The world is spinning a little slower this morning. Laundry is getting washed AND folded AND put away, which, if you’re honest, is a feat even if you haven’t just lost a baby. And, before I brag too much, I’d like to invite any interested biochemistry majors to check out the contents of my refrigerator. What’s was growing in there is sure to earn you some extra credit.
In other news, our good news fell through. My heart is really tired of good news falling through. I feel like I’m gulping in every good thing I can grasp, and gulping so fast it’s giving me emotional indigestion. This morning, for instance, I spent several minutes saturating my new washcloth with water and squeezing it out, enjoying how much it could hold. This washcloth is mondo-thick, is the color of what I think the ocean might be (I’ve only been to the Gulf, so I’m not sure!), and was on clearance for $1.50. Life’s been pretty rough when you’re hanging on to a clearance washcloth like it could make or break your day.
The sun is out. Those who know me know that this is good for my heart. If I’m ever grouchy, my husband tells me to “go sit in your sun patch.” My sun patch is the spot on the floor where our awesome southern exposure shines. So… washcloth and sunshine… blue sky… clean laundry… husband who cherishes me… wind chimes and birds singing through the open windows… fresh milk (the kind with cream that floats to the top)… my new library book… it’s Friday…
I went out for coffee with a friend yesterday, which was my first social outing since the funeral, and it was good to talk. It was complicated to get set up, as I’ve got this thing about talking on the phone lately. It’s exhausting, so I avoid it when I can. I normally don’t much care to talk on the phone unless absolutely necessary, but that aversion is magnified by my current emotional state. It’s ridiculous, I know, and it’s an aversion I don’t plan to entertain for much longer. Luckily, my friend didn’t mind setting things up over email.
Parenting magazines keep coming in the mail. I took some time (over the phone) to get that straightened out the other day. Then I needed a nap.
I’m getting baby stuff organized and packed away. There are a couple of borrowed things that I need to return. I made two piles. One was things I would save for Sam’s memory box. I saved his lotion and baby bath we used when he was born, clothes (even the ones that were way too big for him), mementos from prayer groups, sympathy cards, ultrasound photos. The other pile was tough to maintain–the pile for our someday baby. These were Sam’s stuffed animals, blankets, carrier, nursery decorations. I could have put it all into his memory box. It would have been safer. After all, God doesn’t seem to be answering any of my hopes right now. Maybe I’m a fool for still hoping, but the foolishness of God is wiser than man’s wisdom. So I keep hoping.
I’m starting to contemplate how to use the space where Sam’s things used to be. There is healing in going through his things, but I imagine there will be healing in moving on too. I’m considering mismatched bookshelves, maybe painted mint and distressed. Steven and I always talked about having a substantial book collection. It’s a piddly thing to make plans for, when what our hearts long for is Sam.
My friend asked me how I let Sam go after he was born. Steven and I had time to hold him, but we eventually had to let the nurses take him to the morgue. I want to tell how we did it, so the next mother will have some comfort as she does it. I fought for Sam every step of the way. I went to the doctor. I fired a doctor. I ate steamed kale, red meat, whole grains, bananas… I took my prenatal vitamin, even the day we knew he was passing. I drank a gallon of water a day. I asked the church to send prayer groups every week to pray for Sam’s protection. When Sam passed, I went to sleep with him, hoping his death would happen gently. I fought for him in life, and even as he died.
When Sam died, I did not lose my job as his mother. We gave Sam a bath when he was born, handled him gently, kept his little body wrapped in his blanket. We kissed him and memorized his features. We took pictures with plans to remember him. Eventually, though, we had to acknowledge our frailty. We were tired, having a hard time keeping our eyes open, and starving. It was time to let go. We talked about how the precious little body we held was not Sam, but just part of his life on earth. Sam is in heaven with Jesus. Sam is a memory I’ll keep alive in my heart. By letting Sam’s body go, I was honoring who he had been on earth by letting his body go to a place that could better preserve it until the funeral. As much as my arms hurt to be so empty, to see the nurse take him away, I knew I still needed to fight for Sam.
After I was discharged from the hospital, we went to the funeral home to pick his casket and finalize details. I learned that the funeral home had already chosen the least expensive casket for him. It was a green and gold color, and I put my foot down (threw a fit). My baby’s casket would be blue. I picked one that looked like the inside of a crib, a soft blue and white gingham. They reluctantly special ordered it, but my baby’s body is resting in a soft, blue casket. I fought for it. I’m his mother.
Still, today, I’m his mother. I fight for him by putting together his memory box, so I can honor his memory over the years. I fight for him by working on my marriage, loving his father. I fight for him every time I write a blog detailing my grief. Part of his legacy is the encouragement I can offer other mothers who go through this. I fight for him by letting my tears flow and being sad that I don’t have him. I fight for him by not resting all my hopes on him, and not letting my hopes for a happy life be dashed to bits because his life was short. All my hope is alot to put on a little baby, and I want to honor his life for what it was–beautiful, hidden, short, but far from a mistake. I’m fighting for him by letting his life be what it was, and letting him be who he was. In a way, I’m fighting for him by moving on. Sam is still my son. I am still his mother.
That’s how I let him go. That’s how I’m letting him go.