Ashes and teddy bears

A FB post on the Washington, DC area Pregnancy and Infant Loss Network page led me to this prompt:

“A conversation about acceptance has led me to post this for you to fill in: “I have my child’s body/ashes __________, and I hold ______ when ______. ” Many people keep their babies at home, even holding or sleeping with an urn, etc. “Normal” comes to mean a whole nutha thing in extraordinary circumstances.”

To answer: I have my child’s ashes in a faux wooden box on a shelf in my main living area (the wall between kitchen and dining room), and I hold one of the stuffed animals that I associate with him when I miss cuddling his little body against mine.

As I’m sure I mentioned previously, I haven’t been able to scatter his ashes yet, though K would like them scattered where we got married. But we have agreed, on the advice of our grief support group, that there is no rush. It’s not something you can take back, after all. So for now, they sit on a shelf with several other objects that remind me of him: a candle, a Willow sculpture, a picture of us holding him, a letterpress A, a small glass dragon/dinosaur. The shelf is visible from anywhere in our main living area, the kitchen/dining room/living room combo (open floor plan condo). Someday, I plan to get him a nicer box, but for now, this will do.

The stuffed animals are in a different room, on a shelf in what would have been his nursery. There is a corduroy dinosaur we got at the hospital gift shop for him, the two bears we got at our grief support group (a koala and a teddy wearing a blue onesie), a frog from his grandparents that snuggled with him during kangaroo care, and a very soft, small fox K brought home from a conference. When I need a hug, they are there, which was the point of our support group giving each member a stuffed cuddly animal. They knew what we broken-hearted, hurting mamas needed.

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4 Responses to Ashes and teddy bears

  1. That sounds perfect and beautiful for you all (for now). 🙂

    Sometimes that visual is exactly what we need to find solace because without it, the “sound” of our child’s absence from our life is obtrusively deafening.

    To fill in for us: I have Delilah’s body buried in my hometown cemetery, and I hold a stuffed animal angel bear that my children & husband gave me Valentine’s weekend (just before her memorial/burial), when my thoughts of her get overwhelming.

  2. kaitlynva says:

    I love the idea that this is something we all have in common… At times it does feel like I’m the only one with the experience of caring for my child’s remains and grabbing onto whatever helps me feel close to him, but it helps to think that others have such a similar experience.

    Sacha’s body is buried above my grandmother’s in Illinois. I keep his blanket from the hospital in bed with me, and his stuffed elephant in my car, and I look at them and hold them whenever I miss him most.

  3. jasmine shei says:

    Like you I keep my baby’s ashes for now. It made him more real.

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