Behind this door lies a story.
About two weeks ago, I was quietly passing Charlotte and Lila’s closed bedroom doors when I was caught very suddenly off guard by a realization. It was the realization that I had walked passed their closed doors at night or during naptime hundreds of times and ALWAYS felt this strange heightened awareness as I went by them. I wasn’t even really conscious of it. The feeling would come and go and I would move on to whatever location I had been heading for. But this time, it was different. I became aware of my awareness, if you will. It stopped me in my tracks and I stood staring at their doors. The sound of their white noise machines filled the hallway and I tried to figure out what in the world was going on inside my heart.
And then it hit me.
Especially that door.
They were shut.
Just like back then.
As memories flooded back into my mind, I realized that the emotions I was having were a mixture of deep contentment and sorrow. How can they even exist in the same moment? And why?
Because four years ago, that door stood open. The walls were green. The plush rug was pink. A rocking chair rested serenely in the corner ready to be used at all hours of the night. Teeny-tiny pink outfits hung on hangers and filled drawers, perfuming the air with whiffs of baby detergent. A crib stood with little birdie sheets waiting to hold a new bundle of joy.
At the end of January 2012, that door closed. All of the baby items we had sprinkled throughout our home were shoved in there. It was the first place we went when we got home from the hospital. Surrounded by Callie’s things, we wept. Whenever we stepped out of our bedroom, this door loomed ahead of us- a cold slab of opaque wood staring at us cruelly, yet somehow still invisible because our bereaved x-ray vision saw through to the other side. We knew its contents and mourned them.
Slowly that year, the door opened. The room transformed, but retained reminders of her- an angel statue, a needlepoint of her name, artwork. Baby things moved to what would become Charlotte’s room. We grieved and hoped and prayed. In April 2013, joy filled every room of our home, the crib held our rainbow, a new rocking chair swayed back-and-forth, back-and-forth. Doors stayed open, unless of course, Charlotte was sleeping.
Fast-forward to 2015, it was almost time for Lila to make her arrival. She deserved her own space. Something dreamed up just for her. Pale pinks and gold polka-dots danced in my mind, but where would they go? We decided Callie would have wanted Lila to have her own space and John lovingly painted over the green with ‘angel blush’, a pale pink with just a hint of peach, but it wasn’t without dashes of pain. Each stroke was a mix of emotions, so complicated, I lack the words to describe it.
Tonight as the girls lie sleeping, the doors are closed. But, the rooms on the other side of those closed doors are full.
Full of light, full of laughter, full of LOVE.
When the doors are open, you can see that and feel it.
When they are closed…
…well, it’s not so easy to see or feel without seeing and feeling the past concurrently.
They say that when God closes a door, another one opens. I guess that’s true.
But I can’t help but wonder sometimes what our view would be like if it had never shut to begin with? What would that little green room have been like? What would that story have been?
I’d never trade the view I have now of Lila’s little toothy grin shining up at me or of Charlotte crying out, “Mommy! I have to go potty!”…
…but boy does it hurt sometimes knowing what lies behind closed doors.
January 27th is Callie’s 4th birthday in heaven, the 28th is her angel day. Like every year, we will be wearing yellow and trying to find small ways to make a difference doing Kindness for Callie projects. We’d love it if you would too.