There’s a few things going on that are simply too big; too fraught to find words to express them. The only word I seem to have is glargh. (Which I do realize is not actually a word. But it’s so descriptive! I like it. Feel free to judge.)

The big thing is, Oliver’s ashes are finally ready to be picked up. It’s been a long time (almost six months) and I don’t know why really – there was the whole inquest thing, and it took awhile for them to release him, and then they did and now…yes. Now. It’s ready to be picked up. But I don’t seem to have the guts to actually go and get them. I want to…but I am scared. I don’t know why really. Part of it is, I guess, that I don’t really know what to do with them. I just want to keep them for now but I worry that that is weird. And where do I put them?? Do I display them? Do I put them in a drawer?? What do I do?!?

I think part of the problem, the struggle, is that there is such a fine line between “them” (the ashes) and “him” (the baby). And I fight not to think of them as “him”. They aren’t him; not at all. And yet there’s a tendency to think like that, isn’t there? And see, when it’s “him” and not “them”, how can I possibly put “him” in a drawer, or on a shelf, or on display somewhere? And then *that* line of reasoning leads me into crazyville where I think I should be setting “him” a place at the table or something. You see? GLARGH.

The other part of the reason I am reluctant to pick them up is….well, it just feels like closing a door or something. It’s the last thing. The last thing that has to be done for him. Everything else…the coroner’s report; the insurance bits…they are done. We’ve met with the high risk people and know what our future can hold that way. There is nothing more to do. And so it feels like another ending – like a final chapter. Part of me just wants to ask my husband to do it….but I can’t, I don’t think. I need to be there too.

Another thing I can’t figure out is what to do with the vast numbers of imprints I have of his feet and hands. What do I do with those? I have at least five casts of his feet; one of his hands and feet; and several ink prints of both as well. It seems like a lot of them. They….well, I like having them I think, but I just don’t really know what to do with them. Some I like better than others – there are impressions of his feet that were done right away, and I love those. They are him, as he was. The hands and feet together were done later, by the funeral home and I like them, but I can tell looking at them that he was no longer living. And I *hate* that. His nails were too long and I want to cut them. It really bothers me, but they are the only casts I have of his hands. What do I do??

For those of you that have lost children, what do you do? Do you display them? Pack them away and just have them? I’m really trying to unearth the right thing here…

Mementos…they are so hard. They are so wonderful to have – I have a hat, and his socks, that are in a plastic bag from the hospital and every so often I open the bag and I swear I can still smell him. I guess it won’t be that way forever; eventually it will fade….but right now I love having it. But I don’t know what to do with all of them. I am utterly incapable of distinguishing what matters from what doesn’t. I don’t know what to do with all of this stuff – I don’t know how to decide what I’ll want to use for another baby and what I won’t. I don’t want to build him a shrine but I want his few things to have a place in our house, even though he never got to be here. I don’t know how to do that.



2 responses to this post.

  1. Oh Christy. Oh dear. Glargh is about right. I think it may catch on, there are situations in this whole messy business that just don’t have the right words invented to describe them as yet.

    I hated going to pick up G’s ashes. You are right, it was the last thing. So indisputably the last thing that I will ever do for her.

    I have G’s ashes still. They are in a plastic bag with her name on them, which is how I collected them from the crematorium. I have wrapped them in her blanket, which was a heirloom knitted by her great-grandmother. Why? Because part of me wants to compensate her for the characterless plastic bag? Because I’m worried that she might be cold? Because I still want to hold ‘her’ in a blanket I think. But I’m actually holding ‘them’ in a plastic bag in a blanket. Crazyville might not even start to cover it.

    I don’t know. I’ve kept everything. All the probes that were on her body, the sats monitors, her ID bracelets, her incubator label, everything. Even things the hospital gave me that never touched her. Spare hats. Why am I keeping her spare hats? I don’t know. Glargh. Hope you make a better go of it than me. I hope it isn’t too awful going to pick them up, I hope you find a place for Oliver’s ashes that you are happy with. Hijacked your comments again. Sorry. xx


  2. I too remember the day we got the phone call that the headstone was ready. I was so upset…I mean, we had been waiting on that day. We really wanted it done. But when we finally got the call, I felt like I had been punched in the stomach. I felt like everything there was for me to do for my boys, was finally done. We didn’t owe anyone anymore money, we had no more decisions to make…like that, it was over. I feel like my role as a mommy is over now. 😦

    I think its great you are able to look at Olivers things. I haven’t been able to look at my sons things. Our son we lost in September, his first birthday and angel day is coming up and I still haven’t been able to look at them. Our son we lost in June, same thing. I haven’t been able to open his memory box…there are so many things in there (things from the NICU), but I just haven’t been able to. I want to, but as I think about doing it, I feel like I have been punched in the stomach again. It sucks. 😦

    Just know, you aren’t alone.



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