At first I started a scrapbook. I had planned to start it when I was still pregnant, but didn't. When Eve died, I was determined to make her a scrapbook. But when it came down to it, the task was overwhelming. Part of that was because, whenever I went shopping for supplies, everything was so happy. It seemed to make my sadness even worse, to mock my loss. I hated it.
The other part of the overwhelm was caused by (you might have already guessed it . . .) my need for the scrapbook to be absolutely perfect. Apparently I forgot that this would only be the second time I'd tried my hand at scrapbooking ever, and expected it to be the most impressive, detailed, and expertly dimensioned scrapbook the world had ever seen.
The last part of the overwhelm that I felt came from the sheer emotion of the task. This would be the only thing I could ever make for my daughter -- and it wasn't even for her, really. But it was as close as I'd ever get, and when it was finished . . . well, then her death would feel so final, her life so dreadfully over. I suppose I've come to a better place of the acceptance of the finality of her death now, at least at times, but I still can't bring myself to continue the scrapbook.
And so Eve's scrapbook remains unfinished, tucked safely into a box. I hope that one day I will be able to finish it. But for now, it can wait.
That still left the problem of her photos unsolved, however. I decided that the next best solution to a scrapbook was a photo album, and so I began searching for one. But none ever seemed right.
Finally, some weeks ago, I found this one. Pink and purple, sparkly and deliciously girly, it seemed to whisper my daughter's name to me (for some reason, this album's "happiness" did not seem to bother me like it had with the scrapbook supplies). So I bought it, and toted it home . . . and left it to collect dust.
Until today. Yesterday I was having some cramping that, while I'm sure is totally normal, freaked me out (you understand, my fellow pregnant-after-a-loss friends), so my doctor recommended that I take it easy for a day and just try to relax. So that's what I've been doing today.
Except that it was boring (if I'm ever put on bedrest, I'm going to be in trouble). So, while I was idling through our house, looking for some way to occupy myself, my eyes fell on the abandoned album. I picked it up, gathered Eve's photos, and before I knew it the task was completed. I even started our rainbow baby's photo album, with its sweet giraffes (and which had been collecting dust for even longer than Eve's album).
Was it hard to do? In some ways, yes. The photos of us with Eve in the hospital are hard to see. A large part of me wishes that time could have stopped right then, that I could just live in the few moments I had with my daughter, in the moments when the sadness had passed and I was basking in the mother glow, a mama with her new baby, happy and proud.
But in putting together the album, I can also see that I've come a long way from that time. That, although it doesn't feel like it, there has been healing. Not complete healing, but some. Enough that I can get out of bed in the morning with a sense of hope, not fear. Enough that I can look toward the future with anticipation instead of longing only for the past. Enough to know that it is okay to miss my daughter forever but also enjoy what I can of this life that I've been given.
I am glad for that.