Finding a Time Capsule

Nesting has set in with a vengeance. That means attacking all of the “clutter piles” that have taken up permanent residence in our home over the past few years.

I attacked one consisting of two baby gates and plastic bags of assorted clothes a few weekends ago. The contents of one of the bags blindsided me.

In it were clothes Lucy and I wore during her last hospital stay. They resided in this bag in my bedroom for over a year. We came home from that marathon hospital stay in Dallas and simply dropped all of the hospital paraphernalia in that corner of the room. I forgot I even owned these clothes.

The contents consisted of a pair of dark blue jeans (mine), a shimmery green top (mine), Lucy’s little purple hospital gown, stained dark pink and white socks from Old Navy, her reindeer pajama bottoms, and her panda guitar pajama bottoms.

Once I opened the bag and realized what was in it, I just stared, softly saying, “Oh, my gosh” or something like that.

Once Chris realized what was in the bag, a silence fell over us. A somewhat awkward, pained silence. It passed fairly quickly, thanks to some comments on my part. You just don’t expect this sort of occurrence a year later. I couldn’t believe they had been lying in that bag a few feet away from our bed this whole time.

When I spoke to my aunt Martha after Lucy’s death, she suggested I get some of her clothes, or something that had her scent, and put it in a pillowcase. I tried to follow her advice, but nothing seemed to smell like Lucy. I went through the laundry and checked her stuffed animals. To be honest, I wasn’t sure what Lucy’s scent was. I wondered if I was a bad mom for not knowing. I remembered what she looked like, sounded like, and felt like in my arms, but I could not conjure a scent.

I gave up on that quest, but remembered it while looking at these lost clothes on my lap a year later. I brought each article to my nose and carefully sniffed. They actually did exude a scent, but I wasn’t sure if it was Lucy’s. It wasn’t an altogether good scent, but it triggered an indefinable reaction in me. I felt something of the feelings I felt in the hospital, I think. I couldn’t tell if the scent was the hospital or Lucy or both. I thought I vaguely smelled formula.

I felt so strange having unwashed Lucy clothes a year after I thought her things had all gone through the wash for the last time. I put them in the hamper, then thought better of that and retrieved them for my closet. I needed more time with that scent. I needed to find out what other feelings or memories it could trigger in me.

I previously planned to wash them, but now I am not sure when or if I will. These clothes might have more stories to tell me. Part of me will always hope for more to Lucy’s story.

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1 Comment

  1. Jen Kirkham said,

    June 30, 2014 at 12:59 pm

    It’s so hard when something out of the blue brings up your child that is gone. The hospital we went to, well, they love to send us refund checks every 9-12 months. I am not usually one to complain about surprise money being sent to me, but the letter is always addressed to my son. I cannot fathom it. He has been dead for almost 5 years now. I’ve had enough reminders that he was at your hospital and that’s where I held him as he slipped away. It’s enough. I think, we’ve managed to find all the sneaky items laying around the house, but you never know. It’s happy and sad moments when we find these treasures.


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