Saturday, October 31, 2009

halloween 09

"Just think! Next year at this time you will have a little one to dress up!"

Someone said this to me yesterday, and I just smiled, swallowing the first response that sprung immediately to my lips...

That's what I thought last year, too.

In fact, one year ago yesterday, we had our first ultrasound. We watched you wiggle and bounce around on the screen, saw your little heart beating away, and left with the confidence that everything was just fine. For the first time, I let myself start to believe it, and though I didn't know anything about you yet, I wanted to buy something, anything. A vote of confidence, in a way. So I bought your Halloween costume for this year.

I remember sorting through the rack of little costumes, counting on my fingers the number of months between your due date and today. I decided on the 6 month size, and remember commenting on how small it was. I couldn't imagine that in one year, I would have a baby who would potentially fit into it.

But I didn't. I don't. You are gone and your little pumpkin sleeper hangs, unworn, in the closet, certainly forgotten by everyone but me. Like most things.

It sounds silly, but I feel like I am being a bad mother to you lately. If my only job is to honor your memory, I feel like I'm falling behind. Your brother has become the center of attention to the rest of the world. The question "Is this your first?" has become rampant in my every day life, and I find myself just saying "yes" more than I want to. There is no good way to answer it differently without the confused, sad, awkward silence that usually follows. People don't want to know. Is it any of their business, anyway?

The lilies we planted with some of your ashes on your due date have died, leaving behind a pot of lifeless soil. I can't seem to figure out how to feel about it. On good days, I just ponder what I can replant in their place. Other days I wonder if it really even matters. And on the really bad days, I think of course. Nothing else about this year is right. Why would the plant live?

The rest of your ashes are still in the stupid plastic box they came in, tucked on the shelf of my nightstand, waiting for me to do something better with them. Everything I think of feels inadequate. I want them with me, and yet an urn feels strangely inappropriate. And so they remain in their little baggie inside a flimsy box, waiting. It feels wrong. I suppose it is wrong, in a sense, to even have your own child's ashes. This isn't what I signed up for.

Winter is coming, faster than I am prepared for, and it's already beginning to stir memories in the deepest corners of my soul--the places that sickening, heavy darkness has retreated to. Every once in awhile, when it's raining in just the right way, I get a flashback of that terrible feeling in the pit of my stomach. I'm not ready to relive it all just yet.

I wish I could just accept that it all went differently than I planned, and that that's okay. I wish I could turn off the should's and would's and if-only's.

But instead I find myself wishing that you were here with me tonight, wearing your halloween costume.

I miss you baby girl.

5 comments:

Hope's Mama said...

I'm with you all the way, Aleina. Trying to figure out a way to answer those awkward questions. And you could never be a bad mother to Layla. You are the best mother she could ever have.

AnnaMarie said...

Layla is so beautiful! I wish she were with you to wear her pumpkin costume too (((hugs)))

IMO, you are honoring Layla's memory by focusing energy and love towards her little brother.

Abigail W. said...

Not everybody has forgotten the pumpkin...that beautiful, perfect, dainty little profile takes my breath away.

As for that awkward, apologetic silence...gah. Where to start. When you find yourself saying "oh, it's okay" to make *them* feel better about it...sigh. I sometimes think things were better in this area back at the turn of the century--when people had parlors instead of living rooms, and death wasn't this hideous secret. Tragic, to envy a time when *most* people lost a child at some point--but at least then it wasn't like a dirty secret.

Love you.

Googies Girl said...

We still remember Layla. I'm so sorry she is not here to wear the constume you bought for her. What a beautiful picture of her.
I understand the feelings and the questions that come with being pregnant again. I hate the "is this your first" question & I respond the same way. I try to convince myself she is just to special to share with everyone, only really special people know about her. I somehow feel OK about my response. But I truly understand how hard it is.
Thinking of you!
Marian

Leila's mommy said...

you're right. it's wrong that we have our own child's ashes. so very, very wrong. i can't stand it. i don't think i'll ever be okay with it. but they sit there, in her red heart urn, on the pillow next to mine. it should be that way.
halloween was tough; i tried to get out of it this year by going to my dad's for dinner, but he bought candy and decided that he was too old to get up every time the door rang so handed the responsibility to me. fantastic. just what i need, to see tiny toddlers barely able to walk wearing their tiny adorable costumes.... when MY baby girl's pumpkin outfit is sitting folded in a box packed away because i can't bear to go through her things?
i wish both our Layla's were here with us.