Timothy loved to create, and he would often kneel by his bed to work on Lego projects. His mind was inquisitive and, while playing, he learned to troubleshoot. I loved that about my son.
The week of the accident, Timothy had dumped his Legos onto one of his two beds. The last morning we left the house together, that's where his Lego collection was. His bike was parked in one corner of the room. His airplanes were sitting out. One of his favorite soldiers was lying next to the bed, which had automobile-design sheets on it.
For the first seven months after the accident, I kept this room locked. I did not have the courage to step inside, and I did not want anybody else to go in, either. I needed time to allow myself to accept the fact that he was not with me. Holding on to how he left the things in his room seemed to give me the peace of something familiar, to which I could go back when I felt ready. I needed to see the room just how Timothy left it. For my last image of the room to be of a boy picking his nose and playing with his Legos. Somehow I thought that, by not going in, perhaps I would wake up one day with Timothy still by my side, just walking out of his room, and life would be normal again. It’s the one place in the house I did not want to touch or change.
In November 2012, on the day of Timothy's birthday, I collected my courage, unlocked the room, and walked in. It was quiet, as if it had been waiting for me. I sat on the bed, looked around, and wept. I was alone in the house, so I just let my tears flow. I spent the next months doing my morning quiet time here, in Timothy's room. It gave me a chance to think, pray, and accept and grieve the absence of my boy.
As I write this morning, the sun's rays are coming into the room, which faces east. The sunrise breathes hope and newness. I cry often in this room where my firstborn played and slept for almost seven years, but I know that Anahi represents the new life that God is allowing me to live.
Last month, Anahi turned three, and I am feeling that it's probably time to move Timothy's stuff out of his room and pass the room on to her. I think I will change the wall from blue to pink—although I might leave a stripe of blue in honor of Timmy. It's a hard step to take, but I have learned to be okay with tears and allowing my heart to be moved by the love that Timothy and I shared. I remember that I would ask Julie, "Can one love too much?" She would say, "Of course not. There is always room for more love."
Timothy, you were so loved, and you continue to inspire me to love and not give up hope. I am learning that this journey of living in this world requires tremendous love and divine strength. I miss you, and, although the colors of your room will change, your toys will be removed, and your bike will be ridden by other boys, you will continue to be in my heart as I continue living, loving, and walking on this journey.
I promise you this:
- I will continue building with the Legos of life that God will place in my path.
- I will continue being curious, like you helped me to become. I will ask many questions.
- I will continue praying simple yet profound prayers that I know God can hear.
- I will continue picking my nose like you used to do—sometimes in public.
- I will continue believing that each day is a gift, just as you were my gift in my thirties.
- I will continue being spontaneous, eating ice cream and chocolate just because.
- I will continue being a child at heart, when life seems to push me to be to serious.
- I will continue to believe that little boys are gifts from God to their daddies.
- I will continue to watch over your sister, Anahi, and remind her about her older brother.
- I will continue running barefoot and feeling the grass under my feet, not worrying about what others might think.
Thanks for sharing your room with Anahi now. She is growing and becoming a beautiful little girl. She loves to ask questions, just like you did, and is very active. (I mistakenly thought she would give me a break and allow me to sit and rest a little more.)
Timothy, I will keep a few of your Lego projects as reminders of your ingenuity and creativity. And when life gets a bit stale, I will remind myself of you and the way you changed me and pushed me to be a better person.