Tonight, after watching a couple vlogs from Still life with Circles I was very emotional.
Earlier today I was looking at Harlow's feet. I had this moment where I realized that her feet looked very much like I remembered Camille's looking. I knew I had to look at my pictures to see if I was right. After I watched the vlogs, with Camille very much on my mind, I decided to look at the photos.
It breaks my heart, my eyes become blurry with tears. My daughter is not as beautiful as I remember. Damn those photos for not being what I remember, but rather what was reality. Damn them for not making her look more alive, for not washing the dead away. No instagram filter to soften the death.
Ever since Harlow was born I tell everyone how much she looks like her brother and sister. They all have very similar characteristics...similar features. All my children have the same nose, chin, ears and feet. I call them cookie cutter kids because our genes seem to match up the same way each time. I could see them in Camille, but she was dead.
It changes the way she would have looked. Some sleep deprived nights I can look down at Harlow and it is like I am nursing Kai. That is how similar they look. They look so much more alike especially because of their aliveness. In my moments of sadness in the middle of the night I sometimes secretly wish that maybe just maybe Harlow and Camille are the same, that my baby didn't really die. That never happened to me. I don't want to be the women who's daughter died. I wish it hadn't happened. I want it to go away. I am not confused and I do not pretend. It is a passing flicker of a thought. When I look at those photos, Camille looks a lot like Jean, Daryl's mother, to me; mostly in her mouth. I remember being fascinated with her tongue. I kept thinking about how it should move and cry, what it would feel like sucking on my breast. A newborns tongue is so different and unique from a child or adults tongue. And so there are a lot of photos where her mouth is open because I wanted pictures of her tongue. But this just made her look more dead, mouth gapping
Her hand that should be clasping my finger, lay open and limp; perfect tiny fingers. .
But the pictures lie...My daughter was beautiful. It took me a while to see past her death and recognize her beyond the lack of life. Now that is how I choose to remember. I am so thankful for those photos but I don't really like looking at them. Memories are softened and many times our mind chooses to remember the joy more than the sorrow, but when the memory is of the death and birth of your child there is very little except sorrow and pain, anguish and loss. And so I am trying to choose to remember the beauty I saw, the photo filter my mind has created around the fading memory of her beautiful face.