In my house there’s a room that remained empty for almost nine whole months. There are white squares on the wallpaper and one navy and orange wood wall. The curtains are drawn and frame a picturesque, snowy backyard. Its grey rug in the middle of the room calls out to be sat on. It yells for you to read all the books packed away in storage. Although it looks like any normal room, there should be a crib, a changing table, and bookshelves full of adventures. Instead, the only signs that it was anyone’s space is his name, weight, and birthdate written on the chalkboard paint right as you walk in.
For all this time I hated its emptiness, but there was no way I could take seeing his empty crib. It stayed waiting for Jensen and all his things. A nasty reminder of how life should have been.
Recently, I’ve gained the courage to actually use his room. The first step in this process has been putting up a big piece of furniture, a futon. In fact, it’s a grey futon with navy and orange pillows. My mom and dad came over to help me put it up. We decided the best place for it to sit was where Jensen’s crib would have welcomed his dreams every night. I truly believed that seeing his room being used would help heal my heart. That it wasn’t just a room that held stillness. As we assembled and centered it on the wall, the room started closing in on me. This just wasn’t how it was supposed to be.
I took a huge deep breath and tried once again to accept my reality.
Yes, I had to accept Jensen wouldn’t be using this room. At nine months old, Jensen isn’t in there standing on his crib mattress, waiting for me to pick him up. Instead of him crying to wake me up, there’s nothing but silence. There would be no bedtime stories or a room full of toys. I wouldn’t hear him jump out of his bed as he grew older. He wouldn’t race to his window to see if the snow had covered the street beside us, hoping school would be canceled. There would be no slamming of his door or sneaking out of it. None of these dreams will ever become memories. The futon in his room would always remind me of that.
Today when I walked in and seen the image above, I smiled and then cried. No matter how much this futon reminds me of all things I don’t have with him, he is so present in this home. In the navy and orange, I see the color of crayons he would pick. The squares on the wall could only help grow his imagination, maybe he’d even become a better drawer than me. Who knows, maybe when he would have been older, he would have wanted this very futon in his room. He probably would think it was cool to have some place to hang out and play video games. I cried today because I wish I knew him at nine months and everyday of his life. His room would’ve become such a huge part of his childhood and now it’s up to me to use it.
I can’t bear to use see any other colors than the ones I picked out for him. It will always be Jensen’s room. My hope is to use his space to be close to him and do what I can in his honor. It took nine months for me to put a futon in there, so it might take nine more for me to actually sit there for a while. Everyday I’m doing my best for him and for me. Even if that means accepting what shouldn’t be.
Happy nine months in heaven, Jensen Grey. You are loved and missed beyond what words could ever describe. I hope you like the futon that occupies your room. It really is comfortable and I could really see me sitting there and watching you play. I hope you have your big nine month sticker on and sending me a most special snowflake. I miss you. I love you.