Wednesday, March 01, 2017

Memories

11 weeks.

11 weeks is the total time Laila lived on this earth.  11 weeks I nursed her, bathed her, held her.  Felicity is 11 weeks now.  It's been hard on me.  I have been having floods of memories.  These memories have created feelings of intense love as well as deep heartache.

When Felicity was 8 weeks we went on a trip to Kentucky for my brother's wedding.  Laila was about 8 weeks when we went on a trip from Colorado Springs to Elk Ridge, UT.  Laila cried for 8 of the 10 hour trip home.  I couldn't figure out how to make her happy.  At one point she projectile vomited all over herself and her car seat.  About half way through the drive home I pleaded, "Can we please just stop driving?  Can we stop at a hotel for the evening and let her out of the car seat?  I can't stand listening to her cry."  Mike wanted to push on and argued that sleeping in a hotel with four kids and a dog would be more painful than just driving the rest of the way home.  A few hours from home we stopped so I could nurse Laila again.  We pulled off at a rest stop in the mountains.  There was a trail off to the side that Mike took Diamond and the boys on while I sat in the car and nursed her.  She was so unhappy and was refusing to nurse.  She would suck for a few minutes and then pull away and cry and cry.  I felt awful knowing she was so unhappy and that I had to put her right back in her seat and couldn't cuddle her and make her happy.  We drove that same trip a few times after she passed away and every time I remembered that sad, sad drive.  Every trip home to Utah I felt guilty.  Every time we drove by the rest stop I'd mention to Mike how much I wish we had stopped for the night.  The stop where she projectile vomited happened in a parking lot across from a huge cliff wall.  I remember the sun seemed to be blocked by that wall.   When I first saw that gigantic wall, I remember feeling awe.  It seemed amazing and beautiful.  Every time we passed it after her death that wall and it's awesomeness felt oppressive and dark, the massive cliff blocking the light and casting darkness on the world.  I hate that memory.

****

I opened up the chest in Felicity's room that contains Laila's things.  I thought maybe I'd let Felicity wear some of Laila's clothes.  I wasn't able to do that with Piper.  I had to keep things very separate with her.  I opened the chest and saw the clothes, wrapped in a plastic covering to protect them, and I couldn't even take the plastic off.  The tears started coming and I immediately closed the chest.  A few weeks later I opened it again.  This time I unwrapped the plastic and looked at the clothes.  I saw some clothes that I specifically identify with Laila.  There were others that she wore, but not often.  One of those was a dark blue dress.  I put the dress on Felicity for church and smelled cedar all day long.  The cedar smell kept turning my mind to the chest.  Inside, along with the clothes, are dried flowers from when an anonymous friend had a rose delivered every month on the 24th.  There is a photo album with pictures of her my mom took, the most beautiful quilts that were lovingly made for her by friends, the dress she wore when she died that the paramedics cut off her body, the autopsy report, her death certificate, a swimming suit she wore one day to the pool, the dress she was blessed in, and a few other treasured items.

****

Felicity looks so much like Laila.  It often feels very strange to me to nurse her.  I feel like I'm peering down at Laila and I have waves of immense sadness come over me.  The other day I held Felicity cheek to cheek and I had a flash of memory so strong it made me sick to my stomach.  I could almost feel the cold of Laila's cheek as I held her while being questioned by the detective.  I held her in that small room, her cheek pressed to mine, while her body got cold.  When I walked in the room I noticed she had a poopy diaper.  The nurse uncomfortably told me not to worry, that it was common, after someone dies.  It was hard for her to get the words out.  I remembered how the pigs on the farm used to excrete fluid from their bodies after they died.  I just never expected to witness that same thing with my daughter and I was caught off guard.  I had changed so many diapers in the last three months, it was just natural for me to notice and want to change it.  The detective's eyes showed pain for me.  She broke a few rules by letting me hold Laila during the questioning and letting me cut some of Laila's hair.  It seems ludicrous that it wasn't even supposed to be allowed--someone had to break the rules to let me hold my own daughter.

****

Laila loved her baths.  She was not free with her smiles or giggles.  Bath time was always so much fun though because we were sure to get a smile from her.  Her hair was so long that it would flow in the water and the boys used to think it was hilarious.  She would turn her face to me and her eyes had a brightness and excitement in them while she kicked and kicked her legs.  Felicity does the same thing.  Every time I bathe her, I live that memory again.  Felicity's red hair waves back and forth in the water, her happy eyes look up at me and she kicks and kicks her little legs.  I bathed Laila the day she passed away.  It was strange to me that she fussed during her entire bath.  It has always made me sad that her bath didn't bring her joy that day.

****

There are frequent moments when I am holding Felicity and this intense amount of love rushes through me only to be followed immediately by a deep wretchedness.  Where someone else might think, "I can't imagine losing you, " my thoughts are memories.  I actually can imagine.  I imagine it all over again.  It hurts so deeply.  It's still shocking to me.  I ask myself, "How could this have happened?  How can this be my story?"

In a bizarre way, I almost appreciate that Laila and Felicity look so similar.  I feel almost like I need to go through this part of grieving.  I was not ready to go through this with Piper.  Somehow the Lord allowed me not to suffer like this when Piper was a baby.  Perhaps now I'm further in my journey and therefore, more prepared to relive some of this again.  There is love and pain and reaching.  My soul is reaching for her.  It is something I long to feel and hate to feel.


1 comment:

NTeusch said...

Thank you for sharing this, Adrianne. I still think it is amazing? no. interesting? stunning? How we are capable of feeling such seemingly contradicting emotions at the same time. Grief & love. Pain & peace. I think those feelings are part of our eternal self. And obviously it is because of love that we can feel so much pain. My heart goes out to you.