I carefully opened the drawer on the sideboard in my bedroom. A repository of treasure. I was finishing the boxing up of Jake's little life here with me. Over the past 3 1/2 years since Jake was #TAKEN, I had slowly dropped off the little items that were Jake Denzil Cumpian into this one location in my home.
A shrine in a drawer. I never opened the drawer very far....just enough to deposit the matchbox filled with miniature cowboys and horses that Jake was endlessly fascinated with, the Elmo superball that he had bounced one million times, and the scrap of ribbon that his fingers had touched because that was more interesting to him that the present it had been around.
In my mind the treasure chest had been bigger.....fuller.....it now seemed an unjust representation of the bubbly, active toddler I remember. As I began to remove and closely examine each object....only then did memory serve to bring each tiny memento to sparkling life and new meaning.
Look! There are the birthday candles from each cake, prizes from the Elmo Birthday party, the star sunglasses, the notepad,the Shrek pin, the Birthday hat, the birthday cards from Aunts, Uncles and cousins. His aunties were always so good about each grandchild's Birthday party....each one was special.
The hat Jake wore home from the hospital, the little outfit he had on the first time I held him, his little green stuffed octopus that he would have to be touching to fall asleep....his fingers so tiny.....finally coming to rest as his eyes fought to stay open and yet somehow the touch of that stuffed toy setting him adrift on a sea of little boy dreams. I watched him sleep..... endlessly....fascinated with the perfection of a most unlikely union. He had received the Cumpian eyes....the Pfeiffer ears....what other traits would appear as time went on?
In the corner of the drawer was a small bottle of his Baptismal waters, the Baptismal candle, the Crucifix and Rosary from his Godparents, the portrait album, the white Ledo Tux, and little black shoes from that wonderful day that Jake's name entered the Book of Life. A necklace with a Saint's medallion, an announcement of the Baptism. All so incredibly important to me....now objects in a drawer.
It's all there....Thor's hammer(action figure accessories fascinated him), a little box from his vacation to Wyoming and Montana that holds a piece of fools gold, a dollar bill, a pinecone, and some more rocks. A piece of pipe cleaner, 46 cents, a ball and 3 jacks, an Easter postcard from his dad(original artwork), a photo of Jake with his mother and father(the only one).
The stack of original artwork by....you guessed it......JAKE. Scribbles, dribbles and dabs, rhinestone and sequins glued to art paper in endless variety. Anything that Jake created and he felt was important enough to hand me was ALL carefully tucked into that drawer.
Each of these little treasures now transferred into a treasure chest(plastic storage container) in what I know is a futile attempt to "move forward". Now that the drawer is empty....I can't bear to fill it with other less important objects.
Over the days since I emptied the drawer....I have found myself randomly opening it to take a little peek....for a brief second panicked until I remember that I had moved Jake's things. I think back to the many times I had opened the drawer in the years since Jake was #TAKEN. Always to deposit another item that I had found that was Jake.
Today I will spend part of my day putting each item back in the drawer. Some things are better left within reach. Where they can bring a brief moment of comfort to a life of endless torture, grief and pain.
I was foolish to deprive myself of any of the comfort I receive from Jake's Treasure. Foolish to believe I can move on. A person cannot move on from the loss of a living child. We are left in our own personal hell....with our memento's and memory's.