proceed and it was decided his room would be carefully packed up (after several, SEVERAL pictures were taken) and put in storage until I was ready to go through it. Then came the decision of what does his room turn into. A setting room? A study? An empty room to represent the emptiness we felt with him not being here anymore.
July 4 at 11:00 A.M. I walked out of my house with his room like this...
And just a few weeks later walked into this....
The room is beautiful and fits her perfectly. I am beyond grateful for the 50 or so people who worked tirelessly for 3 days straight flipping, not only Noah's room, but my entire house. Haleigh Raye had a lot of input in the colors and setup of her room. I was incapable of making these decisions and honestly didn't care but I never ever have once regretted what was done. It was the best decision made regarding his room and my house and the people who made this decision were the ones, without a doubt, who knew me best. Just a week after July 4th all the old went out of his room and all the new went in her room...except for his television. His loved, flat screen t.v. was the only thing that remained in there of his. (We eventually moved a few things back...little by little.)
It has a special sound it makes when it is turned on and off and sometimes when I am asleep in my room and she has turned her t.v. on (or off) that sound wakes me up and I think "he's turned his t.v. on to watch his favorite show" or "he's turned his t.v. off and any minute now he will be walking in here asking to go outside."
But...of course...then I really wake up and I remember.
This particular day of cleaning out, I had spent a little more time than normal working around her room. I never hang out in there for long either. I avoid it when I can and Haleigh Raye really doesn't spend a great deal of time in her room. She's usually out and about throughout the entire house.
To talk to Noah.
It was something I couldn't shake and was I felt compelled to share with him just like he was there before but this time with so much emotion that it took so much mental energy from me I was exhausted later.
I journaled my thoughts later and my one sided conversation with Noah went something like this:
We miss you. We miss you so. We talk about you often. I try to remind people about you not because I am stuck in the grief process of denial but because I don't want them to forget you. I wake up thinking about you, wondering about you, wanting to go and wake you up. I go throughout my day reminiscing about days gone by. Memories that have passed us. I think about what was, what could have been and what should have been...what should be. If you see me smiling and laughing please don't think you have been left out or forgotten. You are always there and I wear your picture around my neck every single hour I am awake. Know that I understand if I am going to make it in this world and be a productive member of society I can't keep looking back and think about the supposed to's. I have to focus on the what is.
I keep up with your friends both at school and at church. I try to find out what 11 year old boys are into because now you would be 11. Do you have an age in heaven? Do you do anything in heaven for your birthday or is the day you went to heaven now the day that is celebrated. We don't celebrate that day. I will never celebrate July 4th no matter what anyone tells me. It's marked with such sadness that I don't ever see being able to get past.
Do you see Haleigh Raye? Oh, how she's grown. She is such a different person than who you knew. Do you hear her prayers? Do you see her questions about you and why you aren't here anymore? Does God pass on my thoughts to you that I ask Him to tell you? Do you know what happened that day? Did you realize what happened? Did you hurt? My first words to anyone knowledgeable in how you died is, "Hi, how are you. Good to meet you too. Did my son suffer?" Do you know I want accountability for your death. Do you know it didn't have to happen. Probably doesn't matter to you but it does to me. Do you see my anger at your death? That I know it didn't have to happen. That it could have been prevented and not one person/entity has said, "I'm sorry." In fact it feels that I'm avoided like the plague. I just want someone responsible to say something.
Haleigh Raye celebrated her 13th birthday and it was the best time we had in a long time. There was no sorrow just utter joy and it was all for her but you were not forgotten. I've always said if the veil is lifted for you to see us it would be when we are in complete happiness and that night we were. Were you able to celebrate with us? I'm trying my best to be the mom to her I can't be to you anymore. People always tell me, "Noah would want us to enjoy life, the lake, etc..." You were 10. How could even you know what you want us to do? But, there is one thing I will never ever doubt you would want me to do. You loved your sister with all your heart. You did. You were her protector. You shared so much. You shared secrets and many times she will tell me something you all did together that I never ever knew. Oh, how I love to hear those stories. If there is anything in this world I know beyond a shadow of a doubt you would want me to do and that is to take care of her in every single way I can. I promise you with all I have in me I will be a mother to her for both of you and you will be proud of how I take care of her not only for her...but, to me, I am taking care of you too.
Your always welcome to me, Noah. I pray every night to dream about you. Whether it be now or 10 years from now. Your always welcome to me and I will always miss you and a part of me is gone that will never ever be replaced while I am on this earth. But one day, I hold on to the promise of the joy that will come in the morning.
And until that morning arrives onward we will go.