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I remember somebody asking that question when I told him that I still don’t have Dekar’s photos in an album.

As I was cleaning out my closet the other day I found Dekar’s medical records, some tiles that have his footprint, and a memory album that I never filled out.  I was looking specifically for his printed/inked footprints and I was getting quite frantic when I looked everywhere for them and couldn’t find them.  I looked one more time in “his” suitcase.  It is the suitcase I took to the hospital and never totally unpacked.  I already had gone through the suitcase twice and I wasn’t convinced I would find the prints, but I couldn’t think of any other place they would be. My mind kept taking me back to looking in the suitcase.  So I pulled it out and took out each item one at a time. A folder with his medical records, notes from when I got his diagnosis, lots of educational medical and grief material, a quilt, and at the bottom, his baby blanket.  The blanket that a hospital had donated and he took his final breaths in.  I had wrapped up another baby album (also not filled in) in his precious blanket—I opened the book and they were there.

 

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I remember reading that it really does not honor a person to have their things in a box. It is encouraged to make a shadow box, create a video collage, pick out just a few things that embrace who that person was, frame the pictures. Don’t just leave their stuff in a box, rarely to be opened or looked at.

Those are all great ideas.  But….did you ever have a baby die?

After I found the footprints I settled in and I looked through the folder in the suitcase that had a splattering of my pregnancy journey.  As I looked at the records and my notes I quickly replayed the history in my mind and heart. It was totally unexpected, totally overwhelming, and all consuming. It’s going on 8 years. It is around this time eight years ago that the doctor wanted an ultrasound done because I was measuring a bit small and it was best to have things checked out, just to be safe.  From that, I needed a more extensive ultrasound done because something was not quite right with the heart of my baby.  And from there, another ultrasound showing a wide range of defects and finally a Trisomy 18 and hypo-plastic left heart syndrome.

After he died I healed physically, packed away all his items and stuff from the hospital and went on with my life the best I could.  It has been eight years. Those eight years have been jam packed full of “doing the best I can” life  Four kids graduated from high school, two sons became Marines, one daughter got married and is building her own family.  For the past eight years that has always been at least one teenager going through puberty.  One son was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, my mother died, financial challenges, school challenges, and fill in the blanks with all the other things that fill a “doing the best I can” life.

No, I don’t have Dekar’s items nicely displayed. No, I don’t have his photos in an album. Yes I do have his blankets folded up in a suitcase instead of out where they could be hanging and enjoyed.  Yes, it did take me a couple hours to find his inked footprints….because I don’t have them nicely displayed in an album or shadowbox.

But I had a baby die.  And for the past eight years I have been doing the best I can.

“What’s so hard about putting photos in an album?”  I don’t know.  It just is.

 

 

 

 

 

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