We took our three-year-old trick or treating tonight. As I sit here now thinking about what fun we had, I’m sad at the same time.
It still hurts.
It hurt last week, as a dear friend and her beautiful daughters came to our house. Her youngest, an itty-bitty one-year-old, took a keen interest in my sweet husband. She demanded he hold her and get his worn flannel shirt covered in a sprinkling of Halloween costume glitter. Shortly after they left, I went into the nursery we’re working on for our rainbow boy, and sat in my rocking chair and cried. I cried and cried knowing my sweet husband doesn’t have his precious little girl to scoop up, only to cover him in glitter. I opened the box of mementos that we were given when little Eliza was born, and I cracked open the memory book, Dreams of You, given to us by Sufficient Grace Ministries. I flipped through to the page that holds Eliza’s tiny foot and hand prints. I stared at the magnitude of their size. So tiny and yet so large on my heart. I cried. I cried long and hard, as I have done so many times since then. The pain felt fresh again for a moment. Heavy and wet.
Then I panicked. I hadn’t even written anything in the memory book. I don’t want to forget her, but putting that pen to that memory book’s page was like putting a hot knife to my heart. Writing her name and some details of her short but profound existence hurt so deeply. I did as much as I could, which wasn’t much, and then carefully put the memory book back into it’s box and compartmentalized that pain again so that I could go about my day.
It hurt today, too. My husband has been dragging his feet on helping me organize and relocate some boxes in our Rainbow’s nursery. With the holidays quickly approaching and our due date shortly thereafter, I am feeling the need to get this room organized and functional, but I need his help. I keep asking, and it finally dawned on me that aside from working many hours and keeping up with other household tasks, something else is holding him back. I know in his heart that he’s scared. He’s scared of the implications, the possibilities, the potential. I know these feelings all too well. I finally got upset with him, and told him that these things must get done. Our Rainbow will be here before we know it. But it hurts him. And it hurts me, too. The comfort bear, given to us when Eliza went home, sits in our Rainbow’s swing in the nursery. It makes him sad. And so does the newly framed star registry certificate given to us in Eliza’s name.
There is no way to remove the pain he feels, or I would have already done it, as I’m sure he’d have done for me. So we carry it, together. It’s a heavy piece of baggage, cumbersome and clunky, unpredictable and uncomfortable. We have family members who won’t even look at this piece of baggage. Won’t acknowledge its weight. Can’t handle our grief. Their silence burdens us, too.
So now, as I cry this time, I am sad about the Halloween I thought we’d have. The one where we were pushing our new little girl in her stroller, bedecked in something girly and sweet as we walked our three-year-old about for trick or treat. And of course, these feelings aren’t just about Halloween. They’re about every day. Every. Day. And so as we prepare for our Rainbow, we are surely excited, and our hearts are full of love for the little boy who God has chosen to be ours. In my heart, I know that if Eliza had lived, we wouldn’t have this little bundle on the way, and our lives wouldn’t be as God has planned. But boy, oh boy, it sure is tough to accept some days, and it still hurts.