Thursday, December 25, 2008

O Christmas Tree

On the list of things I never imagined on the day we married: Chris and I owning a 4-person cemetery plot in our early 30s. Many parents of lost babies keep their children's ashes near them, on the fireplace mantle or bedroom dresser. We chose to rest Baker's urn at our local cemetery, and I like having a place to go. In the summer, we sometimes walked the round trip 4 miles with grass clippers in tow. We haven't decided on a permanent stone yet, largely because neither of us are ready to commission the giant LAST NAME marker that is common in this resting place. So instead we placed an antique urn and chose a dwarf Alberta spruce for Baker's first Christmas tree. So on this difficult Christmas Day when I am far away visiting family, I know it stands tall and prominent to mark the spot where we laid him nearly 9 months ago.

Monday, December 22, 2008


Two things you won't find in my kitchen: frozen peas and sage. What do I have against them? Let's just say they evoke certain memories-memories that, unlike the feel of Baker's achingly soft cheeks and fuzzy head, I would rather not remember. I read somewhere, perhaps Glow in the Woods, that producing milk to nourish a baby that my body did not know was dead "sucks eternal suckitude". Let me be clear-there is no magic drug for ending lactation. One must wait it out. So at the advice of my midwife, my creative mother came up with new and interesting ways to incorporate sage into my diet. Sage on green beans, vegetable soup with sage, sage in my oatmeal (OK, that last one is not true). Chris special-ordered sage tea from a natural foods store, and I dutifully choked it down. Six bags of frozen peas were put in rotation between two tight sports bras. My days went something like this: insert two bags before bed, fall asleep eventually, wake up to smell of warm mushy peas, gag, return peas to freezer, insert frozen peas, repeat for 7 days.

I trashed the bags of mushy peas long ago, but recently discovered the sage tea bags in the cupboard. In the trash they went, but not before asking Chris to witness my little ceremony of defiance. I'm taking the chance that I will never need them again.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Someone asked me who the Lazy Cat is

Here he is in the fur and flesh. He loves naps, laps, and nose scratches. Hemingway taught me how to properly relax during my pregnancy with Baker. Little does he know that someday soon he will earn his kitty vittles hunting mice at the farm.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Structural Work

The “How are you doing?” question is so hard.

I’m breathing.

I got out of bed this morning.

I’m employed.

I think of my lost boy every waking hour.

I’m grieving.

Yes, I’m STILL grieving, get it?

Our external appearances have started to return to some semblance of normalcy, but under the surface, there lies complexity, damage, challenge, and hurt.

We invest energy and time on our structural repairs. We locate the damaged timbers of our hearts and minds and reinforce the weak areas with our memories of the time that we had with Baker, with the kindness of friends and family, and with the knowledge that our boy is with us in spirit.

Like us, the house is riddled with problem areas, rot, weaknesses, and challenges, hidden beneath a reassuring fa├žade. We seek these areas out; we cut back to good wood; we find solutions and patch together the old and the new, to create a new old house that is pieced together like the new old us.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Friday, December 12, 2008

Kindness from Strangers

Baker's first ornament was knitted by a kind woman I met online. Amy's baby girl died last year at fullterm. I wasn't sure that I wanted to put up a Christmas tree this year, but it is there and it is lovely. Thank you, Amy, for helping us make Baker a part of the holiday.