"Life isn't about surviving the storm...it is about learning to dance in the rain." Anonymous

Thursday, January 19, 2012

My memories are all in a box...

For those of you who follow this blog, you know that my loss happened 2 years ago last month.  Shortly after losing Elizabeth, I put all of her ultrasound pictures in a small album that I keep in my bedroom.  I don't look at them much, but I love knowing they are there if I need to look.  I have not looked in her memory box since December, 2009.

Fast forward to this past weekend...my daughter has decided to move to the downstairs bedroom so that she will have a bigger closet (that's my girl!  ; )  )  Anyway, I knew cleaning the downstairs closet out meant coming face to face with Elizabeth's box.  This may sound crazy, but I was really anxious about it.  For some people, the desire to see their baby's keepsakes is an immediate desire.  For others, not so much.  We have some families that call 7 or 8 years later for their keepsakes and I understand that.  For me, the wound is still so fresh and the tiniest thing will make it bleed for days.  I have said before that losing a baby is like forming a scab of sorts.  It will start to heal and new skin might start to form, but the wound is always there underneath and the scar is there as the reminder.  Any irritation or trigger to this scab will cause it to open and hurt and bleed.  Make sense?  Well, I was so afraid of this box and of my wound opening into a gaping hole again, that I feared that closet.

When it came time to take the box down, I decided to take it to a quiet place and open it...to be honest, I couldn't remember exactly what was in there.  There were so many cards from so many people.  It felt so good to read them all again from the perspective of 2 years later.  I might decide to do that every December.  So many people cared about us...about my family and about my sweet, beautiful daughter.  There was a program from a memorial Mass I attended that had her name listed.  Wow...to this day, it hurts me to see her name in print; but at the same time, her name makes me know she was real, is real to me.  Sometimes it seems like it has been so long since she lived underneath my heart and the whole experience was so surreal, that to see her name is a grounding, profound experience.

There were pictures for her from her brother and sister, along with a very old crucifix that I touched alot during my time on bedrest with her.  It is really unique, because it has a skull and crossbones underneath the cross, which may sound strange, but I learned that they symbolize the death of Adam and that it is believed that Jesus was crucified at the same spot the Adam is buried.  You don't see the skull and crossbones on many crucifixes now.  Seeing that broke my heart...but at the same time it reminded me that my faith is strong.  We all have beliefs, even though our faiths may be different, that get us through difficult times.

And then there were her clothes...I couldn't take those out of the box to hold them.  I just could not.  But they are folded perfectly in the bottom of her box with such care.

I remember when my in-laws passed away and we had the task of packing up their house.  It is amazing to see the memories that people make over the years and the things that accumulate over time.  I feel like that box is just all I have of my baby...that is her lifetime of memories and her life was just so short.  But, that's not really true.  I have so much more.  I had the experience of feeling her move and choosing her name and loving every minute of expecting her.  So, the box is the concrete memory.  The other is something else...the specialness that was her and the knowledge that she is one of the very few people that knew what my heart sounded like, because she grew underneath it.

Please feel free to share your memories, if you like.

3 comments:

  1. I too have a box with my daughters things inside. I have only opened the box once and she would be 3 August 1st. I also have the pictures they took at the hospital, and I havent looked at those since before I found out I was pregnant again in Jan 2010.I feel so bad for not looking at her pictures, but I just can't bring myself to do it. Maybe I need to do it very soon.
    Mommy to Angel Cheyenne 8-1-2009
    Blessed with Identical Twin Girls 8-13-2010!

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  2. My box sits on a shelf all it's own, in the corner of my bedroom. Hubs and mine picture are right next to it. I mentally note to check and make sure it's right where I left it every so once in a while, but I don't go through it hardly ever. I also have a very special heirloom dress that was made by hand and another dress that was given to us as a kind of tradition for baby girls on my husband's side. They hang in the #1 and #2 spot in my closet so I see them there every day. I smile every time I see them. But her things are not what I remember most... I remember holding her. Although lifeless, I'll never forget the reality of her in my arms and my arms ache for her often.

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  3. Thank you for sharing some of Elizabeth's keepsakes with us. I brought out Addison's box just last week when my sister came to visit us here in Georgia. She never got to meet Addison, since she died at 1 week old. But in that box are footprints and handprints, and every outfit she wore in that week, including the cute babylegs I picked out for her while I was pregnant with her. What really got to my sister was the one hospital blanket I took home--one with Addison's dried bile on it. It disturbed my sister, but to me, it's a tangible, real reminder that our daughter was--and is--very real. xoxo

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