The Drawer

Today I cleaned out The Drawer.

We have antique chest of drawers in our entry way. It came from my parents’ home more then seven years ago. She gave it to me just two months before The Accident. She’d bought it at a garage sale and painstakingly refinished it. It was in their breakfast room for years. It’s beautiful.

It was empty when The Accident happened.

In the weeks after The Accident I filled one of the drawers – The Drawer – with things that are all about Andrew and The Accident:
A sweet picture drawn by a young friend
His glasses
DVD recordings the local news stations made for us (of their news stories about The Accident)
The bow tie he wore in the dance video we used for the memorial service
His favorite winter scarf
Programs from the memorial service
A ring pop
Memorial program from “Texas, the Musical”
His wallet
Programs from shows he was in
and more

The Drawer was a convenient place to stuff items I didn’t want to lose but didn’t want to look at. Looking at them hurts. These items have stayed in The Drawer for seven years. They couldn’t hurt me if I couldn’t see them.

This morning she opened The Drawer.

She was just looking around, getting familiar with her surroundings, with her new home. She did nothing wrong. She wasn’t hurting anything. Except my heart, which I quickly saw can be very ugly.

“There’s nothing in there you should touch!” I said too harshly.

She looked at me. “Except the chest. It’s mine,” she defiantly responded.

“No it’s not! It’s mine! You gave it to me almost eight years ago!” I stated. “Don’t open it.”

She quietly shut The Drawer and walked away.

Within an hour she’d forgotten about the whole incident. Dementia assures she forgets things like this. I didn’t. I don’t.

I’m so sorry. I’m sorry I was harsh. I’m sorry my response was so ugly. I’m sorry I have The Drawer full of such things. I’m sorry I have his glasses and wallet instead of him having them. I’m sorry I have video recordings of news stories reporting my son is dead, killed along with four friends. And I’m sorry I didn’t clean out The Drawer sooner.

So, today I cleaned out The Drawer.

I didn’t look at any of it; I just got it all and put it in a box which I put high up on a closet shelf. I don’t have to look at it if I don’t want to.

But I do have to look at her. Every day I look at her. I see her beautiful smile. I see her stunning blue eyes. I see her kindness. I see her need to be taken care of. I see her vulnerability. And I see how I have the power to make her feel unwanted and bothersome or safe and loved with my words and tone of voice.

Now that I cleaned out The Drawer, it’s just a drawer. An empty drawer with no power over me. A drawer she can open anytime she wants to.

11 thoughts on “The Drawer

  1. Miss Kathleen ~
    I know the feeling. I am sorry you, too, have felt it hit you so hard. I totally understand where the feelings came from. It’s coming up on 10 1/2 years since Ethan died. I remember when his sister tried to take the afghan I made for him. I was ssssoooo angry at her. But, now, I see this for what it was…. My baby girl just wanted to take something with her that reminded her of her Eman. Hearing/reading how you are adjusting breaks my heart as to the hurtful way I have kept so many things of his, just for me. 😦

    Thank you for being so open and teaching me today.


    Liked by 1 person

  2. My heart does not know the tragic loss of a child. Thank you for sharing your heart with me, as it will inform my prayers for you, Kathleen. My heart DOES know all too well the too harsh voice used against my own mother and the guilt that followed long after she forgot. Thank you for sharing your story and your solution. It was brave and beautiful, just like you. Like I said, I don’t know the loss you are feeling, but I think God used E’s curiosity to help you take one more step in your journey with grief.

    Hugs, Cindie

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Cindie.

      We each have things in our lives we can easily treasure more than those in front of us. I’m sure it grieves our Father when we place things above people.

      I’m grateful for His grace.


  3. I love the way you write. Your post about the drawer reminds me of my recent experience. I came across a copy of the video my daughter made for my son’s memorial service. It will be 10 years this April that God received my son into Heaven.

    I ended up watching it and through tears, smiled at the memory of his life.

    This journey is made a little easier when we can share our grief and our stories, and then be able to help others going through the loss of a child.

    My son is Adam, forever 27, forever loved and missed.

    May God Bless you,

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Please don’t be too hard on yourself, Kathleen. You had no way of knowing that E would open “The Drawer.”

    Understandably, you were blind sided by difficult emotions when it happened.

    However, later you came up with a solution—one that helps both you AND E.

    The reality is this: you love your mom and she loves you. It’s an adventure, no doubt, but one you both will continue to navigate with God’s grace.

    Love, Ron’s little brother.

    Liked by 2 people

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