Monday, June 21, 2010

It's all I'll ever have

Hesitantly, I ventured into the space that belongs to her. Everywhere I look, there are screaming reminders of what could have been, the dreams that died that stormy March day. Today was the second time since Lily left this world that I was brave enough to go in there. And the only reason I did was because I wanted to find the little outfit she wore at the hospital and the matching blanket she was swaddled in, to add to my Lily chest. I've been desperately wanting a place to keep all my sacred keepsakes, all the things that remind me of her. And today I found it. I found the most perfect memory chest to house all my most beloved possessions. If there were a fire, it would be the first thing I would grab. I've wanted a concrete place to keep these things, but didn't quite know where to find it or how much it would cost. At GoodWill, of all places, there it awaited me. $23.71. That's what I paid for something so precious. It is exactly the way I envisioned it (pictures to come) and her things fit in there like a glove. The chest was just made for me.

I have everything in there that I want, everything that is, except for her hospital outfit and blanket. I know I must go upstairs to search for it, but I've been too afraid to go in there. 

The instant I walk in, my entire mood shifts. Gloomy, sad, lonely. My heart is heavy as I look around at all the decorations my mom and I had so meticulously figured out the placement of. The bright color scheme no longer seems exciting and cheery, but dark and somber. The paintings on the wall of a child and her mother, the crib, the dresser. I peek in each drawer and recognize all the tiny outfits that we had so enjoyed picking out and it rips my heart out knowing she never got to wear those tiny clothes that she would have already outgrown. I couldn't bear to take those outfits out and look at them. I'm not quite ready to face that dream that was snatched away so soon. I look in the closet where mom had created the "changing station." The pink walls surround the fully stocked changing table, with everything from Burt's Bees diaper cream and diapers, to kitten baby towels. It was all ready to go, now it just sits untouched, unused, unnoticed. Time seems to be frozen to a time before March 16th, when life was happy and I was full of hope. My green diaper bag that I got for free at LifeCare and matches perfectly with Lily's Moses basket sits at the foot of the changing table. Slowly, I unzip it, not knowing what I'll find. It's full of the things we packed to go to the hospital with. We had packed her bag and had it ready long before my own bag. After carefully examining which outfits Lily would look her best in, we made our selections. The only outfit left in there is pink. One of the other outfits that had been in there Lily had worn at the hospital and the other, she now wears buried beneath the earth. There are wipes, and newborn diapers, and coupons for baby items in that bag. Hanging in the closet is that darling pink dress, the one we picked out specifically for her to wear on my 21st birthday, this August 12th. And oh, it just hurts. I must get out of this room.

Then, it hit me. All the memories I will ever have of Lily can be stored in that tiny chest. Instead of a lifetime of memories, scrapbooks and clothes outgrown, what rests in that box is all I have. Instead of bins of barbie dolls and magazines from American Girl, I have a baby doll that waits in a crib for a little girl that will never come. Instead of a future of stories and laughter, I have merely memories of stories and laughter. Instead of hair cuts and braids, I have a small strand of her hair. Instead of scribbled papers that are priceless pieces of art in my eyes, I have papers that the hospital gave on how to deal with grief. Instead of a little girl presenting the news like her mommy did, saying things like, "George Washington had a very bad day today," I have an imagination that I use to try to picture how my little girl might have been. 

A lifetime of memories has to fit into that little chest. And it's not'll never be enough. But, it's all I have. And I cling to it.


This post left me:


  1. As you well know, my love, my heart is also bleeding, like the Bleeding Heart the Kirchmans gave you.

  2. I feel your pain girl, I know it hurts. :( Praying for you...

  3. Oh Hannah...sooooo relate to this. Totally know the feeling of the room that was once so joyous and filled with hope is now just a reminder of what will never be. Diaper bag still packed with outfits never to be worn.

    Oh how my heart aches with yours...wish I could give you a big, big hug!

  4. Oh Hannah, what a well said post. I can definitely relate. All the things I have of Alexandra can fit into one tiny, satin box. Every time I go in her nursery, it looks so sad and looks like time just stopped. There are clothes untouched, diapers never used, things still in their packaging. It just breaks my heart. Many, many loving thoughts sent your way.

  5. Beautiful and heartbreaking. I can't wait to see pictures of the perfect memory box you found. I haven't been able to touch the nursery. We had set up the furniture and bought all the bedding and accessories literally 4 days before Stevie died. I can't stand to undo any of it yet :(

  6. I am so sorry, my heart aches for you. I hate that everything we have left that our babies touched or that represents them somehow fits into a small box and that we will never have anything new to add to it.

    It isn't fair.

  7. So beautifully and painfully written. I just recently sobbed these very same words to my husband. It's not enough, but it all we have. I am so sorry for the loss of your beautiful angel. sending you love and hugs.

  8. My heart aches for you. The nursery is such a painful place for us; I'm glad that we moved, even though it cost us a great deal of financial hardship. :(

  9. :( I'm SO sorry Hannah. I truly know how you feel and I absolutely hate it. I wish we all had a lifetime of memories with our babies instead of a little "chest" full that we will cherish for the rest of our lives. Sending you love and hugs today and everyday <3

  10. Totally relate. All of the things we have of Carleigh are in her memory chest. Her perfect memory chest. Really, it's beautiful but I wish we didn't have to have it.

    I am glad that you found the perfect one for her. You just know when it's right.

  11. I would love to see your special memory box


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