Well, the day came and went. It’s now 369. In a way no different from day 365 and yet in a way very different. The day was symbolic, of course, and to borrow a term from my pilot brother, I have been radio silent since as I recovered from and sorted through my emotions.
I spent the day doing not too much- sat on the couch, took Muppet to the dog park and did some light cleaning. I took out Mabel’s box- or boxes, the bereavement box we got sent home from the hospital with, the box of pregnancy related things I had kept, the box of cards and what nots I had saved. I got a little teary eyed looking at her outfit- the pair of pants she didn’t even wear because she was too small. They had pockets.
Her hat still had strands of blond hair in it- which made me smile because the lock they cut for keepsake looks brown. I opened up the tiny blood pressure cuff and held it to my face- I swear I could just catch the scent of her.
I packed it all back up and organized it the way I want, keeping her bereavement box in our bedroom and putting some of the other stuff away in a closet.
We visited her grave and brought a balloon- Chris unknowingly bought a Hello Kitty one, but we figured she’d like it. By the time we got to the cemetery, one of the letters fell off and so it read “Happy Birthday abel.”
The evening we had a few friends over- which turned into a few more- and had dinner and cake.
Singing Happy Birthday to my dead daughter actually didn’t feel so good, but it seemed like the logical thing to do. We watched her video and my friends got teary eyed, while mine remained dry. I realized I don’t like to cry real tears in front of people. I was reminded of how in the immediate days after her death, with family filling the house, I would sneak up to my room to cry unwitnessed.
My tears came the night before, triggered into a meltdown when one of my midwives messaged me about how on the eve of her kids’ birthdays she often thinks about what she had been doing way back when, and how hard it must be for me to do that. The message was sweet and needed, opening up the flood gates. I didn’t have a good cry again until I crawled into bed on Sunday, crying about some of the disappointments from the day- the people I didn’t hear from. Crying about how my life and relationships had changed so much in ways that I felt I so sad about. Crying about how my daughter was dead-how I have a dead child.
I’ve spent the next few days sorting through it all- trying to focus on all the kindnesses, the so many kindnesses that came with the day and not be consumed by the sadness of disappointments (some of which I’ve since decided were justified, some of which were not).
So in that vein, I want to share with you all some of the many Random Acts of Kindness. There are too many to even list, many I don’t even know about and not enough words to thank those who have done them.
- Donations to children’s museums- in CT, in RI
- Cupcakes to my care team- the practice I work for, the midwives who cared for me, the MFM docs who cared for me, Labor and Birth, the NICU
- Flowers at Mabel’s grave
- Carrot soup
- Books that showed up as gifts (including the one on the right that came from unknown sender)
- Gifts for children’s hospital in Boston and Indianapolis
- Shoveling neighbors snow in Massachusetts and Connecticut
- cards! so many cards!
- Donation to help migrant workers and their families in Florida
- Diapers and kids treats donated to a homeless family in North Carolina
- Donation to a Down Syndrome organization in Virginia
- A children’s book donated to my town’s library
- Letting people go ahead in the airport line
- Buying ice cream for the kids at the next table
- Dinner buying for a cancer survivor
- Baking carrot cake for a friend
- Coffee bought for people in line behind the buyers
- A big tip left for waitress, a big tip left for a bartender who is fostering a baby with Down Syndrome born addicted to heroin
- A donation given to a homeless man in a wheelchair
- A donation to the Perinatal Mental Health task force in LA
- Water bottles given out to strangers in LA on a very hot day (hard to conceive in chilly new England)
- A carrot hat given to me
- Presents donated to a local shelter including a carrot stuffy
- Donation to a high school lunar rover team in CT
- Handmade carrot wreath for my door
- Letters from Thai high school students