The CD player in Kathleen's room wasn't working right. While I was fiddling with it, I noticed the tape across the top, white tape borrowed from the nurse's supplies, name scrawled in blue magic marker: Henry Barry. The tape has been there since part way through Henry's hospital stay when I had the CD player that I got as a shower gift brought to me there. Mostly I don't notice the tape anymore, but when I do, I can't seem to peel it off.
After I saw it, I started seeing the other vestiges of Henry in our house, not the photos and mementos I've purposefully placed, but the things that are just there, a reminder that he was once here.
There's the file on the desktop of my computer: heartquotes. I never sent a birth announcement for Henry. Things were so crazy after he was born I couldn't pull one together. Then, when I felt like I could do it, we were so close to his surgery, I thought I'd send a post-surgery update (and have a no-oxygen picture!). Because Henry was my heart boy, I wanted a heart quote for the card. I started collecting them in this file. None of them were ever right, yet I have trouble trashing the file.
A "Congratulations" sign a neighbor stuck in a pie is now stuck in a plant. A bow with a ribbon printed with blue teddies found a home in another plant.
A tube of ointment for an eye infection still sits in the bathroom drawer.
These things will probably continue to sit where they are, until somebody else throws them away, because even though they aren't the things I choose to keep of Henry, they still are off him, of his time with us, little traces showing he was here, and I can't seem to get rid of them.