I sat down ready to write about grief. When I write I often pull myself back into the place of that bereaved mother in hospital. Sometimes it’s hearing the shattering news being delivered that our daughter was dead, or the moment of utter joy and complete devastation at birthing her beautiful perfect body. Maybe it’s the moment of holding her, her body still warm from birth, slowly realising she is never going to take a breathe, she is never going to fill her lungs with air and blast that euphoric newborn scream through the birthing suite.
In every aspect, there are endless parts of the story to write about, but today my mind couldn’t concentrate, my fingers only hovered over the keys.
Today my heart pulled me to open her keepsake box. Where her ashes lay in an ornate steal box covered in childhood pictures. Pictures that should be on her bedroom wall, watching over her as she sleeps, not on a trinket box that holds all I have left of her.
Even knowing it will break my heart over again, I pull out her blanket. The beautiful quilted blanket the midwife had made, not specifically for her, but a special gift made with love for the next baby to die in the hospital. Claudia was gifted this blanket and it kept her tiny cold body cushioned for all our hospital stay. Even after 5 years I can still smell her sweet newborn fragrance as if it was woven into the fabric. It is both torture and bliss.
I hold her photos, one by one. Each one a treasure. The scissors that cut her umbilical cord, her tiny hospital tags with her name handwritten on them. As the tears fall, my living children come to find me, they sit with me and we talk about their sister. Who she looks like, who she would be better friends with if she was here, what kind of ice-cream would be her favourite, how she would be so cool to have around.
After a while, it’s time to put the box of treasures back on the shelf. I’m not able to have her ashes out, that’s too much for me still. We move onto baths, showers, dinner and bedtime stories.
Everything falls back into balance, everything just moves forward, but today I really miss her and wish for the billionth time her space within this family was not just a memory.