Thursday, April 25, 2013

The Last Box

Anyone who moves frequently knows what I'm talking about. It's that one box (or more) that you vaguely know what the contents are, but run out of time at the end to actually sort through it, so it gets moved from place to place as is.

For me, that box contains papers. I am not sentimental about large things like furniture or kitchen items. I have moved too many times for that to be practical. But I do hoard paper. I save all sorts of random scraps that have touched my life in one way or another. Over the last 7 years that we have lived in this house, my miscellaneous paper box grew and overflowed into five.

I sorted and packed away everything else first because I knew I didn't want to face those boxes. Partly this is because looking through papers is tedious, each one needing to be examined to see it's worth. This also means that a million choices have to be made one after the other. Keep or throw or give away. Keep or throw or give away. Keep or throw or give away. Keep or throw or give away. Keep or throw or give away. It made me tired just thinking about it.

But I am PROUD to announce that this move, I actually did it. I sorted through ALL of my boxes of paperwork. Little by little, I went through years of Raccoon's artwork (of course I'd saved every scribble!), receipts, medical records, and much more. Surprisingly, I found myself ready to let much of it go and I reduced five boxes to two. But there was one box left, the last last box. I knew what was in this one. SB's life.

All I have left of my first daughter are pictures, a lock of hair, and endless paperwork chronicling my time with her. There were three folders of legal documents to gain custody, a folder of therapy ideas, a folder of early childhood intervention meetings, two folders and a notebook of medical records, and every single thing we tried to help her get better. As I handled each piece of paper, I began to relive everything. I saw the CD with her brain scan and the report that told us she had little tissue left. I read the notes from the pediatrician's office "Family more than exhausted, requesting sleep aid for SB." It was all there, the hard part of life, and our steady journey from hope into despair. The most optimistic document in the bunch was the physical therapist's lists of goals, including her rolling over in a year. She never even had the strength to hold her head up. There would be no "getting better" for our first daughter. We loved her as she was, but had hoped for so much more.

The days that I spent sorting through her papers, I was stuck in a foggy world, lost somewhere between the past and the present. That pain was the exact reason that I had been avoiding her box for the 6 years since her death. Deciding to throw some of the papers away felt like betrayal. They are the only tangible record I have left, a connection to  - and proof of - her life. I still kept most of them, putting them away until another move. heart lays open and says, "This is my offering. 
I would do it again. I'll keep doing it." And only He knows
what that really means to me...and what it really costs. 
And only I know how grateful I am that He sees,
and I wonder if I will ever forget that caring for
this precious child is a sacred act of worship.

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