Sorry for the long silence. I don't know what else to say about that, except thank you for all your kindness and concern. I am okay, except when I'm not. So it goes.
We named the baby Eva, and we buried her February 20. Eva was my great grandmother's name, and I've always wanted to name a daughter Eva (that's "EH-vah", not "EE-vah"). Somehow, though, it wasn't Sophia's name. I guess I was saving it. It means "life," and I love it, because the most important thing about my Eva is not that she died, but that she lived.
Some people raise an eyebrow at having a funeral for such a tiny pre-born baby, but I am so grateful we did. I absolutely hated everything about planning it, but the service itself was beautiful, and it gave me two things.
First, I have a place to go, where I can sit next to her. I can't even tell you how much that means to me. And secondly - well, that day we found out she had died, when we left the doctor's office, we wandered blindly out the door. I sat down on a cold metal chair, my hands shoved deep in my coat pockets, folded over at the waist, and sobbed. Clay rubbed my back helplessly, and I gasped to him, "I just want it not to be true. Why can't it not be true?" In the days that followed, I said that so many times that Clay started answering me with slight desperation, "I'm sorry, but it is. It is true."
And after the service, when I watched them lower that tiny tiny, white tufted casket into the ground, and I stood there and thought for a panicky moment that I should lie down with her, just wrap my body around her, because who leaves a baby alone in such cold? - well, after I somehow survived that moment, I walked away knowing it was true.
That may not sound like a mercy, but trust me, it is.
Today it was one month since the funeral, and I went out to visit her. I took a dozen roses. Two for Jennie. Two for Tre. Two for Max. Two for Raphael. Two for Sophia. And two for Eva. I sat next to her grave and prayed and cried and cried and cried until I was a red-faced, snotty mess. Again, this may not seem like a mercy, but it is. I told her how much I miss her. I told her about her siblings, and the struggles they are facing right now, and asked her to pray for them. I told her how weary and sad I am, and that I was doing my best, even though it seems awfully feeble. I told her I loved her. And I cried.
Then I left her two roses and took the rest home with me, where the rest of my life was waiting, with all its noise and problems. My husband, who holds me and tells me the truth. My squabbling, difficult, broken and beautiful children, whom I have the privilege of watching grow and unfurl in ways breathtaking and terrible.
A beautiful bouquet, and so incomplete.
No. Incomplete, and yet so beautiful.