I have so many treasured items it was hard to choose just one. Pretty much anything or anyone that’s ever come in contact with our boys is a treasure to me. In the end I chose the item that holds a treasured memory.

About 12 hours after the boys were born I was being prepped for surgery to remove their placentas when in walks the hospital chaplain, Sharon. She carried a basin, a little bottle of bath wash, and teeny tiny clothes. There from my hospital bed, with the surgical staff waiting, I had the privilege of giving our sons their first and only baths and dressing them in the only clothes they’d ever wear. I alternated between crying, smiling and laughing the whole way through it. It fulfilled for the moment my great need to continue nurturing them. After nearly six months of thinking about how best to do this day in and day out it doesn’t just shut off when they die. If anything the desire is even stronger. Bathing and dressing their lifeless bodies was heartbreaking, but it was also a bright spot in that dark day, and continues to be one of my most precious memories.

On the boys’ birthday in June I took the bags that have their clothes out of the closet, checking to see if they still smelled like them.  I was scared to check the entire year for fear that the smell would be gone and then, it was. I opened the bags, breathed in, and smelled only the cold storage scent of the closet. That was a really hard moment.

Yesterday when I got their clothes out of the closet again to lay them out for the picture, I couldn’t help myself, I had to check. I held Rudyard’s gown to my face and was absolutely knocked off my feet when I smelled him. This was a literal knocking, by the way. I burst into tears and collapsed to my knees before I even knew what hit me. To smell him again…there aren’t words. I breathed him in and remembered the first time I breathed him in…then I got paranoid that I was breathing it all in and there wouldn’t be any smell left and put it down like a hot potato. But what a gift! What an amazing gift to smell him again after assuming it lost in time and memory.

Capture Your Grief Day 4, Treasured Item

Here are their clothes, left to right- Rudyard’s, Desmond’s, and Oscar’s- along with the blankets we wrapped around them. All of these items are donated to the hospital by others who have lost infants; the blankets are handmade. The Christmas colored crocheted blanket in the background is from Ken McKenzie, the owner of the mortuary. When he came to the hospital to pick up the boys he brought a blanket his grandmother made him to wrap them in as he carried them out. He held that blanket as Jeremy and I placed our boys into his arms. Later when we got the clothes back after cremation, we saw that Ken had included a section of his grandmother’s blanket for each of them. So incredible. Just one of a million kindnesses we have received during the last 15 months. xo