Learning to move on after grief 💛
I recently saw this quote that stopped me in my tracks. It read,
Trees become their strongest in autumn because they aren't bearing fruit or producing leaves. All of their energy is pushed down into the roots. So what externally appears as death is actually the catalyst for new life. - Ebonee Davis
I loved this quote and it inspired me to take action on something I’ve been avoiding for months, if not a whole year…
And that was to clean out the “junk closet” that has been piling up with items like Christmas decorations, an old guitar, and unused toys.
The biggest thing that has been taking up space in that closet was my son’s baby clothes.
I realized that we have accumulated a LOT of clothes and it was time to clear it out.
The reason why I’ve been holding onto them was because we’ve been trying for another baby.
Each month, more and more clothes would pile up and it served as a reminder that it was not happening. Eventually, the pile became a mountain and I couldn’t avoid it any longer.
Cleaning out the closet meant that I had to embrace our present reality and let the past go.
So during Ev’s nap time, I went to that spare bedroom and took out everything from the closet.
I folded, organized and grouped them by sizes ranging from newborn to 2T. I tossed the ones that were un-rescuable, while keeping the few special pieces that I wanted to keep.
As I folded each tiny article of clothing, I reminisced over the times my son fit into them and allowed the emotions to wash over me.
There were definitely hard moments, but each time I placed one in the box, I felt like I was releasing something.
Maybe it was the expectation of what I envisioned my family to look like
Maybe it was finally letting go of the pressure I’ve put on myself to meet a certain timeline
Maybe it was releasing my own hopes for His greater plans, even if that looked different than what I imagined it to be.
I imagined that these beliefs I’ve held onto were like leaves on a tree.
During summer, the leaves turned sunlight into food and in return, the tree kept them for the sake of its own survival.
When it had fulfilled its purpose, the once green leaves turned into vibrant reds, oranges and yellows, before falling off into the autumn wind.
It is necessary for the old leaves and beliefs to die in order to create space for the new.
For me, shedding my leaves meant packing and giving away all the baby clothes.
Through this process, I learned that when you truly accept the situation for what it is, it also comes with deep grief for the things that you lost or didn’t have. It’s only after going through this grief that you can finally let go of the things that no longer serve you. And for me, that was my son’s baby clothes. This is not to say that I'm giving up on the hope of having another child. It means that I'm letting go of the expectation and timeline that I’ve placed for myself. It also means that I'm learning to be okay with whether this closet stays empty or filled in the future.
When I was finally done, it came out to be about five boxes total, which is mind blowing considering how small baby clothes are and how quickly you go through them.
Seeing those boxes made me realize just how much physical and mental space this has taken up over the years. It felt really good to clear it out and claim that space back for new things. I will be donating all the boxes to a single mother of a newborn boy and I’m so thankful that it will go to someone who really needs it.
This whole process has been a gift to me and I wanted to share it with you in case you were in a similar season. I will end this lengthy post with a quote that I think sums it up perfectly:
“Even in seasons of fruitlessness, where our efforts are invisible to the outside world, there is an internal process happening - a necessary strengthening and preparation.”
If you are in a similar season, I hope these words give you hope and strength.