Tuesday, October 25, 2016

The Duffel Bag

When I was pregnant with Allison, a friend of mine gave me a Vera Bradley duffel bag as a shower gift. Although it was soft and it had a lot of pink in it, it was not the typical shower gift I got.

My friend explained that this was to be a bag for me - and when I was ready to share it, it would be a bag for my daughter.

I know I had things in my mind that I would pass on to my first born, but this was the first item that was specifically meant for that purpose. I was touched beyond words.

That bag became my "go bag". It contained clothes for me and clothes for Allie. Headbands and other assorted trinkets, too, because we were not sure what we would need for our newborn photo shoots. I also packed a nail file and other miscellaneous things that had nothing to do with giving birth or staying in a hospital, but I wanted to be prepared.

When Gary and I walked into the hospital on April 21, 2011, we had that bag slung over his shoulder. We were too soon to have our baby but we figured she was coming so we had to be ready.

When the ultrasound technician glanced at us and said there was no heartbeat, the bag sat solemnly in the corner.

When the doctor arrived and explained, with watery eyes and a look full of sorrow, that there was no heartbeat, the bag was there.

When Allison was born still on April 22, 2011, the bag sat on a chair, untouched. There was simply nothing from it that I needed.

When we came home from the hospital with much of the same items still in the bag and a memory box in our hands and not a car seat, we were numb and empty.

The bag eventually got unpacked and the contents put away. I remember throwing out the nail file and laughing at how naive I had been. The maternity clothes were no longer of use so they went into storage, along with Allison's beloved clothes and other keepsakes.

When Miranda was born, I went searching for that bag. I dusted it off, filled it up with new outfits and new items and it became hers. It went to Delaware with us to meet her. It went to her aunt and uncle's house in New Jersey for her first sleep-over. A few weeks ago, it traveled to Virginia with us when we went to spend the weekend with my college roommate. It has been to the Poconos and back. It has been to Wildwood and Ocean City and this past weekend, the Great Wolf Lodge.

The sad bag has become a happy bag. It has become what it was meant to be...something of mine that is now my daughter's. It took us a long time to get here, but get here we did.

I just unpacked the bag now and tucked it back in my daughter's closet. I am not sure when she will use it next, but I know that seeing that bag will mean an adventure is before us and that good things will be on the horizon. That bag turned out to be a pretty great shower gift after all.


1 comment:

  1. I have been reading your blog for the last few months now. Each time I read an entry I tear up and find a tightness in my ability to breath. This Friday will be 24 years since our first child was stillborn. All of our hopes and dreams as new parents changed and I suppose the way we saw life from that point on changed. We were though very fortunate in having amazing support from our family and friends. To be honest I have blacked-out the first year after our sons death. My wife and I feel fortunate that we have since had two amazing children, (now adults) come into our lives. We have spoken to support groups, school groups, others who have suffered a similar experience over the years. This has helped to give us some meaning by attempting to help/educate others. When I see the picture of your bag I am reminded of two things during my wife's second pregnancy - I was asked whether I was hoping for a boy or a girl and I what I wanted to say was that I was just hoping for a child who was breathing and then the feeling of leaving the hospital after our daughter was born and we could not stop smiling or realizing that we could and would enjoy life again! - Again thanks for the cry and the memories!

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