About 30 minutes from my current home is another home that once my small family resided in.
This home was the last home I felt unconquerable in. The last home I slept without fits and the last home in which I had two healthy daughters. In this home, I picked figs with Linley for snacks, I planted mint and dahlias and confederate jasmine on my pregnant knees. It was here I have pictures of my belly swelling and my four year old daughter painting the rocks we would find. Where I brought my second born home from the hospital and rocked her to sleep. Where I prepared sliding contest for Linley and her friends across the old antique hardwood floors with pillows and blankets. At night we would leave our windows down and listen to the cars pass us by and feel kept. And hopeful for this new season and the growing relationship of two sisters and the redemption of a marriage gone awry.
The last night I slept there was simple. Small talk of Piper and her appointment the next day to check out her fever and the diaper rash she continued to have. Chatting over dishes, I imagine. Laying out pre-school clothes for Linley and filling up diaper bags. Chad offering to take the morning off and to go with me to the doctor...me accepting.
The next night was spent in a room at Athens Regional. Test were run, Chad and I traded off waking with the wee one and Linley slept happily with her Nana. All was still well, in our minds.
The next day all was rocked.
And the simplicity of fig trees and white rockers and doing evening dishes by hand was long gone.
Never to be retrieved again.
That home never housed one of us again. Our heads never found peace in the pink and yellow and orange and red walls that I had so (over eagerly) painted with Chad and my dad.
Today I drove to that town for the first time since Piper has died. I realized that I had not gone to that area since Piper had died about 15 minutes into the drive. At that time tears began to fall and I sobbed the whole way there.
I did my sobbing and then I did my shopping at the gardening outlet where I picked up some crocus and tulips bulbs for spring and some pansies for immediate gratification. And then I drove. A little aimlessly, though I think my heart knew the plan. A left here and right there and next thing I know I was passing the little home of my past.
It looks much the same. I know who lives there now and she would happily let me in, if I were to want to walk the floors and touch the walls again. But the walls are surely her own colors now and the floors haven't seen my daughters tread in many, many months.
This home was important to me. It held a beautiful possibility for us. It both saw my marriage crumble and saw it redeemed. It saw me cry for the wanting of a sibling for Linley and it saw me walk in the door with the perfectly created Piper. It housed parties and children and laughter and a crazy mess load of dishes to hand wash each night. I bumped against the walls with Pipers glider as I soothed her to sleep and it heard me sing "the blessing song" to Linleys sleepy self.
This home is impossible for me to move back into. Physically yes, but mainly emotionally...I can never get back to that place of earnest optimism. We have been tainted by our grief and our experiences and our loss.
When I drove by today...I sobbed.
I drove by 9 times before I felt the tears let up and I finally took a left and went back to this new home I have. The pain stays...the memories sustain...there is always the hope for tomorrow...for this new life in me and for the 7 year old who holds my hand...for the spouse who holds me as I weep and who weeps when I hold him.
But that little home will always remind me that once, we had it all.