Lovely Flowers

It’s been a long time since I’ve written routinely here. I have no other reason for that, really, than the fact that grief has become so ingrained into my daily life that I don’t have many words for it right now. It’s officially become my normal.

It feels weird not to have a lot to say. When we first lost Eleanora, I felt like I couldn’t get the words out fast enough. Suddenly my heart had exploded, and I was running around frantically, trying to pick up the pieces and make them make sense again. Now, I know that the pieces won’t ever fit back together perfectly again.

It’s hard to believe that nearly a year has passed since my daughter was born. I look back on the last almost-ten months, and I barely remember half of it. Trauma erases so much memory. I try to look forward to our future, and it’s equally difficult to picture our lives with children at home. It’s hard to picture soccer games without tears of “your sister should be here cheering you on, too.” It’s hard to picture dance recitals and back-to-school shopping and teenage years and prom nights. How will we do those things without shedding tears? How will we ever feel whole again? How do we keep Eleanora included five, ten, twenty-five years from now? My biggest fear is that she’ll be forgotten or that people will stop talking about her once we have more children. They’ll assume that we’re okay, that a living baby replaces the one we lost. They’ll want us to stop talking about her or to move on.

I will still say, five, ten, twenty-five years from now, “I will not stop talking about her. She is my child. None of my other children replace her. I still miss her. My heart still has a gaping hole in it, and it will until the day I die.”

I know I’ve felt quiet lately, and I noticed last night that I felt like Eleanora hadn’t visited in a while either. She did today.

I had therapy first thing this morning, and it was a little more emotional than the last few sessions have been. As I said, I have a lot of anxiety and uncertainty about what our future holds. I have a lot of intrusive thoughts about death and dying and funerals. I wonder how much time I have left. I burst into tears knowing that either Daniel or I will have to mourn the other. I worry that, because I only prayed to God that Eleanora would be a “healthy, happy baby” and didn’t specify that I wanted her to live, he will answer my prayers for our next child to be “alive, healthy, and living at home with us,” with an early death for me. I worry that I will have more children, but won’t get to see them grow up.

All of this came out this morning, and needless to say, I was tearful. I went to the grocery store after my appointment to pick up my medicine and a couple of groceries. I decided to grab a bouquet of flowers for Eleanora since we plan to visit her in the next couple of days.

I stood in front of the floral section trying to decide which bouquet she might like best if she were here. I ended up grabbing a bunch of coral-colored roses. They felt perfect. As I put them in my cart, I thought to myself, “I really hope she’ll like these.”

I picked up the rest of my groceries and my medicine and went to self-checkout. When I grabbed the flowers to scan them, the cashier turned to me and said, “What beautiful flowers!” I smiled and said, “Thank you! I thought so too.” I contemplated telling her that they were for my daughter, but I knew that if I did, I’d find myself crying in the middle of Kroger, and that’s just not something I wanted to do at 10 a.m. on a Monday.

I finished checking out and headed to my car. There was an older gentleman sitting in the car next to mine. He had his window rolled down and seemed to be waiting on someone. As I started loading the groceries into my backseat, he smiled and said, “Lovely flowers!”

I smiled back and said “thank you” and got into my car. Then the tears came.

Such a simple thing, but I think it was important.

When we had Eleanora’s tile installed at the hospital last month, the preacher who oversaw the ceremony said that different people will be sent into our lives as we need them during our grieving process. I like to believe that Eleanora sent those two people this morning to reassure me that the flowers I picked were perfect. In a small way, she reassured me that I’m doing a good job as her mama. There are very few things I can do to mother my child in Heaven, and this is one of the most important to me—making sure that she always has the most beautiful flowers. Those words from strangers felt like a tiny hug from Heaven, and I never want to forget them.

You Might Also Like...