Follow me on the crazy, hopeful, discouraging, funny, and ultimately successful (one way or another) path to parenthood while facing infertility.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

My Space, Haunted By Ghosts

I bought a lamp this weekend.

Isn't that exciting? The thrills of my life lately.

It actually IS exciting, as it was a bit of a splurge and I just love the details in it, and it is part of the continual transformation of the upstairs little room into MY space, MY room.

It's got branches! And it's three-way, so soft light to bright light options.
It hurts even to say that, MY room, instead of The Baby's Room. Even though no baby actually lived here, and no baby actually existed that was kinda-sorta-definitely going to be ours, it's a hard thing to think of this room as something else, something other than what we'd planned for it to be.

I bought the lamp where we bought our living room furniture, and I'm looking for a piece to go where the crib was, something with some closed storage so I can move some of my craft supplies up from the basement where they languish fairly ill-attended. The shop owner was asking what kind of space I had, what kind of furniture finishes I had, and all I could manage was, "Well, it's a 90-square foot space, real small. It used to be another kind of room and now it's...not. I would like it to look as different as possible from what it was before."

I didn't tell her what it was before. I didn't feel like it. I felt the dark hole opening up inside me though, and a shadow overtook me and followed me the rest of the day.

For as beautiful as the room is becoming, it's going to take a while to think of it as a rebranded space. The ghost of What-Could-Have-Been lingers, and will be somewhat exorcised when my desk arrives on Tuesday and I can find a piece to go where the crib once was.

Things like this make it hard:

Creepy stuffed animals looking down on me. The owl on the left is a puppet, the barn owl I just love, the elephant was a gift from my grandmother, and the teddy bear is a really nice soft classic thing from a retired social studies teacher. I donated the rest, but these I wanted to keep. Maybe.
Do I donate them? Hang on to them somewhere a bit less visible? I am still filling the shelves in here, deciding what to put where. You can see this cast of characters from the street. Maybe it's not the best idea to keep them here.

But then there's the chaise lounge corner, which is turning out quite cozy (need one more pillow though, not quite right yet): 



I found the owl print at Target. It isn't nursery-like, but there were owls in here for a reason and I really, really liked this one. It reminds me of something my grandfather once had, I think. My memory is fuzzy on this one but it called to me and was the only one in the store, so I bought it...

Coy little thing.
And lastly, I hung this cat bell that my father gave me, I think from Japan, above the weird raised cat sculpture print we bought at a Renaissance Faire a few years ago: 


I always sort of envisioned an Owl & Pussycat theme in here, but then it became the Treetop Friends stuff on the bedding with birds, and so I sort of abandoned it. Well, happy Owl & Pussycat office theme. It is super cozy. 

And also sad. 

I am real, real sad tonight. I am struggling today, which is totally normal given the loss sustained. The shifting of our house to spaces that fit the life we actually have, not the one we wanted so much that just didn't come to fruition. The reorganizing, realizing I have all these things I was saving for our children and don't know what to do with anymore (jewelry from my childhood, books from my childhood, things I just don't know what to do with now that there's no next generation to gift them to). 

I am looking forward to the arrival of my desk and bookshelf Tuesday. I am looking forward to closing out this space and making it mine, all mine. It is a healing thing, but hard, so hard. I've vacuumed several times since we disassembled this room from what it was, and in doing so erased the marks from the feet of the crib. Except for one, which I can see has survived, next to the baseboard. A tiny impression of what once was, what was hoped, and what now belongs to someone who can actually use it. 

Transition is hard. Making this space over into a beautiful reading and writing sanctuary helps. Still, I am plagued by the ghosts of what will never be. 

25 comments:

  1. Transition is so hard! And I really do understand the ghosts that you speak of. But I love how you have reinvented the space and made it yours!

    I've been able to purge most of the baby stuff, but there are a few things that I just can't. Books, our childhood stuffed animals and blankies, and a few other odds and ends. I hate having them in my house but I can't bear getting rid of them. I've come the conclusion that I don't have to do anything about these things until I'm ready.

    As always, sending many hugs and much love!

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    1. Thank you! The desk comes tomorrow, I can't wait. Yes to the just can'ts. I have my box of things, but I also don't want stuff like toys or books to rot here, either, having a sort of life unlived. I think I did pretty well getting most things on to a new life, possibly with a tiny baby already. You're right, why rush the other things? Keep what I need to, and evaluate as we go. Once it's gone there's no getting it back. Thank you for the hugs!

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  2. Long time reader. You express yourself with a poetic and raw honesty. Your willingness to share such an incredibly painful journey is awe inspiring. This life is hard and unexpected and often painful. The dedicated and relentless keep looking for moments and parts of beauty no matter what. My heart aches for you but also rejoices for you as I can feel that you will find new joys and loves that you may not yet even know of. Hugs.

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    1. Hello! Thank you so, so much for the very high compliments. I appreciate you aching with me and feeling the hope for me that I can see a sliver of, that I cling to in hopes that something good will come of all this heartbreak. There is actually so much good mixed in with the losses. I so appreciate your thoughts and hopes, and the hugs especially!

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  3. The ghosts are understandable given all that was planned for (worked for, bleed for, etc). Following any trauma, I think it's completely normal. I will echo what BnB said about giving yourself permission to make decisions when you are ready. For now, hold on to those things that are precision and deal with the "what to dos" when it feels like you can. No guilt or stress.

    The room looks lovely, btw. You are doing amazing work with it.

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    1. Oh, yes. It's a haunted house right now, even as we've worked so hard to transform it relatively quickly. I always need help to not feel the guilt and the stress, but it's good to take time with some things. The transformation is incredibly healing...having a room for someone who didn't exist for so long and so many things stored for a What If became heavy, and now things are lighter in that regard although obviously still real sad. I am loving my new room so far, can't wait to get it all set and feel like Virginia Woolf, you know? Thanks for the love!

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  4. I love what this room is becoming but honestly I hate that it has to become that way. Sometimes I just don't understand...please just know that I keep you so very close in my thoughts and prayers and I hope you find the peace you so much deserve.

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    1. Me, too. I am real happy with how the office is turning out, like a little study nook, a place for creating new things... but it is so sad to think of all that was "supposed" to be happening here that never will. Some things are just beyond understanding, I think. Thank you for the wishes of peace and the thoughts and prayers... Much appreciated!

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  5. Sigh.....the ghosts of what-could-have-been can be the worst. I hope you find a way to acknowledge them while making the little room your own.

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    1. Yes. So many places to remind me of loss, but slowly I am making a new space to reflect a new life while honoring the one I lost, the dream that won't ever be reality. Sigh indeed... Thank you for your thoughts.

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  6. The ghosts of what could have been is a good way to put it. I can imagine how sad it must be rearranging your house and the entire future you had planned out for yourselves. I hope the sad times will become fewer but let yourselves feel what you need to feel and process. I love the owls by the way. I hope those rooms will soon be replaced with happier memories.

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    1. It is sad, but also freeing. I love our house right now, which is unexpected. These transitions are tough but feel like taking back control over what was so uncontrollable. I am excited that we now have a living room where we can actually seat more than 4 people! new memories to come for sure.

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  7. The fading crib marks on the carpet are what got me. :( Love the lamp & the chaise, though! Enjoy!! -- you have earned it!

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    1. Yup. I haven't vacuumed in here since and I can still see the dent from one leg. I think. Maybe it's from something else and that's what I'm choosing to see. I'm really loving how things are working out though, one more piece of furniture and it will be my complete office space, mine all mine!

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  8. The room is looking great. Can you find somewhere - a cupboard maybe? - for the soft toys for a while? Bring them out gradually or all at once (or not at all) as you feel ready for them.

    The struggle is real. I have said often that it got harder before it got better. The ghosts rarely plague me now - even when my little niece visits and I put out my soft toys on the bed for her (in the room that would have been the baby's room), or when I read her a bedtime story. But they did take a while to go. Even when you have transformed the room, it's okay to avoid it for a while if it helps.

    Hugs.

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    1. Thank you! I want to find a place for the stuffed animals, but at the same time I'd rather they go to be used by someone than languish in a dark closet in a tub or something. But maybe baby steps on this one. I definitely love the owl toys. But do I really need them? No. It definitely feels like a zigzag line, a rollercoaster of "I'm doing so much better!" and then "I sort of want to disappear into a deep dark hole forever!" and everything in between. I can be thrown pretty easily into a big funk. But, the room looking so different is definitely helping. Every weekend it gets a little better in here.

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  9. Did I write "for a while?" For a year, if that is what you need!

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    1. Ha! Or for longer, maybe... Maybe I'm just waiting for the right person to give them to. Who knows.

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  10. The transformation of the space is beautiful. It takes time, and it will continue to evolve. While it is not an easy or singular task, you are doing it. Instead of being emotionally and physically stuck in the nursery, you are choosing to take your power back, to be brave and to choose healing as you redefine the space to be your literacy sanctuary for reading, writing and creativity.

    After my mom lost both of her parents, an aunt or uncle said that as you go through their belongings, you will know what to keep and what is to go. And the things you are just not sure about, hold onto them. Pack them up, put them in storage for a year. After that year goes by, go through it again and you will better know what to keep. Sometimes it is better to hold onto somethings for a spell than to have regret in parting with something too soon.

    I feel this is appropriate for many types of losses. Try not to feel too guilty about not letting go of certain things, especially ones that you feel you "should" right now, but hesitate. Give yourself credit for what you have pared down. You have found a new home for many, many of the items. Your grieving has its own timeline and path.

    Fading carpet lines got me too.

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    1. Yes. Great stuff here. I love that idea of choosing to take my power back. It does feel like we've moved quickly on transforming things, but it is out of empowerment, out of a "Take that, stagnant years!" feeling. True, I'd hate to give things away I wasn't quite ready to and regret it. Such a hard task, but a necessary task, and lovely to see the beautiful space (love that "Literacy Sanctuary" label) emerge from something that was hope and then sadness.

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  11. Your space is coming along nicely. Someday it will be referred to as the office without hesitation. Peace.

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    1. Thank you! I am practicing that. "Office" without the quote marks. :)

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  12. I am loving your description of the evolution of your new space...slowly unfurling, like a rose...not without thorns, but beautiful nonetheless.

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    1. Thank you! Definitely a bittersweet space.

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  13. I'm a little late in commenting but would it make sense to put away some of the items that make you sad/make you think about the fact that the room was to be the baby's room? Even if just for a little bit while your feelings are still raw. Then whenever you are feeling like you are in a better place to decide what to do with them (keep them and display, give away, etc), you can bring them out? Just a suggestion.

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