Wednesday, September 17, 2008
I have been busy the past few days getting ready for a garage sale we are having at the church this weekend. A bunch of us are doing the Financial Peace University by Dave Ramsey. We are selling things we don’t use to make money to put toward our debt.
As I have been going through our stuff it has been hard to ignore the pile of things in the corner of my room. I have been avoiding going through that pile for a while now. In that pile are blankets, sleepers, stuffed animals, pictures, leg braces, a back brace, and many toys. These are the things that are left of my Emma. How do you take a life and pack it away in a box? How do you put it somewhere knowing that these things will never be used again, yet you just can’t let go of them? Among those things are two stuffed animals, an Elmo and a monkey, that Emma slept with every night and if you hold them to your face and breathe in deeply, you can smell her still. It is all I have left and to protect that smell I keep those animals sealed in a plastic bag. I take them out only when Allie or I need to be reminded, to feel her, to smell her. To reassure ourselves that she was real, she existed, she had a smell…
Dean’s cousin sent us an email this week that brought us some comfort. Here is part of what she said:
“I wanted to share a couple of stories with you. I hope you don’t mind, but I thought these were special…
First, a couple years ago when Lauryn was born you gave us some toys / baby items that were Emma’s. One of them is a yellow giraffe that says prayers. We have had them in her room since she was born and she plays with the giraffe every so often. Recently, she was in her crib and she said “Mommy, I want angel”. I had no idea what she was talking about so I pointed to a couple of different stuffed animals, and she said “No, Mommy” and pointed right to the giraffe. I don’t know how or when she decided on this, but the giraffe is now ”angel”. (She had never mentioned a name for the giraffe previously.)
This was about 2 weeks ago.
Then, a couple days later Lauryn and I were in the kitchen and I was getting her dinner ready. She was in her high chair and I was over by the stove. When I was facing the stove, I heard her say “Hold me, Angel, hold me!” I turned around and saw that she was looking up straight ahead (not at me) with her arms held in the air - outstretched as if she was wanting to be picked up. It was really something!
Then, later that week Lauryn and I took a walk around the block and she kept mentioning “angel”. I didn’t know exactly what she was saying, but she certainly was interested in Angel.
In any case, I thought these were special moments - especially since the first mention of Angel stemmed from Emma’s giraffe toy. I don’t know if any of these moments are connected to one another, but I feel as if they are. I was not sure how to share these stories but I thought they may bring some sort of comfort in knowing that there are reminders all around us of Emma, and they bring smiles to those of us who know her and miss her.”
Thank you, Erika, for sharing those stories with us. They mean more to us than you could ever know. They remind us that Emma is more than a pile in my room. Her life had value and meaning beyond what we even know. It means so much to hear people speak her name and tell us they miss her too. It is good to know that she is not forgotten. After reading that email I found the courage to start sorting through the pile and as I did, I realized that Emma could never be put in a box and I’m not going to try. I am going to keep those special things around us so that the things that Emma touched and loved will continue to be cherished and held. I want her life to be remembered with smiles and tears. I am learning that all the good things in life are mixed up with joy and sorrow. You can’t have one without the other.