Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Scrapbooking My Grief Away & Meredith's Birthday

I have always loved this graphic of an angel pushing a baby into Heaven. If  Meredith had to go to Heaven early, this is how I imagine her arrival. Today is her 38th birthday - 38 years of missing her, loving her, mourning her and the memories we didn't get to make, knowing she is safe with Jesus.
About four years ago, I started making a scrapbook for her. I put it aside for other projects and worked on it every now and then. One scrapbook turned into two. I made pages with the get well cards I received when I was on bedrest and the sympathy cards we received when she died. Even though she lived three days, we received only one baby congratulations card. Can you imagine how utterly special that card is to me? I then scrapbooked poems about baby loss I found on the internet. If I found an appropriate baby card, I bought it for her scrapbook. I searched many scrapbook embellishment aisles for the ones I loved best. My niece, who is a somewhat professional scrapbooker, gifted me with lovely papers and embellishments from her stash, as did my daughters. If the twins were shopping and saw something they thought I would like, they would get it for me. Then I started collecting things I sent away for, like Carly Marie's Names In The Sand from Australia. Another lady offered names in the sand in Hawaii and a tiny sack of sand from there, too. Kind people sent me many keepsakes for Meredith. The flat ones, like cards and pictures, were used in her books. I have a lovely handkerchief from Debby and angel wings from Lea, to name just a couple of these gifts.  And I also made several of the tags for her that I love to make for other bereaved moms. This summer I decided I was going to finish her books once and for all and I completed them last night. The one scrapbook expanded into four scrapbooks, two memory boxes, and a sweet paperbag scrapbook, a gift from another baby loss mother. I cannot express my thanks enough to all the special women who have written her name on beaches, sent up balloons and lanterns with her name on them, made graphics with her name, released butterflies for her, embroidered her name, taken pictures of roses, crafted bracelets and pendants, created paper butterflies, placed pinwheels dedicated to her in gardens, made Christmas ornaments - the list could go on and on. The baby loss community is an extremely giving one.
In completing these books and affixing these gentle pieces of love received from others and the things that I collected, I felt layers of grief slipping off my soul. I left the hospital with a book of names I was given before her birth and a beaded bracelet that I know she never wore. This was after I begged the lady from the morgue to give me her paper and plastic hospital bracelet but she sent the beaded one instead. Making these books of memory for my daughter helped strip away some of my hurt. I know it is not all gone, but I do feel better. I hope this feeling lasts. I hope this winter when it is cold and gray that my heart remains healed. I pray that I don't melt into tears as much as I have in the past. I just want lasting relief and I don't know if it is possible. But I do know this - Meredith will always be loved and honored, and that doesn't mean I have to suffer emotionally to do that. Happy birthday in Heaven to our precious first little girl - we love you!

" untimely frost upon the sweetest flower in all the field."
                                                                  - Shakespeare