Wednesday, September 5, 2012

The Empty Room Down the Hall

Due to the fact that she still isn't sleeping through the night, a couple of times a night Kelly and I go into Gabby's room to change her and most of the time feed her a bottle. While I sit holding my crabby, hungry little girl in the glider, I have a lot of time to think, pray, or sometimes fall asleep while I wait for her to polish of her bottle. Most nights I sit and stare across the hall into the newly empty bedroom...Olivia's room.

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.


  1. Brother, we too cry and grieve with you. May the Lord bless you and keep you. You are quite the inspiration for many of us, or at the very least me. God's grace is evident as He walks you through the valleys.

  2. I think of you all so often...praying for your grief and that peace follows. Livi has touched my life even though I never met her, I hug out kids a little longer and am more thankful I think. Hugs to you!

  3. Oh Daddy B, you are so GOOD!

  4. The unpredictability of grief and its cycles are something I would hate, though I've never known the depth of your grief. As I rotate through hourly shifts of ceiling-staring & giddy optimism I've had with 45 years of depression, I say this, with tears, and no confidence in myself: "For he has not despised or abhored the affliction of the afflicted, and he has not hidden his face from him, but has heard, when he cried to him." Ps. 22:24

  5. I read your entries when your mom posts them on facebook, and each time I am humbled by your faith and complete trust in our Father. You both possess a real gift in being able to express your grief, at least a small part, in words. I know you are God's messenger to many who are suffering, yet feel comfort by your words.
    Praying for your family ... Denise Mounts

  6. Still praying for you guys....nothing anyone can say could fill that hole in the "empty room". Just remember it's full....of memories, of God's promises, sunshine....did I mention memories? Keep your heads up. He has a plan...and Livi was such a huge part of it.