Nine months today.
Why keep count? How is one day different from the next? I keep saying every day is precious. Every day is important. Because I don’t know when I will die, every day that I have with my daughters is divine. No need to wait till their birthdays to celebrate them and treat them like royalty. Every day is a celebration of life together. Every day we have a chance to be great, or to be better.
Why are anniversaries important? Why is Val’s upcoming seven-year-old-bash such a big woot-hoot? Isn’t it perfect that today she is six years, eleven months and three days old? She is perfect then, now and in the future.
So why am I keeping my eye on the date three months out, when it will be one year since F died? Rather, it was the day he was born, silent and still. We were not exactly sure when was the moment that his heart stopped beating. So what if it is one year? Does it mean full circle? What does it mean? That Earth is back in the same (?) position again since that day.
What to do on the anniversary? Celebrate? Cry? Thrash about? Eat? Escape? Retreat?
In the early days, I read some books that convinced me that every year we have to celebrate. Have to keep track of his age and every year on that day, imagine what he would have been like. Keep the memory alive; never. ever. forget!!
Then, as days and weeks go by, I read more books. And right now I am not so sure anymore.
Someone asked me the other day if I had planned anything for the anniversary? I do have an idea on my backburner. I received a whole lot of paper cranes after F died. Folded by friends, who, as far as I know, did not take to origami with gleeful pleasure as I do. But they sent me some one thousand of them, and some more. I did not really know what to do with them. I did string some up with beads on a ribbon and gave it to friends who wanted to hang it on their holiday trees, to remember. Even after sharing a whole ton with the girls, I am still left with a whole lot. Some time back I spoke to a nurse at the local hospital, just five minutes from my home. She coordinates the infant loss program and told me she had written F’s name on a butterfly and hung it on a tree in their memorial garden. I have driven past by that hospital many times, but never knew they had a memorial garden. I asked if she would like some paper cranes in that garden and she told me it would be lovely. Of course, they would be exposed to the elements- the desert sun and the monsoon rain (if it rains). But, it does not really matter. At least not to me; they were not meant to be eternal. I am not sure about the thoughts of the person who needs to be picking up soggy paper cranes.
Anyway, I thought perhaps I can invite friends, if they want, to come together on that day to string up the cranes and have them delivered to the hospital. Maybe we will laugh, or cry, or pig out, or pee in our pants. Or forget about the cranes and watch a chick flick.
I told someone-who-asked, I thought on that day I would always bake a cake, light the right number of candles, sing, try to imagine, and wail. But, like I said, I have read more and thought some more and I have different ideas now. I told her, that lately, I actually feel like throwing out F’s memory box. I gasped at my idea. Am I nuts?
But what’s in there? Allow me to divulge: a white teddy bear from the hospital; a piece of blue paper with his perfect and cute footprints; a small plastic bag with a little tuft of his hair; a clay figure I made in the last weeks of my pregnancy- a headless, swollen woman ripe with baby; two cards with his name, birth weight, length and my name on it; two wrist-tags with those same information as those cards; a blue cap from the hospital he never wore; a pair of blue socks from the hospital that he never wore; the velvet bag that held his ashes; a pair of hand-made hand-embroidered shoes that were bought for him, that he never wore. That’s it. Look carefully and you see that mostly they are attempts to hang on to the elusive memory of him.
I told her, I felt his essence had left that box. In the early days I would hug the box and cried me a river of tears. Now, I feel the box is really empty even though it is filled to the brim with all those things. He is not confined to that box; his spirit is not in that tuft of hair and his soul is not in those splotches of ink pressed on blue paper. Just like when we held his body and knew that he was no longer there, my baby son can no longer be represented by that blue box and/or its contents. What purpose would holding on to that box serve me?
He is in my heart. In my everything, my every cell. Sometimes when I smile, I remember how I smiled when I was cradling him inside of me. I think his essence is far from the box, but right in me. Remember my long babble-babble post on No Death, No Fear? He did not arise from nothing, and cannot be destroyed. He arose inside of me, due to a multitude of factors, and then he took on a different form. I don’t know what form, but I deeply believe that he is not gone. Yes, he has died; had no use of his physical flesh body. He left behind that physical body. And the body was cremated. Other than the body, what else is he? Other than my bones and flesh and pus and excrement and mucus, what else am I? He cannot be destroyed. The body turned into ashes, but I also do not think that is his new home. Somewhere he is, but I do not know where. Hopefully near. Some days, it feels very near to me. Like now. So near I feel like I can go get the box now and take it out and dump the entire thing into the garbage can.