She is everywhere.
We are at Hudson’s Poppy’s house for the weekend (this is why I haven’t written in a few days). This place is so very changed from when Hudson was here.
There are times when I can be driving down a road that is now very familiar to me and I have a flash of memory of what it was like to drive down that stretch of road for the first time. I can remember what it looked like when I saw it for the first time and I can compare that memory to what the stretch of road looks like now that I have driven it so many times.
This is much the same. I walk around this house and can remember exactly what it looked like, how it felt, when Hudson was here. And I sense, quite intensely, how different it looks and feels now. I guess it is different from our house, because we live in that space with her memories every day, whereas our visits here, though relatively frequent, are far enough apart that every time we walk in the door, it is like being reminded all over again that she is gone.
My dad moved into this house when Hudson was about 5 months old, so with the exception of a few visits when she was very small, this is the house we associate with her visits to see Poppy. This house never existed in our family without her. Above the garage is a bonus room with a bedroom, bathroom and large closet off to the side. Whenever we were here, we slept in that bedroom and Hudson slept in the adjoining closet (which is really just a small room, twice as big as her nursery at home). For her first visit, Dad had set up a changing area and a pack-n-play for her, and had hung a sign over the door that said “Hudson’s Room.”
She is everywhere. She is still in the closet/nursery, where all of her toys still sit, unused, on the shelves. Her little voice still echoes through the door in the morning, when she would wake up in the dark and start talking to let us know to come get her. She is still in the bathtub, where Poppy had put a large inflatable duck bathtub that she was afraid of the first time she sat in it, but then grew over time to love it and how it quacked when you squeezed its beak. She is still on the two carpeted steps down from the upstairs bedroom into the small hallway to the bathroom, where she practiced going up and down. She is still on the dining chair behind the couch, to which we always attached her highchair when we visited. She is still on the carpet in the living room, where we have pictures of her sitting when she first learned to sit up. She is still sitting on the piano bench, banging the keys with her daddy. She is still sitting on her daddy’s lap at the dining table while her cousins decorate Christmas cookies. She is still sitting out on the deck, where Dad had a kid-sized papasan chair and umbrella just for her. She is still learning to float on her tummy in her daddy’s arms in the pool, excitedly kicking her feet behind her, the ruffled butt of her bathing suit sticking up out of the water. She is still standing next to the large landscaping rock out in the front yard, leaning on it with both hands as she had just learned to walk.
She is everywhere. But of course, she is not here. And without her here, this house looks and feels so very different than when we first saw it. Quiet. Empty. Sad. She should be here.
She should be here.