My First Ever Triplet Rummage Sale

Today totally blew.  No other way of saying it … it was rough.  The triplet rummage sale.  I’ve spent the last two weeks pricing, sorting and hanging all the baby clothes the boys have out grown.  I’ve spent most nights crying afterwards.  Sometimes while I was working and others in my bed – hours after finishing up and everyone asleep.

Clothes.  Something so regular, something so ‘everyday’ has so much meaning when someone is gone.  Perhaps it’s because it’s something tangible.  Physical evidence that my child lived.  Physical evidence they existed beyond a photo.  Something that you can still touch, even after the body is gone.  Smell, hold, cuddle.  Just like I do with my children.  Just like a wife did with her husband before he was gone.  To sell the last physical evidence that I have triplets was wrenching.  Not a sharp pain, but worse … a long dull pain that lasted all day.  Hung over the entire day like a gray cloud … nothing was good.  It was all grey, even the smiles were tainted with price tags on memories.

I clung to the sleepers.  Pressed them on my cheeks.  Buried my face in them as I sorted them into bins by their sizes.  My logical mind knows that it makes sense to sell them.  What use are they in a plastic tote in my basement?  I know it doesn’t change the fact that I am a mom of four.  It by no means indicates that I am starting to forget or “get over” Owen and his death.  I know it doesn’t mean any of this.  But it feels that way.

People leave rooms exactly the way they were left for years after a loved one dies.  Closets remain filled.  Glasses stay on end tables.  Cribs still up and dressed.  I took Owen’s crib down almost right away.  I’ve started to sell his clothes.  Am I numb?  Am I recovering?  Does this mean I’m strong?  I don’t know.  I feel odd about it because I see most others coping differently with me.  I feel like I’m doing it wrong.  Why am I ok with this?

I spent so much time grouping all the ‘alike’ outfits together.  Matching the three of a kind outfits and carefully pinning them together.  I realized when I got to the rummage that they might not sell as much.  The people who come to the rummage are mostly parents of singletons.  I couldn’t separate them.  I didn’t care if they didn’t sell … they were worn by triplets and they should be worn again by triplets.   They are soaked with a special like of love that is deserving of another set of triplets.  I figured if they didn’t sell at all, I could rethink breaking them up for the spring rummage.  I just wasn’t ready yet.

I saw a mom checking out at the next table.  She had a TON of the three of a kind packs in her basket!  My sister casually asked “oh do you have triplets too?”  She replied “No, I have twins.  I just figured they were such a good price it didn’t hurt to have an extra one.  It’s so hard to find outfits that are exactly the same.”  They weren’t going to be worn by triplets again.  Could I tell her she wasn’t allowed to buy them?  I wanted to hand-pick the buyers who go to take my baby’s clothes home.  I’m crazy.  I felt overwhelmed and almost angry.  When making small talk with some of the other moms, they didn’t understand.  Why would they?

So I’ve decided I have the strength to price and hang the clothes, but not the strength to watch who buys it all.

I came home physically and emotionally exhausted.  My hips hurt.  My knees were sore.  The hang nail, that I spent most of the day picking at, was red and swollen.  (I tend to bite my nails when I’m stressed or upset.)  Yet, I’m not really sure how I’m feeling or what to do.  I’m not sure if I’m going to cry again, or if I’m angry/irritated still about the twin mom buying the triplet clothes.  I want to ask everyone if they know who wore those clothes before.  I want to tell them how much love has been prayed into those sleepers … all of the love I had for my baby has been woven into the fabric.  My lips have kissed them.  My Owen has touched it.  It’s almost like a relic.  A relic sold for 50 cents.

This sucks.  There isn’t a positive spin to put on this one.  There isn’t a blessing that came out of today.  It was an experience I had to endure.  A trial in my life journey.  I ripple in a page in my life book.  Heck, I survived to tell the tale  … Perhaps I just found a positive?

Dear God, protect that babies who will wear the triplet’s clothes.  Let them know Owen in a way that will offer them peace and strength as they grow and learn.  Let them feel how special they are.  Use the sleepers as incentive for moms to hug their babies a little tighter and for a little while longer.  I know I wish I could tonight ….

Love, Mel


  1. Mel,

    I can’t begin to imagine what you are going through. I haven’t written in a while, but I’ve still been thinking of you and your family. I see orange and I think of you. I was in a class learning about heart rhythms, and we were discussing long QT, and I thought of you and brought you up to the professor. (not by name just situation) As my munchin grows, I look at his clothes and feel sad as I have to put things away. I can’t imagine how I’d feel if he wasn’t there to fit into his older brother’s hand-me-downs. I think I’ve said before that you should feel how you feel. Don’t hide it or pretend or feel how you think people expect you to feel. You are a unique, special human being with your own unique situation. There is no cookie cutter response to a loss, and everyone handles things in their own way. Just keep talking, writing, blogging. Share your feelings so we can try to support you in whichever way you need at the time. I wish I could do more. Big hugs and warmest regards.


  2. Mel,

    I can’t begin to feel you pain, I wish I could to help you. I can only attempt to imagine how you were feeling with those clothes. I felt sad putting Sam’s clothes away, knowing it would be last time any of my kids would be wearing them. The outfits reminding me of fond memories and events.
    As you have said before, your situation is your own and no one else has the same story. The way you are dealing with grief is the best way for you, and fits you. There is no right or wrong way to deal with your grief. Owen loves you all the same.

    Sending love, hugs, and comfort your way. I wish I could do more.

  3. Mel,
    I have a suggestion for you. Maybe the special clothes that you have, special ones of all your boys, put them away in a special bin. As the years go by, continue to add clothes. When they got older, close to graduation, think about making them into blankets for each of your boys. Maybe a wedding gift for each of them. You would be able to think back to all the memories each piece of clothing brings, and they would have a “piece” of eachother with them….forever.
    continueing to lift you in prayer,

  4. Mel, I know it had to had been hard pricing clothes that Owen once wore. I dewfenitely cannot relate but oh does it hurt my heart to read what u are feeling. I know it was hard watching a twin mother buy your triplet clothes, u know what. I agree with Dyan, I think that would be a great idea. Blanket out of speacial pieces of clothing that were your favorite for the triplets. I love the idea. Mel you are so strong, its only right that u fell the way u do, that you’ve cried while getting ready for the rummage. it wa things you would never see that Owen wore. I wish I could do or say more that would help you feel better. God bless. Always thinking of you all!!!

  5. May the God of peace and sovereignty hold you tight in His arms today as you hold tight to HIM. May you be comforted knowing Owen is being held by Almighty God as well and may the peace that only God brings lighten your burden and heart today I pray. Deb Payne (Rachel Wood’s mother)

  6. I believe it’s perfectly alright not to find the silver lining in everything. Have a hard day….lull it over in your mind…got to bed….and hope you wake up with a better perspective/understanding the next day. And if you dont….oh well. You will….some day.

    I cant even being to imagine how hard that must have been for you. My thoughts and prayers are with you still.

  7. I found your blog while playing on the internet and just wanted to let you know how sorry I am for your terrible loss. Reading this, I think you deserve to feel any way you want about things that you are going through. Don’t apologize for your own thoughts – you are really brave to put them out in words.

    After reading this blog, I took a long walk with my son and my husband and about halfway through I saw two monarchs, one after the other, and said a little prayer for you and your sweet son, even though I am by no means religious. Today, I realized I had dressed my son in orange and his little friend at the park was wearing orange too. Another sign? Maybe Owen was enjoying their laughter from above.

    Strength and peace to you.

  8. Mel,
    I check in on you every so often. I don’t know if you remember me or not, but I also have triplet boys that are just a little older than your boys. I just want for you to know that we do remember Owen here in our home. Every time I put one of the boys in Orange I think of Owen, it’s not just the Orange though, we remember Owen every day. My boys get many hugs regardless, but some of them are extra. I’m just about to go up & go to bed. My husband is going to kill me if I wake anyone up, but reading your blog tonight has made me want to sneak in their room & grab a sleepy hug!!

  9. There is no right or wrong way to grieve. Everyone does it differently. You are amazing Mel. So strong in every single way and in everything you do. You will get through this… with Owen’s help especially. He’s always with you… and he loves you. He knows you love him too. May the Lord be with you today and always, may him comfort your heart in times of grief and may you feel the love He has for you, even in tribulation. Your Owen was the most amazing and wonderful little boy I never met.

  10. I think if you look to the Lord you will find the grace and beauty in what you have done. Something so simple and so painful as rummage sales of your babies things can have such a greater deeper inpact on many different levels. You touched on it a bit in the end of your post , “Use the sleepers as incentive for moms to hug their babies a little tighter and for a little while longer.” It’s amazing how something so simple can become so deep and complex. Maybe that sleeper will warm and comfort a baby on a chilly night, that outfit will become the new “favorite” outfit that he’ll wear till the seams start to burst. Maybe the extra dollars saved on those clothes will mean a few extra bucks in the bank to help a struggling mom buy a Christmas present, or be the Christmas present to a new mom struggling. No matter which way you spin it you are still giving. Owen is still giving. His love and your love are being spread in more ways than you know, visible to only Him. Trust in the Lord dear and embrace the security that although your heart is heavy you may just have given someone else a brilliant smile.

  11. Mel,

    My heart goes out to you and your family. I’m also a Mother of Triplets. One of my Triplets passed away due to a horrible accident at home at 16months. He has now been gone for 3 years and my heart still aches. My Triplets are identical boys and a girl. Jacob passed away 2/8/08; and there’s not a day that goes by where I don’t think of him.
    I remember the day that I went through everything; as we had three of almost everything; and we just didn’t need everything anymore.
    Just know that Owen will always be in your heart; and it’s ok to cry. I’m crying now as I write to you; my heart aches for you; and I know your precious Little Owen is watching over you and your family.
    We just celebrated Tyler and Erika’s 5th Birthday at Disneyland 2 weeks ago and we thought about Jacob often; wishing he was with us to celebrate.

  12. I was sorry to read about your loss. I understand some of what you must be feeling. I lost my third child while he was still in my belly at 26 weeks. I had to deliver my dead child and you can not imagine the pain of loss until you feel it. We still have all the baby stuff in my room on the baby changing table. I can’t put it away. I don’t know how to let go.
    I can only say that I admire the ability to feel the pain and yet keep plugging along because we have no other choice as moms.

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