In an attempt to settle the chaos in my head I’m in a state of household cleansing, organising and decluttering. I do this every year on some level but this year I’ve included the task of properly sorting everything I’ve ever kept from Emma and Ashton.
Going through every one of those beautiful little baby scribbles, paint prints of chubby hands, hand written stories and colourful paintings, I can’t help but feel the hole in my heart throb. I can’t help but think how Elliott should have his own crate starting to fill with his own artwork and memories of me watching him do them. I can’t help imagine him as the nearly two year old he would be, covered in paint, a look of delight as he squeezes it through his fingers and over the paper.
So instead we must cherish the only tiny little hand and foot prints we have. Prints that will never grow, frozen forever in time as our beautiful, perfect, tiny baby.
Instead we have a memory box filled with the wraps that touched his skin, half of the blanket that he was laid forever to sleep in, beautiful cards of love from people who I hope will remember him always and every single item that had anything to do with him, right up to the receipts for his coffin and urn.
Instead we can only fill his memory box with precious drawings and letters from other people, his siblings and other children who speak his name with love.
I’m filled with a deep missing and yearning for our baby right now.
We were supposed to love him forever, not miss him forever.
We were supposed to watch HIM grow, not learn to grow around our grief.
I am also filled with so much gratitude to have the box of memories we do have of him and these growing boxes of precious artwork, schoolwork and memories of my other two.
There’s been an added layer of difficulty as I’ve had to throw some things out. I’ve kept boxes and boxes of things their little hands have put a pen/crayon/paintbrush to and we are really running out of space in our house.
As I struggle to place some of the items in the bin I think of all the “just be grateful for the children you have” comments I’ve had. I’m so tired of the whispers “she’s got other children to think about” from those who have no idea what my life really looks like on a day to day basis. I’m so over having to justify my grief for my child and defend my abilities and commitment as a parent to my living children because I am grieving.
If only people understood how devastating it truly is to bury your baby.
If only they knew how I think about my living children so much I’m regularly kept up at night reliving every second of the day I couldn’t make positive, filled with guilt because I know how precious every second is.
If only they knew I’m so grateful for them that throwing out a random ripped out colouring in page that probably took my son or daughter a whole 2 minutes to do feels like I’m completely betraying them and leaves a pit in my stomach.
I am completely aware how blessed I am to see not just one but two children grow into little people now at school. There is not a second that goes by that I forget that. But I still wish with every breath that I had my third child also here doing all these things.