Last night was my last day of work this week. My husband has been home with Kai. The other day they went and took flowers to Daryl's mother's grave. Kai was talking about how papa and uncle Brian put grandma in a box and buried her because she died. We were talking about burying people. My almost 3 year old asks "why" a lot. Dealing with dead bodies in our society consist of two options bury or cremate. Last night talking about grandma being buried led to Camille being in a box on our shelf but not buried. "Why?" I told him we didn't want to bury Camille in the ground so she was put in a special fire where her body was burned but it didn't hurt because she was dead. Her body turned into ashes and they put them in a little box. Kai said he was worried about that. He didn't want the box in our house. So I asked him if he wanted to see the box so he wouldn't be worried. We went into the library, the little white box is on the shelf. I hadn't noticed that my husband put these little tiny plastic Christmas flowers around the base of the box. I hadn't noticed. It makes me sad. He must think of her. I know that sounds like an obvious statement, but he doesn't talk to me about Camille. He is so stoic about it. It hurts me, but it is what it is. I took down the little white box and I let Kai carry it. He wanted me to open the box. It has been almost 6 months since Camille died. I haven't done this yet. I have never opened the box. I did. I was crying.
There is a little bag inside the box
A brass circle with a number imprinted on it is around the closure of the bag.
The ashes are light gray.
There are pieces of white bone in them.
These ashes...they are of my daughter.
I wish I didn't know a full term baby's ashes only take up about 1 measuring cups worth of space.
The sadness I feel could fill a universe.
Kai asked:"is her heart in there?"
Me:"Yes, but it was only her body, she wasn't alive anymore, she couldn't walk or talk, she wasn't alive."
Me: "I don't know why she died. Her heart just stopped beating."
Kai: "Where did she go?"
Me: "Where do you think she went?"
Kai: "Maybe she is in the sun or the trees or at the beach."
Me: "That seems like a good place for her energy to be. She will always live in our hearts near our peaceful place."
Looking at my child's ashes wasn't part of my life plan. This Wasn't Part Of My Agenda For Life. How is it that I find myself sitting on the floor with my precious first born son talking about his dead sister? We went back up stairs, it is 9:45pm, way past any idea of bed time. My husband was in the living room. He sat and watched the interaction and answered any questions directed at him in one word statements...not wanting to participate in this. We are sitting on the bed, I am crying, no books tonight baby... I just can't read a book.
Kai: "Mama, don't be sad, lets talk about something happier, she was just dead, she couldn't feel it."
Me: "I will always be sad about Camille because I love her and I miss her and she is my baby."
Kai: "I want to see a picture of her"
I told him to go down and ask his father to show him pictures, trying to get him to become more involved. Kai leaves, then returns with a pouty look on his face and he explains that papa said no. So I take him and get Camille's memory box down and sit on the living room floor and open the box. I look at my husband and say sternly: "If Kai requests to talk about his sister or see pictures of his sister, no matter what time it is, we do it."
I have shown him pictures before but it has been a while. We take out the crocheted little blanket, the baby hat and gown, the little pink card with her name and birth stats. The cards with her hand and foot prints and 4 pictures.
Kai comments as he looks at the photos: "tiny little feet", "what a cute little baby", "she's like me when I was a baby"
We put everything back in the box. Back upstairs, I ask if he feels better and he says he does.