This is a closet.

It was meant to be HG’s closet. It was HG’s closet. This is where we stored his things as we slowly accumulated them. Diapers, clothes, toys, etc. Then the week before we had HG, the basement flooded, including this closet, and this is how it has looked since. All his things stacked up against a wall in another room, carpet pulled out, bare concrete, unfinished walls, uninspired.

I can’t even begin to guess how many times I’ve told myself I needed to work on this closet, this tiny space. How many times I’ve said I was going to. How many times I’ve measured it, intending on buying shelves. I’ve never even been able to make the first step. I’ve been scared, terrified to do so.

Since our son has been born, I have avoided doing anything with this closet.

If anyone has taken the time to look or pay attention, this closet has been the glaring crack in my armor the past two-plus months. I’ve kept a relatively level head through all of this. I’ve had to, for Jenna, for the kids, for everyone. I have to be the voice of reason or reality. The person to bring everyone back from the void of dread or the wind of the unattainable. I’m in the middle. That’s my road.

This closet has been my dread, and my unattainable to this point.

I’ve avoided this damn thing, because of all the unknowns we’ve had to deal with. I was scared to finish a damn closet because I feared that as soon as I did, as soon as I had this closet done, something would happen. What happened if I finished this and the next day HG took a turn for the worse? I can be strong, but I knew I wasn’t strong enough to face that. To face this closet finished, ready to be used for our son’s things, only to be dealt with the reality we’d have no use for it. The thought of the possibility of the unknown has haunted me.

I have avoided a closet for 10 weeks because I was frozen with fear that my son could die. All my strength has gone into keeping my head up, keeping my shoulders strong to hold my wife up. To even have the strength to get up in the morning and leave my wife and son, knowing in my heart that the unknowns of what I could come home to were endless. All my strength went into living day-to-day for the last 10 weeks. I’ve not been strong enough to tackle this closet. Not strong enough to face and overcome fear and terror.

All this came to a head the other day. Something in me shifted, and now I’m just pissed off at myself for letting this thing sit like this for so long. I’ve preached to my wife about having faith our son would be ok. I’ve believed he would be. I’ve not accepted any of the dire prognoses or scenarios. I’ve refused to accept them, yet I somehow let the fear control me enough to not put up shelves and store things in a closet?!

Maybe this is just all part of the emotional rollercoaster we’ve been on. I was in the mourning phase and then the acceptance phase (or so I thought) and now I’m getting into the “pull up your pants and get back to it” phase.

Regardless, this closet has remained bare long enough. My son isn’t going anywhere, and it’s time for Dad to get to work. I’ve been strong, but it’s time to be stronger. No more cracks in the armor.

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