A lot of my friends are expecting their first babies right now. And by a lot, I'm pretty sure I mean everyone I know! Photos of their perfect nurseries have taken over Facebook in the last couple of weeks, walls impeccably painted, family heirlooms incorporated, cribs assembled. I don't mean to be jealous. But I am. I might even admit to tearing up a little.
I look at the pictures of perfectly placed bumpers and mobiles and curtains, and I can't help but think about Kellen's nursery, or what was supposed to be his room. I picture the crib sitting up against the wall, blue and brown Restoration Hardware bumper firmly in place. I see the refurbished dresser from my childhood with the brass knobs still so new. I imagine myself sitting in the glider in the corner, pulling a book off the shelf and reading to Kellen. And I can even visualize what that room would look like now, as Kellen's toddler room. But it's gone. And it's hard for me to be happy for my friends - even though I know I should be - when looking at those pictures causes me to mourn again a loss that I know I should be healed from but yet is still so raw. I know what it's like to be so excited, to have the love of this unborn child carefully and thoughtfully placed around a room. But, for me, that was burned away, and instead of saying, "That's so beautiful," I want to say, "Now imagine that you lost this."
It's not just the nurseries. I don't have a wedding video to watch. The small cassette was sitting on my desk, next to the ironing board and the just-finished Christmas stockings I quilted. I don't have my senior yearbook to reflect back on. All these things that others can do to help bring back memories of love or joy or even heartbreak, I have lost.
I was telling another fire survivor today (we've bonded at the gym!) that I feel so far away from my memories because I've lost the tangible things that held me to them. I have to search my memory and hold everything only in my mind instead of being able to relinquish those memories and let the things, the stuff of my life, hold them. It's taxing.
And now, when I'm brought back to my memories of things that should bring me joy, like thinking of that first nursery with friends' pictures of theirs, my first emotion is jealousy. I don't mean to be jealous, but I am.