You may not see much different in these two pictures, but I do.
We bought our house in January of 2010. The door you see at the end of the hallway is our bedroom. The other three rooms were either empty rooms or spare bedrooms.
Come 2013, one of those rooms on the right turned into a room for Cora. Then in 2016 another turned into Quinn’s room. We always had that third room as a guest room. The one on the left. The door always stayed closed so our cats wouldn’t go in there. I never gave that door another thought. I never thought about how dark that hallway was.
That all changed the day we found out we were pregnant with Sloane. Suddenly that door was always open. The light streaming in from the huge window in there. The window I never paid attention to.
I spent hours sitting in that room dreaming about what it would look like. Dreaming about the little girl who would get to sleep in there. Dreaming about life as a family of 5, sometimes even wondering how we were going to handle 3 girls.
If Sloane wasn’t sleeping, that door was always open. Sunny or gray, the window let in light and the hallway seemed brighter. Our lives seemed brighter. It was brighter. The world was a better place for having Sloane in it.
We kept that door open waiting for the day Sloane would come home from the hospital for good.
Now, that door stays closed. Some days I open it so light will flood the hallway again. Sometimes to see that light, it makes me feel as if she is still coming home.
Other days I just see the darkness of the hallway. The closed door that should be open. Sometimes I still find myself thinking that she is just taking a nap or hasn’t gotten up yet. The truth is, the stark reality of seeing that closed door every day cuts deep. It transports me to the fact that she isn’t coming home.
Every morning and every night I walk past that door. Every morning and every night I cry because of that door and what it means.
She isn’t coming back. Her crib is filled with stuffies and loveys, her blankets, her ashes and a 3-D print of her hand and foot. The room hasn’t changed. The “S” is still affixed to the door signifying that it’s Sloane’s room.
Every time I walk in her room I cry. I cry for her. I cry for me. I cry for her sisters. I cry for her Daddy. I cry out why. I put my hand on her handprint, tell her I love her and I just cry.
I don’t know what to do about that door. I love seeing the light, but hate knowing she isn’t there, she isn’t coming home. I hate seeing it closed though too. It makes the hallway seem so dark. Like a dark cloud enveloping me as I walk past it.
You may not see a difference between those two pictures, but I do.
I try so hard each day to find the balance between that difference. To find a way through the dark. To see the light inside the dark. But just like walking that hallway every morning and every night, I have to face the fact that no matter what, I still am here and she is not. It’s hard to find a light in that darkness. But yet, each day, I walk past that door and I cry….I walk past that door and try to find any way I can to keep her legacy alive.
This is my first blog post for the On Brave Wings Foundation. We will be running the Cap City 1/2 Marathon in Columbus, Ohio for our sweet girl. We will be holding the Sloane Swanton 5k Research Run for her in May. We do it all for her, our sweet baby girl Sloane.