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Friday, November 5, 2010

No one told me this either

We are moving.

Moving day is one day away and if you walked into our house right now you would never know we are going anywhere.

I have found another aspect of losing a baby that know one told me about.

Packing is paralyzing.

Every time I open a closet or drawer I stumble upon one more Hadley thing and I don't know what to do with it so I stop and try to start again somewhere else.

A year or so after we lost her I was able to fumble through her NICU items and fold up her unworn pink.  I put everything in a pretty box and put it up in our closet.  I cannot look in there often but I never forget it is there.

What I forgot about was the hidden pieces of grief.

I forgot about the social security card under my socks that had the audacity of showing up in our mailbox with the others and the "you can make it a little longer" note written by a dear friend of my mom's while I was still pregnant, hiding under my sweaters, holding beautiful thoughts of all I would look forward to in my life with triplets, and the cards and vases and dried flowers from her memorial, all more than I could bare to look at on a daily basis.

I had even forgotten about the bracelet.

When you have a baby in the NICU you get a hospital bracelet to wear that matches theirs.  You wear it until your baby comes home to identify you as the parent.

Mark and I had three.  As each baby was born we looked at each other and laughed in amazement as the nurses put on one after the other after the other.  We were in awe of our arms full.

After a few days of wear we each needed one less but I never took mine off.  I wore it until the ink started to fade and then carefully removed it because I was afraid to lose one more detail of her life.

While packing up my drawers today it slipped right into my hand along with grief too heavy to carry and I was useless once again.

I don't know how to pack up my daughter and the life she never had.  I don't know what to do with the memories collected on her shelf or her ashes or the clothes she did not wear.  A cardboard box falls entirely short.

I'm not sad to leave this house because all of the important things are coming with me.

I'm sad to do one more thing without her,
to go one more place without my whole family,
to keep on going with pain that is easier to put in a drawer than to face.

There is no guidebook for living after losing a baby, no section on how to pack your child's ashes, so I am learning I have to write my own...

And as this chapter begins I have decided what to write.

I will bring her to her new home just as I brought her to her first.

I will carry her.

9 comments:

Mary said...

That was beautiful, I am crying. We do not have moving in our future, but it makes me think about how many places the things I intended for Maddie to have are, the bracelet brought me to tears, I remember getting our 4, as soon as we lost Maddie, my husband took his off. I still have mine.

Sending prayers, and thank-you for sharing your Hadley with us.

Blessings,

Mary

Dani G said...

I have no experience with this. Just hugs to offer. You are awesome. Just awesome!!
You aren't going far, right? We're still neighbors??

Chris P-M said...

Beautiful post Jessica...that would be so, so hard. I can believe that the grief could just engulf you. Be good to yourself. Sending cyber hugs!

Chris

Amy said...

I remember when we bought our house a few months ago, I felt so. . .wrong. I have this clear picture in my mind of us leaving Juneau for our "temporary stay" in Anchorage until I had the girls. Looking around the front entryway, thinking that if we forgot anything we'd just have the tenants ship it to us. Thinking that in five or so months, we'd be home with three little girls.

And so moving into a new house in Anchorage meant that something had gone horribly, horribly wrong. And as we packed up our apartment, and I carried Caitlin's ashes to the car as we were finally leaving, and David said "Do you have Caitlin?" I remember thinking, "'Do you have Caitlin?" should not mean 'Do you have our daughter's ashes?'"

Hang in there Jessica.

crystal theresa said...

this is a beautiful, heart-aching post, Jessica. You are a wonderful mother to your all of your children. sending you love as you face the difficult task of packing all of Hadley's things.

The Grasshoppa:Triplets Plus Two Momma said...

I know this in NO WAY compares, but I wanted to reach out to you and say that I experience kernels of what you describe. My fathers ashes have been in my bottom dresser drawer for 2 years because it's the last little bit of him. I can't let it go.

I'm so sorry for your loss and I wish I had words that were worthy of your grief...but there simply are none.


Hugs and love to you and your angel.

Sarah Halstead said...

This is a beautiful post. I am praying for you. Maybe in your new house you could make a shadow box with the bracelet and other things you have of hers. Good luck with the move.

Meghan said...

Beautifully written. Thoughts and prayers go with you on your move-

Proud parents of FOUR! said...

Thinking and praying for you Jessica. Your an amazing person and I am lucky to have you as a friend.

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