‘Where did you get these?’ I knew. ‘Ren’s nursery.’ He didn’t realize how serious I was. ‘Put them back.’: Wife unexpectedly triggered by husband’s attempt at act of kindness, ‘It was all downhill from there’

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“This is a sneak peak into a night of bereaved parents. It’s not glamorous, but it’s real and honest. From an outsider looking in, this may seem silly, but the effect a trigger can have on someone is real and it’s valid.

My husband Tommy and I were coming home from visiting my parent’s house. I ran in as soon as we got home to use the restroom. TMI? Maybe, but here we are. We had run out of toilet paper the day before and Tommy was supposed to go to the store today while I was at work to grab some. Of course, this did not get checked off of his to-do list for the day. On top of that, he used the little bit we had remaining. Irritated, I asked him to go get something for me to use. I was thinking maybe we had some extra toilet paper in the spare room or even a paper towel? Just something. It takes him a few minutes and he finally walks in holding a pack of wipes. They were a very specific kind, they were Huggies all-natural wipes. Needless to say, it was all downhill from there.

Courtesy of Toni Register

All of the memories flooded my mind and instantly I could feel myself holding back the water works. I was taken back to the moment where our biggest worry was what type of wipes we would use on our baby’s bum and how in a blink of an eye our new reality was grief. I asked him where he got them from, but really, I already knew. He responded, ‘Ren’s room in the drawer.’ He had gotten them out of his changing table drawer that I had so diligently organized and set up in preparation for his arrival. I just started tearing up and said, ‘Put them back, please.’ He kind of laughed and insisted I used them. He didn’t realize how serious I was until I started bawling.

Courtesy of Toni Register

What hit me even more than the memories was the fact that something in his room was now out of place. His room was so neatly put together, just like it was the day we came home from the hospital, and I wanted to keep it that way for as long as possible. I feel like he’s slipping farther and farther away from me. I know he’ll never come home of course, but there’s something inside of me that wants that room to stay exactly the way it is. His room has a different smell than any other part of the house. It smells like new clothes and freshly done laundry. It’s the one thing of him I have that hasn’t changed since he’s been gone. It is a place I can go that can make me feel like this was all just a dream. Almost as though I am still going to be bringing him home. It’s his space. The shelves are still filled with gifted quilts, blankets, and well thought out books. His diaper bag is perfectly packed aside from the missing outfit we buried him in. His toy box that has his name on it is filled with the most heartfelt toys. His binkies are still packaged. His clothes are still hanging with tags on them. His drawers are filled with diapers, wipes, ointment, and all of his tiny socks. His crib is set up with a brand new set of sheets; and his mobile that my aunt so kindly made to my exact liking is still hanging over his crib.

Courtesy of Toni Register
Courtesy of Toni Register

Life is hard, living with grief is hard. This is just one example of the many triggers I deal with daily. I never imagined that a pack of baby wipes would bring me to my knees and shake me to my core. I don’t look forward to the upcoming holidays without our baby. Ren’s Christmas outfit is still hung in his closet with tags on it. Do I take it back? Do I give it away? Do I save it? That is my thought process with his entire nursery right now.

Some triggers hit you hard and some things you would have assumed would get to you don’t. I get upset when people think we are ‘over it’ because we laugh and joke and live. I also hate that if we have a bad day, people assume we’ve taken a step backwards. That’s not how it works. Our days are getting lighter but I also just think it’s something we learn to navigate through life with. We will always live with a constant ache for Ren as long as we are apart. We’ll have bad days and we’ll miss him, and we’ll have excellent days and we’ll still miss him. I don’t think grief ever just goes away. Some days it’s lessened and distant, but it’s never entirely gone, and that’s okay. That’s our new normal.”

Courtesy of Toni Register
Courtesy of Toni Register

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Toni Register of Sequim, Washington. You can follow her journey on InstagramDo you have a similar experience? We’d like to hear your important journey. Submit your own story here. Be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.

Read Toni’s powerful backstory about losing her newborn:

‘I’m sorry buddy,’ I heard him whisper. He laid him down. Just like that, Ren was gone.’: Couple’s emotional final moments with newborn son, ‘We feel your peace, you’ll always be our baby boy’

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