We are moving.
Moving day is one day away and if you walked into our house right now you would never know we are going anywhere.
I have found another aspect of losing a baby that know one told me about.
Packing is paralyzing.
Every time I open a closet or drawer I stumble upon one more Hadley thing and I don’t know what to do with it so I stop and try to start again somewhere else.
A year or so after we lost her I was able to fumble through her NICU items and fold up her unworn pink. I put everything in a pretty box and put it up in our closet. I cannot look in there often but I never forget it is there.
What I forgot about was the hidden pieces of grief.
I forgot about the social security card under my socks that had the audacity of showing up in our mailbox with the others and the “you can make it a little longer” note written by a dear friend of my mom’s while I was still pregnant, hiding under my sweaters, holding beautiful thoughts of all I would look forward to in my life with triplets, and the cards and vases and dried flowers from her memorial, all more than I could bare to look at on a daily basis.
I had even forgotten about the bracelet.
When you have a baby in the NICU you get a hospital bracelet to wear that matches theirs. You wear it until your baby comes home to identify you as the parent.
Mark and I had three. As each baby was born we looked at each other and laughed in amazement as the nurses put on one after the other after the other. We were in awe of our arms full.
After a few days of wear we each needed one less but I never took mine off. I wore it until the ink started to fade and then carefully removed it because I was afraid to lose one more detail of her life.
While packing up my drawers today it slipped right into my hand along with grief too heavy to carry and I was useless once again.
I don’t know how to pack up my daughter and the life she never had. I don’t know what to do with the memories collected on her shelf or her ashes or the clothes she did not wear. A cardboard box falls entirely short.
I’m not sad to leave this house because all of the important things are coming with me.
I’m sad to do one more thing without her,
to go one more place without my whole family,
to keep on going with pain that is easier to put in a drawer than to face.
There is no guidebook for living after losing a baby, no section on how to pack your child’s ashes, so I am learning I have to write my own…
And as this chapter begins I have decided what to write.
I will bring her to her new home just as I brought her to her first.
I will carry her.
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