Thursday, March 8, 2012

Preserving Lily's Legacy

I've blogged about Lily Kat's special scrapbook here, here, and here. If you can't tell by now, this scrapbook business is a pretty big deal to me. I've always loved the art of scrapbooking and spend hours going through memories in the form of photos and pasting them on a page just so, with stickers and quotes galore. I've never been one to just slap a page together. It takes time and lots of planning. The fact that I started this scrapbook in the summer of 2010 should show just how much time and planning! ha! No, I haven't been working on it that entire time. In fact, I didn't touch it for several months. Over the past couple months, I started cutting, pasting, and remembering again...this scrapbook is about remembering and honoring. It's a tribute to a life that never really got started, yet she did truly live. This scrapbook is a reminder of that. Through the pages of this very special book, I am preserving Lily's legacy. It makes me smile to think of her future brothers and sisters, cousins, etc. to get to know her through going on a journey of reading this blog and looking at her scrapbook. It's a way to tell her story that will be passed down to future generations...they will get to know the little girl who changed my world.

I realized I was prologing it for so long because this is the only scrapbook I can ever make for my precious firstborn. I won't get to make one a year to document each year of her life, like I had planned. Because it's the only one, I didn't want to rush it and wanted to enjoy it and take my time doing it. Also, because it's the only one, I think a part of me was afraid that it wouldn't be good enough, leaving me feeling dissatisfied with the outcome. I want to be pleased with it, considering I will be looking at it for the rest of my life!

I keep saying one scrapbook, which is what I had starting off. But it has actually developed into two. The first one is documenting my pregnancy and the time Lily was alive. I like that if you didn't know any different, you could look at that scrapbook and think it's a normal pregnancy scrapbook and then wonder how the little girl in the ultrasound photos is doing now, almost two. The second scrapbook shares my time meeting Lily, her memorial services, and other special things. I will post photos for both scrapbooks very soon! There is actually also going to be a third scrapbook, with photos from Mother's Days, Babylost Mother's Days, Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Days, hospital care packages, memorial walks, Lily's birthdays, and other special days and times that are in honor of Lily. It will also have lots of photos that dear friends have made in honor of Lily. So, in a way, I can always be working on a scrapbook for her, throughout the years doing a couple pages a couple times a year because her birthday and Mother's Day come every year! :) She just won't be in the pictures.

I have a goal to have the two scrapbooks finished by March 16th, Lily's second Heavenly birthday. It feels like it's time to complete them. I am ready to share them with friends and family. They will be done in time for her birthday celebration on the 17th.

This last month or so, I have been pouring my heart into these pages. I cannot daily serve my little girl, so it feels as if I'm serving her through working on this project for her. All the little details/final touches are coming together. It makes me so happy :) My sister is at her basic semester at Ellerslie, so I have officially taken over her room and made it scrapbooking headquarters...shh, don't tell her ;) My brother peeked in there the other day and came downstairs and said, "It's a scrapbooker's paradise up there." Haha!

I know I've shared a Michael's story before in a post. Well, I have another one for ya. I went to Michael's a couple weeks ago to get some supplies for the scrapbook. I find myself making so many trips to get papers, stickers, prints, glue, and anything else you can think of that might be used in a scrapbook. Thankfully, my neighborhood is about two miles from a major shopping center with a Target and Michael's. :) I prefer shopping at AC Moore for stickers because they have frequent, amazing deals and you can get so many for cheap! But, at times I will go to Michael's for the convenience. On this particular trip, I was getting the actual pages to scrapbook on. It wasn't planned, but I ended up with literally all pink. What can I say, pink was Lily's special color, like purple is mine. :) I've actually done a pretty good job with finding stickers that will work in the scrapbook. You just have to get creative and think outside of the box. As I mentioned in a previous post, when in the scrapbook section of a craft store and surrounded by first birthday and potty training stickers, it's easy to think, "where is the scrapbook section for your dead baby?" My friend Morgan says she and her husband have joked about opening up a store for all your needs when you lose a baby. It actually sounds great to me! Anyways, I'm rambling now.

So...at the store, I found all my pastel pink and polka-dotted papers and was in the check-out line. I just so happened to go into the store on the one day they were having an awesome deal on scrapbook papers, which of course made me get a lot. I also like to create homemade cards, so I went ahead and got some papers for that. Right before checking out, I was looking at my papers and thought, hmm...I think I'll get another one of these to make cards with and I'll do it now since there's a super sale. I went back to the scrapbook page isle and out of nowhere, there is this little, old lady standing smack dab in the middle of where I need to be. I said, "Excuse me, ma'am. I just need to grab one paper right there." After I grab it, she starts making small talk. Bless her heart, she was so sweet. She was just talking about what a great deal it was, how she likes to get crafty but usually gets things and forgets about them and by the time she finds them again, she's forgotten why she got them in the first place. I wasn't trying to be rude, but I really wanted to get going. I just knew she was going to say something that would make me sad/uncomfortable. It always seems to happen, I'm tellin' ya. She spotted my pink papers and said, "Oh, I see you have all pink. You must have a little girl!" Heart sinks. Tears in eyes. At a loss for words. It's funny that in these moments I never know how I'm going to react. And I never quite know what to say, no matter how many times they happen. This sweet little lady sounded so delighted and I just couldn't bear to burst her bubble. Blinking back years, I responded, "Yes, I do." I had hoped that would be the end of it and I could go on and recompose myself before getting back to the check-out counter. But, no. She then goes on to say, "That's wonderful! How old is she?" I could just hear her smile through her words. Of course I don't blame this precious lady because it's not like she could possibly know, but that doesn't change the fact that this was like a jab in the gut. I hesitated a moment, which may have seemed odd. But, I really didn't want to make her sad and I didn't want to explain that I was making a scrapbook for my Heavenly babe. So, after a few seconds of blinking back more tears and a deep inhale, I responded, "She's almost two..." Right away, I wondered if I should feel guilty. Did I somehow dishonor Lily? Was it wrong to lie? Was I a crazy lady for lying? She went on to say, "It's so good to see young people have children so young. You better have another soon. I'm sure she keeps you busy! I don't know how you have time to keep up with a scrapbook. Good for you, getting it done while she's young and not letting yourself get behind." I grinned and nodded along, thinking if only she knew. If only she knew I am not a super mom, keeping up with scrapbooking while my two-year-old tot is getting into all sorts of mischief. The reason I can do it is because she's not here. And no, I'm sorry, but I can't try again and have another baby.

I'm not sure how the conversation ended. I walked away, payed for my papers, and came home. After some thought, I realized that I'm not a crazy lady. I just didn't want to ruin that lady's night. I wasn't maliciously lying. And I didn't dishonor Lily in saying what I did. Lily did live and she is just as important and loved as if she were here right now. She is here, just in a different way. She deserves the most beautiful scrapbook I've ever made. As strange as it might sound to hear this, it felt good for just that once to smile and pretend that I was doing what normal mothers do. The person I was talking with didn't know my story or what happened on March 16th, 2010 at Rex Hospital. For even just a moment, I could pretend Lily was here and life was as I thought it'd be before I found out her heart had stopped on that dark and stormy day...

I will be sharing my scrapbook soon, so stay tuned! I will also share some tips/advice on how to get started on your own scrapbook for your precious baby in Heaven :)

I will leave you with some photos, documenting the scrapbook process. Oh yeah, I'm even going to add some pages of me making the scrapbook in the scrapbook. ;)




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This post left me:

8 comments:

  1. So sweet. I also LOVE to scrapbook. I have many children and do not have a lot of time anymore. I am kind of looking at my blog as a scrapbook. I love the photo's of your supplies...great idea to do two and to include the labor of love...scapbooking in the scrapbook. I am sad because I have very few Photo of Jonathan. I am trying to come up with ideas of things to add to his. Happy scrapbooking!

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    1. That's so true-your blog is like a scrapbook! And you certainly post plenty of photos on there :) There is this really neat website where you can upload all your posts, photos and all, and have them printed into a book. I plan on doing that with each year of my blog, to store in Lily's memory chest. I want it in print, not just online. You might look into www.blurb.com. I think there are others too, but that's the one I am going to use.

      I would love to see photos of Jonathan! Do you have them posted somewhere? I am going to add some posts with ideas on what to add to a scrapbook for Heavenly babies. Maybe you can get some ideas there :)

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  2. Hannah, ... I don't actually know or have words to say. Thank you for sharing your journey with us - for sharing Lily with us - I know that even for me healing and blessing in my life has come because of you and your Lily girl.
    Scrapbooking allows for the journalling of memories and cherishing of moments... How beautiful! Can't wait to see photos, Mamma Hannah!
    Rachael

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  3. I love to scrapbook but have found that I don't have the time for it like I used to. It was special making Carleigh's and hers turned into 2 books and even then I forgot to put some photos in so I ended up putting those in a photobook.

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    1. Oh, I would LOVE to see your scrapbooks Holly! Do you have photos of them on your blog?

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  4. I'll let everyone know when we get that store up and running ;) And you know I can't wait to see those scrapbooks! I'm really hoping seeing them will get me to start on Marcellus's. I think it's the getting things "just right" that is holding me back from starting. I'm afraid it won't be good enough. Definitely looking forward to getting tips/advice from you.

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  5. me too! I do scrapbooks for all my children!

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  6. Melanie here! I absolutely loved this piece, please email me--I have a question about your blog :) MelanieLBowen[at]gmail[dot]com

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