I did something I told myself that I would never do. In my eyes, it would be the one thing that erased it all, stole my memories, and broke my heart more than it was already broken. I would never, ever, wash Hunters bedding.
Faint traces of him have lingered on those sheets and blankets the last few months. At first, I could easily pick up a smell that brought me right to him. Over time, it’s been more challenging. Sometimes, like looking for a needle in a haystack. My heart has been aching, especially the last few weeks, I haven’t been able to find even a piece of his scent on his bed. I have searched and searched some days blaming my nose and retrying a bit later. Nothing. In fact, as we have all traded nights sleeping in his bed more often that Id like to admit, I smell more of us and none of him. Its been three months of sleeping periodically in his bed, and its proving the sheets and blankets need to be washed.
I didn’t realize that, had we been sleeping in his bed, spending time in his bed, and crying in his bed, we would create normalcy of life still existing in his bed. And the simple fact is, sheets need to be washed. Honestly, more than every three months but we have been trying to savor something. That something is now gone completely. It probably has been gone for a while I just haven’t been able to admit it. I held on to his scent for as long as I could. I feared this day would come, I just had no way of preparing myself for its pain.
As I stripped the sheets like I used to do many times a day after he would vomit, the memories flooded. I pulled each blanket off, holding it like a piece of glass. Uncovering the blankets, revealed his waterproof cover we put on just in case he had accidents in the middle of the night. “Four year old’s are supposed to have a protective cover on their beds. But four year old’s are not supposed to die”, kept playing like a broken record in my head.
His bed, his space, a sacred spot in our home that is still his. That hasn’t been changed, not one thing has been moved or replaced. His toys still gathered between the bed and the wall where he would sneak them in at bed time and hide them from us. His vomit stains that still spot his precious “blankies” the ones I selfishly couldn’t send to the funeral home to go with him, because I wanted them for the rest of my life. Hunter…. Everywhere in that space. Only, it’s the Hunter I’ll never sing good night songs to again. I’ll never hear him say his nightly prayers again, and I’ll never give him 100 goodnights kisses at his request. All the “stuff” remains, but he is gone.
Washing that bedding felt so wrong. Yet, very much like it needed to be done. If I didn’t do it now, I’d have to do it next week or the week after or the week after. At some point the bedding needed to be washed. I was in the right frame of mind the morning I washed it, which probably helped, but I can assure you, after I pushed “go” on the washer, I shattered.
I keep thinking he’ll just walk back in that room sometimes when I sit on his bed. I trick myself in to thinking he’s just gone for this moment, but I’ll get him back soon. It’s going to be a long forever on this earth with out him. But I know, I just know, it will be a beautiful eternity with him. This life seems long, even longer with out him in my arms. But I must have faith that the moment I am reunited with him, it will have been the blink of an eye.