Tuesday, October 23, 2007

The box

My daughter pointed to the small lavendar box on top of my dresser.

"Dat Mama's box?"

"That's Isabel's box. Do you want to look inside?"

A sweet little face nods.

It was evening, my husband was with the boys. It was just her and I. I grabbed the box and plopped down on the bed. She scrambled up onto the bed and grinned with anticipation. She laid on her tummy, just like Mama. I slowly opened it up and took out a miniature, beautifully beaded bracelet with the name ISABEL spelled out. She happily put it on her little wrist.

I said, "Isabel was in Mama's tummy, but she died. Now she is in Heaven with Jesus. Remember?"

"Iabewl my sister."

Just hearing her say that brings tears.

She does have a sister. A sister she will not know on earth. I realize she is the only one whom I can freely talk with about Isabel. She doesn't know how painful it all is. She isn't afraid to ask questions or talk about her. She doesn't seem tramatized when I cry. She just matter-of-factly says "Mama sad." and nods knowingly

And speaking of my daughter, I'm so thankful to the Lord for His timing, His provision for this time. At least twice a day I have to sit in a quiet and sometimes darkened room and rock my daughter before her nap and before bedtime. It has been very comforting to be able to cuddle and hug someone, a little girl, my daughter while grieving the loss of my other daughter.

If I would have lost my third child, I wouldn't have had such a young person to cuddle with all the time. My youngest at that time was 5 years old. I've read that mothers whose babies die sometimes want to cuddle a stuffed animal, or some sort of object about the size of their baby. I think my daughter has helped me there.

Next I pull out a little clear box filled with white fluffy filler. Nestled inside it is a small image of a baby. I think it is the size of an actual 12 week old baby in the womb. She loved this. She took the baby out and cupped it in her little hands, hugged it and kissed it. She held it close and rocked it. She wanted me to rock 'her'. While I was rocking the baby, she said, "Blow on her tummy."

It hit me.

I could've sobbed.

Just thinking about all of those little rituals that Isabel and us were to miss out on. Because to her, that's what you do to babies you love, you blow raspberries on their tummy.

My good friend gave me this box shortly after Isabel died. She has had two miscarriages. She knew what things might help. When I first received them I really liked the bracelet, and I still do. It was so nice to have something with Isabel's name on it. For some reason, I think just something tangible to show it wasn't all just a dream. I wasn't sure what the point of having the little baby was. But now, I really like them both. I also like having them in a special box. My daughter LOVES to look at them.

And it's a special time when we can both stop and quietly and carefully examine the precious baby, who we refer to as "she" or "her" and think about our Isabel. I would someday like to try to make a necklace for me similar to the bracelet. I think I would like that. I've thought about going to the local bead shop and seeing if I could find some that match.

If you know of someone who has recently had a loss, and would like to give them something to remember their baby with, you can find them at Little Angels Online.


Sarah said...

I know it sounds crazy, but I really have written in my journal and/or blog so many things you have written about your Isabel. Several of my friends bought me a memorial necklace from www.myforeverchild.com and I felt the same way about it that you do about the bracelet. It acknowledged that my son was real, is real, that I didn't dream up the whole thing. It also validates, to me, that my grief is real and justifiable.

Sarah said...

Oh and I totally identify with what you said about your DD being a comfort to you to hold and cuddle. My son was 14 mo old when I lost our youngest, and since he was still nursing (and still is!), it has given me great comfort to hold him, rock him, and nurse him. I'm sure it helped me with physical recovery as well, since my breasts didn't get engorged after my loss and nursing surely helped my uterus shrink back to size.

Debra said...


It's comforting to know that these feelings are normal. Not that I thought they were wrong, but I guess it's just reassures me to know.

Unfortunately, I wasn't nursing when Isabel died. My milk came in on the day of her funeral. It was really sad for me. I've nursed all the kids and it's so special. When my milk came in it was so bittersweet, like adding insult to injury. But my body didn't know there was no baby to feed. I know it was normal, just hard.