"Memory is a way of holding onto the things you love,
the things you are, the things you never want to lose."
We had a mountain of memories come crashing down on this this weekend. Yesterday, was the day that we had been dreading for quite some time. The remaining contents within our home, were emptied out and tossed in dumpster. A dumpster full of our mementos...material things, but nonetheless, our things. However, and we are thankful that our memories were not tossed into a dumpster. Our memories will remain with us for the rest of our lives.
Removing contents from much of the house, was rough, not gonna lie about that. But those contents meant nothing in comparison to Brad's room. That was knee buckling for us. Seeing what remained of his personal belongs, loaded onto a Bobcat and dumbed into a dumpster was pure agony for Paul and I. It literally took my breath away.
As hard as it was for us to be present during that time, we felt the need to be there. Not much was salvageable from Brad's room. A few things, which is nice., but not much at all. His class ring was found and is okay. One of his knives from a knife collection was found..actually, we had found a couple soon after the fire, so that's kind of nice for us to be able to have a few of his things. My brother found a whole Lego village that Brad had built years ago. Brad was a HUGE Lego kid! And he had saved it all these years. Sadly, the Lego village was under his bed and melted to the floor. I was able to take a few of the buildings off the Lego pad to save those. We also found some of his GI Joe's, which surprisingly, were okay. We'll be keeping those as well.
Seeing Brad's beloved San Fransisco 49ers blankets, body pillow and jerseys being piled in the dumpster was pure torture for us. Even seeing his burned up, prize possessions $180 tennis shoes brought tears to our eyes.
Brad had a love for eagles. Not sure how, why or when that came about, but he had several eagle statues in his room along with many wall hangings and a fleece bedspread that had a beautiful eagle on it. Sadly, all of that stuff is gone now. I was hoping to find the eagle that Carly bought him for Christmas in 2009. Her last Christmas. She had gone shopping at the schools Santa Shop Store, and bought Brad a resin statue of an eagle. I had hoped, but I knew better, that it would be found. It was not.
I can't really explain the feeling of guilt that washed over Paul and I yesterday during the emptying of the house. I felt as tho we were throwing away and erasing our son and his existence. We knew that there was not much for us to salvage, but it didn't change our terrible guilty feeling that went on throughout that day. It's pretty tough watching a dumpster fill with your sons burned up possessions. If Brad were still here, it would not have been so difficult. But, he's not and it made it that much worse.
We are so thankful for the memories that we have of Brad. We will hold those close to our hearts and treasure them for the rest of our lives. Brad was such a neat kid. He was funny, smart and very particular and set in his ways. We will never forget his laughter..he had a chuckle which oddly enough, Carly had the exact same chuckle. He was a jokester. He was the biggest person in our home..we're all shrimps. By no means was he a "giant", but he was about 5'9" and to us, that was tall. It was funny to see him standing next to his dad. Brad actually had to look down at Paul (who is 5'2") and I (I'm 5'4") ! He playfully tossed little Ashleigh (who is 5'1") around like she was a rag doll. Poor girl! And with Carly, he was just as gentle and loving to her as could be. He was protective of Carly, well of Ashleigh too. When kids would be teasing Carly, Brad would say, "want me to teach her how to fight?" My reply was, "no thanks." His was always, "well, she needs to defend herself and not take shit from kids who pick on her." One time, Ash (in elementary school) wore a skirt and some kid (boy) laid down and looked up her skirt while on the playground. That night at dinner, Brad..who was likely in about 2nd grade at the time, said, "want me to beat 'em up for ya Ash?" He never cared for boys teasing Ashleigh while they were in High School either. He could pick on her as much as he wanted..but no one else had better!
Memories are a gift. A wonderful gift. But, often times Paul and I find that they just aren't enough. And sadly, the grief overpowers much of the memories. Grief has a way of pushing everything off to the side. Taking over with complete control of your lives. We hope, in time, our grief will lessen. Although we can't see how that will ever come to be.
Make many memories, because none of us know for sure, just how much time we have for memory making. And trust me, no matter how many memories you make or think you've made, if you ever have to take the journey of a grieving parent, you're going to kick yourself for not making more memories.
**again, I see my post is all jumbled up. Sorry. I have no idea what is going on. As I type, the body of the post looks great, but when I preview it, it's a mess. Please bear with me for a bit longer...someday I'll get the problem resolved.