I have so many emotions these days, and hardly any of them arrive with any warning. Usually, there is some word, event, place that cranks up feelings/memories, etc.
* Gymboree, Baby Gap, OshKosh
* the baby's room
* first time at church
* my niece's birthday (in my mind, this was going to be one of the first places we were going to take Ben after he was born)
* Horizon milk with DHA/Omega 3
* maternity clothes
* dr.'s office-- on the one hand, I love it because I LOVE the people who work there. The nurses there walked through the last nine months with me...their sympathy is so real... they saw me grow, heard my fears, laughed with me... when they cry, I feel it and it is precious. On the other hand, it's just the waiting room sometimes. And it's not the women with babies, oddly enough-- it's the still-pregnant women. And it's not them or being jealous so much as remembering that I was just pregnant, with no prize... at least, not one that I understand yet.
* the spot beside our bed where we had a bassinet, borrowed from Nathan and Lucy
* the old couch, which we can afford to replace now (we got a great new couch and were about to get a matching one when we found out we were pregnant with Ben)
* the car. almost every time I'm in it I remember that his baby seat is not there and that he's not behind me
* summer. I was so excited to have this whole summer to get to know him. The timing of his birth could not have been more perfect...turns out, it's also ideal for grieving.
* pools. I've wondered for months how old he had to be before he went into mom and dad's pool
* peppermint lotion from Origins. Don put it on my feet almost every night before bed for the last month of pregnancy
* orange juice. Ben would really get going when I drank OJ. Like all babies in the womb, I guess
* my own hair lately...
I guess the one I want to jump on is that last one for now.
We took some pictures of Ben (I say "we"-- Paige and mom took pics, and then one of the nurses did, too. They did such a good job, but I so wish we had known about an organization that takes beautiful pictures of babies who have passed or who are dying...). I was still completely out of it-- either still being sewn up in surgery or still completely wasted from medications-- so I have so few memories apart from the really strong one when I was holding him during the baptism. Anyway, the pictures are precious to have, but there is this one picture where you can so see his hair...
It is my hair. Oh my gosh, I expected him to have Don's hair because his hair is brown and I was completely bald at birth, apart from white fuzz. As an adult, my hair is still the same blonde it always has been since high school-- light blonde or strawberry blonde, depending on the weather. No way my baby will have blonde hair like me and my entire Scottish side of the family. But Ben's hair was even better-- it was strawberry blonde. It was wavy, like both sides of our family, and strawberry blonde.
It has rained almost daily since everything happened with Ben, which I am convinced is God's mercy toward me-- the rain comforts me so deeply-- and the humidity makes my hair more red than blonde.... and whenever I see it now, it's him.
The whole situation is so incredible and I want to weep and throw things across the room and scream and sing and yell at God and thank Him, too... so many feelings. The amazing miracle of seeing yourself reflected in the face of a baby is just as intense if that baby has passed away. Seeing my husband's face and my hair and some say my eyes (Don told me last week that he especially sees Ben's face in mine when I'm asleep) is the most miraculous thing I have ever beheld. There is nothing like it. I have no words to put with it. Stunning. Fascinating. Overwhelming. Somehow, even in death, it was life-affirming.
He had my hair. That little person I held so briefly in my arms was flesh of my flesh. Bone of my bone. Closer to me physically than anyone I have ever known, aside from my own mother. I will never fully comprehend it. Is this one of the thousand reasons that this kind of death is so devastating? My body shut down some of its own functions in order not to reject this little part of me for almost one year. My heart rate changed. Everything changed around him.
And now he is gone, gone, gone. And my heart and arms cry out as sharply today as they did four weeks ago.
Four weeks? Has it only been four weeks? Has it already been four weeks? How many more sets of weeks can one live with a gaping hole in your soul?
Still, God sends messages. He loves me. I do not understand Him. But I know that He is good. One blog I read put it perfectly:
"A quote from Brennan Manning... 'The seldom-stated truth is that many of us have a longing for God and an aversion to God. Some of us seek Him and flee Him at the same time.'
I get this, especially that last part. I seek Him because He is my source of comfort. I flee Him because He has allowed this pain." (Greg Sponberg, May 6)
There is so much more, but I have to sign off for now.
Thank you so much for following this course with me. For your notes and phone calls and constant support and encouragement. Thank you for letting us continue to grieve-- for encouraging us to take as much time as we need, for reminding us that this grief won't ever completely pass but that there will be a time when it will become more manageable. Thank you to my sweet friend, an older woman in her 70's, who looked me deeply in the eyes yesterday and said, "Samantha, the Lord has more for you. More of all kinds of things-- but more children, too. Trust Him." Thank you for all of the love, the friendship, the space to be awkward and weird at times-- who knows how to navigate these waters???
Thank you for not being afraid of our grief.
Someone asked what I was reading right now. I'm reading an amazing book that my friend Pam sent to me. You know that if Pam sent it and Joy Dawson wrote the intro, it's a must-read :):
Pain, Perplexity, and Promotion by Bob Sorge