The bright security light outside the window illuminates everything in the room...
- The chair that we bought a few months back so we could comfortable rock her or so the home health nurses had a comfortable place to sit as they sat night after night watching her so we could sleep.
- There is also Olivia's "big girl bed" which she got for Christmas, complete with cute bedding meticulously picked out and coordinated by my wife.
- There is a dresser purchased by Kelly because Olivia had to have a cute dresser to go in her little girls room. This dresser started a small tiff 3 years ago when we bought this house and were in the middle of renovations and I thought my wife had paid a but much on a First Friday shopping excursion...but what do I know, fashion over function right, Kel?
- There are letters made by her G-Ma and Aunt Mal that hang there to let you know just whose room it was...WAS what a sad word.
Every night I walk past this room on the way to my bedroom after feeding Gabby, trying to imagine that Livi is in there...probably not sleeping and playing with her Christmas lights, with the night nurse watching her so we could sleep and with the familiar hum (that was more lawnmower-esque than a simple hum) of medical machinery in the background. Every night I realize once again that it is empty and that the little girl who once lived there isn't there.
I've learned that empty rooms and empty beds in and of themselves don't mean anything by themselves. I mean, I never lament the fact that our guest room is empty (In fact, if it wasn't empty, where would we put laundry when we don't want to put it away?).
Empty rooms only feel empty because someone once called them home. Empty rooms matter because of the people that give them meaning.
Empty rooms matter because there was once someone you loved who you would find playing in her bed in the middle of the night. Empty rooms matter because of the countless times I read "Goodnight Moon" before bed time, sang "Great is Thy Faithfulness" because it was the only song that would calm her down, or simply prayed and cried while I waited for my little girl to fall asleep.
I'm sure that as long as we live in this house, I will stop by that room every time I pass by it and miss the little girl who - despite the brightness of the security light - lit up that room.
Some nights I smile when I remember her. Tonight I cried.
I hate grief and its cycles - they are unpredictable. But most of all, I hate grief because it means the room down the hall is empty.