It’s been two weeks since we lost James and today, we finally got to bring him home. We opted to have him cremated. That only took a few days but awaiting his urn and stone/marker took more time. It was important for us to memorialize him. As we looked through the catalog of options I couldn’t help but realize how the decisions we were trying to make were unfair—young parents picking products for our dead baby. The traditional urns seemed like they should contain the remains of an elderly person, someone who had lived a full life. They did not look suitable for our son who entered and left this world before having a chance. We opted for the wooden box urn.
Cody suggested an eagle for the engraving and I was glad for his wisdom. I looked at the suggested infant images—wooden blocks, a teddy bear, a praying boy—and they seemed off to me. An eagle—an animal that I am always in awe of, that I will pull over on the side of the road to watch, a bird that always makes me smile when I see its wings spread in flight, and a sight Cody promised I would see more often if I moved with him to Bear Valley—seemed much more appropriate. We love when we get the opportunity to witness eagles in this beautiful valley; they will hold new meaning for us now.
I had to go into RAMC today for my post-surgery appointment so the timing was perfect to be able to collect him during the same trip. I also swung into the birth center to visit with Pam and she gave me the hand and foot casting she collected when she took James’ photos two weeks ago.
I received the all-clear from the doctor, I can resume normal activities and with some time, we can try again.
There is so much guilt in that statement. While our loss is still new, still cuts, I anticipate another child… I want to again carry a life and complete our family. At 36 years old, I don’t want to wait too long and I’d like a close age gap between the kids. But the guilt of replacing James is there, the guilt of moving on too quickly, the guilt of not giving enough time, the guilt of forgetting him…
To always be reminded and give him equal position, I added to my mother’s necklace. I had hoped that his birthstone would be a different color, pink for October or yellow for November. Green it is.
And fear—there is fear. Fear of losing again. Fear of falling in love with a young fragile life and having it stripped away. Fear that my body will reject that life. Fear of what we might be putting ourselves through again. Fear of fear—will I be able to embrace a new pregnancy without fear, will I allow myself to enjoy it or will the unknown and the experience of our second pregnancy overshadow our third?
This is not some uniquely cruel thing that happened to us. Once you lose a child, you quickly realize you are among many who have suffered the same. My friend Rachel gifted me with the book, Sunshine After the Storm, a week after our loss. Within the introductory pages (that is as far as I have been able to make it as it provokes so much emotion) it states: “You’ve joined a club you never wanted to be a part of, but which you’ve paid the highest dues.” Others do not share their loss to take away from ours; they share so we know we are not alone. There has been comfort in that. I have appreciated the opportunity to share our story, to remember James and to hear from other mamas. I can accept what happened and it helps to share it. It does not however, ease the heartache of his tender life taken or the wishes for what could have been. Only time will ease that.
Saturday I saw several pregnant ladies while we were at the zoo for a family gathering. I was not jealous of them, I did not want their baby, I wanted mine. It was just a reminder of our loss and of what I was so looking forward to this summer—a big belly! I commented about one woman’s belly to my husband… he assured me I would have one again.
As I returned home from Reedsburg today and made the turn at Eagleglen Farm, I looked in the big tree for an eagle. It was there perched and I was glad for a glimpse.