Drew and Nate shared a room. We actually made the choice to put them in the same room long before we had Kaylee because we thought it would be good for their bonding and as they grow. I don’t know that Nate ever remembered having his own room honestly. It was “Drew and Nate’s Steeler room”. Justin spent two weeks during his time off painting over the dark green walls and removing airplane border. He painted three walls gray and 1 wall with gray, yellow, and black stripes. Its a cute room! The boys spent bedtime reading books together. We’d often hear giggling from the room when they were supposed to be sleeping and often we heard bickering too! They shared room space, toy space, closet space, everything they knew they shared. Last summer, it was becoming apparent that as the boys grew they were out growing their little room. Their clothes were getting bigger so the closet and drawers were overflowing. They were acquiring more things and the room was just not big enough. We didn’t have a bigger room to move them to so we had begun brainstorming ways to make more space in their room. We had priced bunk beds and also looked at building beds with dressers underneath. We had plans in place to make changes to their room by Christmas 2012.
It’s been a difficult journey for me to enter Drew and Nate’s room. Because now it’s “Drew’s room” but Nate’s bed still remains as he last left it. His clothes still lay on the corner of his bed needing to be put away. We even left the dirty pajamas we found he’d tucked behind his Happy Napper stuffed animal. His clothes are still folded in his drawers and half the closet is still his. I still tuck Drew in every night. I lay with him and hug him. But I admittedly, don’t spend as much time in his room as I used too. It’s hard to be in there. I feel so guilty because that is not fair to Drew.
Today, as I spent the morning trying to unpack from vacations and prepare for the school year, I entered Drew’s room to try to clean and organize. I still needed to put away the stuff from Drew’s bookbag at the end of last school year. I needed to unpack his bag from the beach. I needed to double check our school supplies. I need to go through his clothes to see what will fit this year and what he needs cause he just keeps growing taller! In that I’m faced with knowing I don’t have Nate to hand his clothes down to and it’s one more heartbreak. As I processed through the to-do lists in Drew’s room I found myself getting very upset. It’s hard to see Nate’s crafts, his junk drawer (yes, he had his own little junk drawer because he kept everything), his baseball picture with his cheesy smile, or the picture of Drew and Nate hugging at the zoo. I get upset when I try to move things in their room because it means I have to move Nate’s things or be confronted by his untouched space. Today, my efforts of organizing ended with me on the floor with tear filled eyes clinging to, hugging, and smelling Nate’s shoes. I miss him. I miss him so much. I miss his smile. I miss his smell. I miss his spunk.
I know we need to do something with Drew’s room. We need to organize. We need to make space. We need to get him a new bed. But how do we ever move forward through that? I can not pack up Nate’s things. I just cant. I’ve been struggling with that for a year and this morning I decided – I just cant. I’m not sure I will ever be able to pack it up and put it away. I will not ever put Nate away. He is with us and a part of our lives.
As tears flow, and hit my keyboard as I type, I am heart broken. My heart aches unbearably.
Next Saturday, there is a playground dedication for Nate’s playground at MES. Immediately following Nate’s death, we were asked if there were any charities we’d like to make donations to in lieu of flowers. Without second thought, I spoke up and said, to the playground at Mechanicsville. I remember as I looked at Justin for reassurance in that decision that he started to cry and said “Yes, to the playground”. It wasn’t a “charity” but in my mind I couldn’t think of anything else than helping with what I figured would be possibly a couple hundred dollars donated toward the playground and something Nate would love. I am still in shock and awe over the generosity of friends, family, the community, and the fundraisers that helped raise all the money needed in only a few short months. These past few months have been hard. I never in my life imagined a day where I would be cutting a ribbon at a playground dedication in honor of Nate. I never imagined a day where I would have to pick out a memorial boulder or plaque. I never imagined a day in these shoes that we now walk each day in. But I am thankful we have been blessed with support from so many as we face each new day in these shoes.
All my Love,