Why I still trip over her…
We’ve done a good job of keeping Isabella’s thing in certain places. I know that if I need to feel her, I can go into her room and everything is just as she left it. After she died I had my Mom do a sweep of the house to get everything of hers in bins. I just couldn’t come home and see her book bag in the closet and her shoes at the bottom of the steps. What a horrible job that was to give my Mom now that I think about it. Even hospice came in and swept her existence away. Every single medication that I had to administer, vanished into thin air before she was even out of the driveway.
I have even gotten used to seeing Sophia in her clothing. She has worn it so much over the last three years that they are starting to turn from Isabella’s clothes, into Sophia’s clothes. Every once in awhile she will get me when she puts on her red boots or wears a swimsuit at the beach that fits her perfectly. Isabella’s junk was always on full display at the beach because she never had fat on her booty to keep it tight around her privates. Sophia’s bubble butt holds things in place and she looks like a gap model in the suits that hung on Isabella like she was a skeleton.
But there are still those times when something happens and it gets you. I can be making my bed and have my toes hit something from underneath. I look down and I see her pink Ugg slippers just sitting casually beside the bed as if she just walked in and took them off before crawling into bed with us. We splurged on those slippers because we did lots of walking in the hospital in PJs. $100 for kids slippers seemed silly but we didn’t’ blink an eye at the time.
Then I will grab a notebook to write something quickly and I open it up to find her handwriting. It’s never some heartfelt note to me that tells me how much she loves me from the grave. Instead it’s a note she is writing to one of her friends or a sign that she is making to hang on her door that says, “No Boys Allowed.” I lose my train of thought on what was so important to write because I get lost in a memory of watching her try to write, as neatly as possible, to all the people she loved when she sat in a hospital bed. “Make sure to give this note to Miss Chrissy for me Mommy!” she would say. I hate to think of how many of those notes I threw away because they just said things like “I love you Miss Chrissy” on them or something so simple.
Then it will be silly things, like looking for batteries and coming across paper tape. Only families with cancer will understand paper tape. When she would get her line accessed, the staff would always want to put this massive clear 4×4 bandage around it to keep it safe. While I appreciate the safety measures, getting that thing off skin is a bitch. Her poor chest was so raw over the years from these bandages that getting it off of her was a long painful process that involved lots of screaming and another procedure she would hate me for. In the end, we would tell the staff to use paper tape that was very soft and maybe not as safe for her line but we swore we would be careful, especially in those times when we were just wearing a line for a blood transfusion or a quick chemo. It would pull gently off her skin and we would high-five on how we outsmarted them all again as we walked out of the clinic without tears. All I needed was batteries one day, and that roll of paper tape slapped me in the face.
The longer it has been since she has passed away, the fewer times we trip over her without expecting it. In the beginning it happened often. But as time passes, we trip over her less and less. The times we do trip over her can drop me to my knees. It literally knocks the wind out of you and you find yourself drowning in a wave of emotions out of nowhere. Red boots, slippers, notebooks and paper tape. These are all things that I trip over that make my heart break all over again.