It’s right there. At the top of the stairs. Gabe’s room. It’s filled with stuffed animals, tons of clothes, and little things he collected over the years. The sheets are still on his bed, unwashed. The clothes he wore on April 7 are still in his hamper (though I have to be honest- I put them there. They were on the floor before).
Gabe’s room is not in great shape. There is plaster chipped on the walls, and cracks, and some paint peeling from the window frame. He didn’t seem to mind those things. He just loved that it was HIS room. He had this great loft bed and he loved being high up. We offered to get him a normal bed but he never wanted that.
Above Gabe’s door is a window, as old houses often have. Sometimes he would try to sneak and text friends late at night, but we could see the glow of the screen through the window. Handy for us, not so handy for him. Gabe also had a temper and would often slam that door. Amazingly the glass never broke.
I think the most interesting thing about Gabe’s room is how I haven’t been able to change anything. I never understood, before, why people kept things the same after someone died. I never understood how people could hold on to everything. I understand now. I don’t want to get rid of anything he touched. It is all there. It is some tiny connection to him, and I want to keep it all- his shirts, pants, socks, wallet, backpack, skateboard and helmet. Everything he wrote, everything he touched. The items that we carefully selected to display at his funeral are in there too, in blue plastic boxes lovingly packed up with the help of a wonderful friend.
Maybe one day I’ll feel the courage to change his room. Or maybe not. And that’s ok.