The Things We Take

When Miles passed I learned very harshly the things we don't take with us...our earthly belongings.
I have always known this, as I'm sure you have.
We hear it all the time "We don't take our belongings with us when we die."
But suddenly I found myself surrounded by all of his belongings.
He left them all as they were when we left the house for the weekend.
They were ALL left for me to take care of.
Just after he passed {and even sometimes still} I would smell all of his clothes, searching for his scent.
I just wanted to hold and touch each one just to remember him.
For three solid months I carried around with me in my purse
 the last shirt he wore to the swimming pool.
It's a red long sleeve shirt with a dinosaur on it.
He was so handsome in it!
I also slept with it each night for months on end, clinched tight in my arms nestled close to my heart. 
I longed to hold Miles again, but as much as I carried his shirt around it wasn't him, it was just his shirt.
One of many he left behind when he moved on in his journey elsewhere.

I won't lie, I have cried out loud at him a few times and said "Miles why did you leave me? Why did you leave me with all your things? You didn't take any of them! You just left me and left everything behind!!"
This is a hard reality, to be surrounded by your child's things, to remember all the memories associated with them only to just go unused, to no longer smell like them just to hang ever so still and never changing in the closet. It's really difficult to explain how emotional this harsh reality is.

Many people have asked me what I have done with this things.
I will tell you. Not much.

His clothes still hang in the closet, I have had to move them up above to the higher rod now and move Vivian's below, but they still hang in the closet in the same order he left them. One shirt even still has a smudge mark on it. I look at it often.
He still occupies a drawer in the dresser. This makes it tricky, as I could really use the space for Clara, so I condensed his two drawers down to one. He is still my son and I want him to be part of our home still, so he still occupies a drawer!

Our house is really small, with very little storage. I could use the drawer and the closet space, but I can't bring myself to put his things away yet. Nor can Mark. 
I guess it's our way of keeping him in our home.
When the house is still and quiet I love to run my fingers through his clothes. Sometimes I pull his little skinny jeans out of the drawer and hold them up just to remember how tall he was and how cute his tiny little bum was in those skinnies. They were adorable on him!

I put some of his shoes away, but his favorites have remained in the closet. I love seeing them there. Seeing those blue shoes with orange stripes makes me feel like he is close by. 

One time as I stared at them I truly felt his presence close. It was as though he was standing in those shoes again. I felt so warm inside. It was a wonderful tender mercy.
Plus Vivian loves to wear his shoes. She often is wearing them around the house. She gets so excited about wearing anything of Miles. But for some crazy reason I don't want her wearing them outside. I know they have been outside before, but I just don't want them worn out and getting dirty by anyone but Miles.

As much as I love having his things around me, the reminders and memories each one holds, it's not the same as having him here. How could it be? But I would gladly give all of them up for time with my son again.

Since losing Miles and learning the harsh reality that we don't take our Earthly possessions with us Mark and I have gotten rid of so many physical possessions that are just cluttering our lives, our home and have found that many things just don't hold as much significant value in our lives as we previously thought. We don't really lust after physical possessions as we may have before. {Not that we had any issues with this before.} We have found that it's just stuff, it's not what really matters or gets us anywhere in life.

Elder Robert C. Gay visited our Stake Conference recently and said something that hit me so powerfully that coincides directly how I have been feeling about this matter. He said we only take three things with us when we leave this mortal world. Our Character, how we treat others and live our lives each day and the stuff that makes us who we are. Our Covenants, the promises we make with God and others. And Lastly Our Family Relations, our bonds and interactions with those we love.
I loved this and have found this so true. These three things are the things that matter most in life. Not the clothing and brands I wear, not the car I drive, not any of it. Because I cannot take any of that with me. Sure I still want to dress nice, take care of myself, have a functioning vehicle. But I cannot lust after these things and make them a priority in my life. Because if I do, then I am taking nothing with me into the next journey beyond. I don't want to leave here feeling stripped and frustrated with myself for not making the things that matter most a priority while here on this Earth.

So as much as I love each item Miles left behind for me to take care of. It's really the memories that each item reminds me of and holds that I cherish the most. And no one can take those from me, EVER!


  1. Andrae this is such a beautiful reminder. I love this.

  2. Andrae,
    I learned about you and your family through Ashley Sullenger's blog when you were a guest poster not too long ago. I lost my daughter in a car accident about a year and a half ago. I want to thank you for this sweet post. It took my husband and me over a year to be ready to put our daughter's things away. For most of that time I couldn't even open her closet door because it was too painful to even look at her toys and clothes. We had a special cedar chest given to us to keep some of her special things in and I treasure this box and the possessions it holds. It keeps her part of our home and is a place I can go when I need a dose of my Princess. Thank you for sharing.