The outfits I had washed and hung up still sit in the closet. The changing table still contains diapers and wipes. Tiny barrettes and hairbows are scattered inside the top drawer. The children books I received at my baby shower remain unopened. Books containing loving inscriptions from friends and family - inscriptions addressed to Kenley. Her crib is empty except for a maternity shirt I placed inside it. A maternity shirt that reads "Carrying precious cargo". I put it in her crib because I kept stumbling across it in my closet and it shattered my heart every time I saw it. Her room is one of my last great barriers - and I cannot beat it. It wins every time.
I try. Man, do I try. I walk in, strong and determined. I take a deep breath. I square my shoulders and hold my head high. Like a warrior. But, the room crushes me in a matter of seconds. I crumple like a piece of notebook paper in the hands of a third grader. I look at the crib she never slept in, the clothes she never wore, the books I never read her - and I break. Snapped in half like a twig in a hurricane. I can't do it. It is stronger than I am.
I wish her room could be a comfort to me, like it is to many other mothers. I wish I could feel at peace in there, surrounded by her things. But I don't. I feel lost. Overwhelmed by sadness. I feel powerless and beaten. Defeated every time, I leave her room in tears.
Yet, I continue to go in there. Not every day, but several times a week. I continue to try. I'm not really getting any better at it, but I'm not going to give up. I refuse to hide from my grief. I refuse to run away. I cannot avoid sections of my own house. I need to feel at ease when I walk by the closed door on the way to the bathroom. I need to, eventually, be able to keep that door open. I need to be able to be inside that room and feel more than utter despair. One day, that room will hold a baby. A baby and a memory. And I need to rid that room of sadness. For the sake of my own sanity. For the sake of my future children. And for the sake of my first daughter's memory. I refuse to let her slip into eternity on a thread of tears.