Today I write to you and not about you. Not sure why, but I feel like mixing it up a bit!
I have been feeling a kind of peace the last few weeks. Ever since we got back from Chicago, I think. I have been able to be myself again with my friends and be able to really enjoy my family. I can embrace your cousins and love them, not because they replace you, but because I know you would have loved them, too. I can be genuinely happy for my friends that are expecting babies within the next few months and even be parts of naming discussions for them. You would be so proud of me!
Daddy and I are getting excited about the prospect of making you a big sister and we are enjoying each other as much, if not more so, than ever before. We are starting to have hope again and it feels nice. I went to my regular doctor last week to have a physical and make sure I am taking good care of myself and I am happy to report back that I am!
So it is with this new calm, I decided it was time to finally look through your memory box that we got when we were in the hospital with you. Piece by piece, we went through all that we have tangible of your existence. I held up the blanket they wrapped you in and felt in against my check. I folded the onesie they dressed you in and it brought a smile to my face. I saw the id bracelets that were meant for us – one for you, one for me, one for daddy and exhaled deeply. They were all still intact and have never even been worn as you died before we even had a chance to put them on. I saw your tiny little perfect footprints and touched them with my fingers. I saw your hand prints, too, and put my hand on yours. I saw the card that would have gone in your bassinet that said your name, size, weight…and I loved seeing it. You really were here, although for much to short of a time. But you are real and you were here.
We threw out the papers about grieving that came in the box. At this point, we have found ways to cope with the agony of losing you and have a great support system. We really like our grief counselor and are pleased with the progress we make in our sessions. I have many bookmarked websites, lots of "favorite" blogs and some books and pamphlets, too. I have also connected with other parents who have experienced what we have and one mom in particular who I think will be a lifelong friend.
We threw out the plastic flowers that came in the box as neither of us felt they had any true meaning.
Slowly we repacked the box. We carefully put everything back, along with every single card we got honoring you. There must have been to 50 of them. We added the autograph we got for you from a semi-famous musician we met back in February. He was the first person we told your name to and we were so excited to tell you about the experience one day. We added the outfit we were going to dress you in when we brought you home. We added the picture of the stick that said the glorious word “pregnant” that we used to announce your arrival to some family members. We added a picture of me with you in my belly, standing with your Aunt Lauren and your cousin Ella, before she was born, too. In went a letter from your cousin Ryan to me, wishing me a "nice baby". Your 2D and 3D ultrasound pictures went in the box – all of them but the one we keep in a frame in our office upstairs. We added the book about Wonder Woman that Daddy was going to use to teach you how to read. I remember how happy he was to tell me that he ordered that very book.
The last item in the box was your CD of pictures. The hospital was wonderful – they took over 35 pictures for us and put them on a CD. The last time I looked at them was the day we got them…the same day I was discharged from the hospital without you. But before we packed them away, it was time to see your face again.
The first image opened and there you were – dark hair, fair skin, bigger than I remembered! You were so beautiful. You were the best of your daddy and me. But you were also so much more still that my brain allowed me to process back in April. The image I have of you in my heart is the one I prefer – it’s you, but better. It’s you through my eyes and not through the lens of a camera. Still, we scrolled through each one and ohhed and ahhhed. We talked about one day showing these photos to our loved ones, but not yet. For now, they are ours and our loved ones also have images in their heads, I am sure, that we do not want to disturb.
So in went the CD and we closed up the box. We stored in in the fireproof box that Daddy has for safe keeping. It will always be ours as you will always be with us.
I love you, sweet baby girl. Thank you for reminding me how much love I have in my heart. I promise to honor your memory with all I do and all I am and make you proud of me. I am so very proud of you.