It was easy to put off with everything going on (hello, New Knepper!) but eventually we had to go pick up Ainsley's belongings. That day, when she was gone, we stood in the middle of the room looking at each other like, What Just Happened? And thankfully, there was an offer to pack up and hold Ainsley's things until we were ready to pick them up.
I don't know that you're ever ready for something like that but at some point you have to suck it up and deal with the shitty stuff that happens when your kid dies. So we did it. We picked her things up and then we went to the zoo. Because it felt like we needed something fun to balance out the holy awful. Me, Mark, Olivia, and Adelle picked up Ainsley's stuff and then we went to the zoo like any other ordinary day. Just like every day we've pretended to be very ordinary because what else do you do?
And then after that we left the stuff in the car for a few days. All piled up. 17 months of Ainsley's life all packed up into boxes in the back of our crossover. It was easy to ignore because we were very busy and it gave us the perfect excuse to put off the shitty stuff for a little longer.
Yesterday, I unloaded boxes. One at a time, starting with her clothes, I began to sort through the belongings of my little girl who I'll never see again. Clothes she always wore, new clothes that she didn't get a chance to wear. Outfits that I bought to coordinate with Olivia when things still seemed positive and hopeful.
It was crazy because I kept sniffing the clothes that she wore often thinking that I could smell her on them. She was kind of a smelly little ball of beefy meatloaf. She was sweaty from working to breathe and it's not like she was stinky but she smelled. She was adorably smelly. I bet that the people who cared for her at the hospital know exactly what I mean. I loved to pick her up and sniff her smelly little head and kiss the fat part of her chin. But all the clothes smelled like detergent.
Every day is different. Sometimes it all feels very real. Ainsley died - I was there. It was horrible. I will never see her again. And sometimes it feels like we are just very busy and don't have time to go to the hospital. I look at my photos from May and June and her life in photos ends as abruptly as her real life ended. She was here and then she was gone. There are no more updates or things to try to help her come home.
Anyway. In the most obvious news flash ever: this all still sucks.