Unfinished business

**I started this post last week after we scattered LC’s ashes. Now it’s 5 or 6 days later and I haven’t finished it yet so I will post it anyway. We’ve had a parade of guest that started with my parents and now they’ve all gone home. I’ll finish the story of the ashes but for now here’s what I’ve got.**

It was a beautiful day. We walked among beautiful fall-colored trees, along a path, over a bridge, then along the creek to the sanctuary. We carried all of our scatterthedeadbabyashes gear. It was sunny and warm. I marveled at the perfectness of the spot and the plaques and the beauty of the march, creek, and hillsides. I jammed 25 pinwheels into the ground in a row near a row of clumps of emerging bulbs. Then we got down to business. For the record, we included rocket man, my dear, dear friend from dosmamas (maybe I’ll call her aceofcakes or rather ace*fcakes), and her partner who is pregnant with a baby created using my husband’s sperm.

We sat on the ground in the sun and went through a few items in charlotte’s box. The box of horrors as I used to call it. Now it’s more like a box of memories except for the photos. They are pretty horrible. I wish, wish, wish we had better photos.

We looked through the photos. I cried. We listened to sarah mclaughlan sing about the arms of the angels. I cried more. She sings about finding some comfort. For me, for the baby. Lord what a tearjerker.

During the time we spent with her, Charlotte looked kind of asleep. It was a little confusing. Asleep but never going to wake up. I think that was how I thought about her.

We looked at the birth/death announcement that we sent to family and friends. It was beautiful. It has an actual size pink footprint on it. The footprint is about the height of a quarter. The card said, “With sadness we bring the news of the loss of our daughter. Little Charlotte. December 30, 2005. 5:36 p.m. 1 lb, 1 ounce. 11 ½ inches tall. Hello… and goodbye.”

I like that the card said, 11 ½ inches “tall.” It made her sound bigger and important.

I wish we had gotten live baby footprints when babybear was born. I have three living children and no hospital footprints. I only have footprints of charlotte. Maybe that’s they way it should be.

We looked at the page that ace*fcakes wrote after she helped us deliver little charlotte. Man that was also a tearjerker. Since she had it on her computer, here’s what she wrote:

Little Charlotte

December 30th, 2005

Her birth:
There were no heartbeat monitors, there was no pushing. When it was time, she was just there, outside of WTF, tiny bottom first. I told WTF that she was really very very small. When they put her in WTF’s arms she said ‘jesus’. She sobbed ‘jesus’ again. The doctor asked if they wanted her to wrap Little Charlotte in a blanket. I don’t remember if she answered, she just stared down at her daughter, dead and purple in her arms. I could barely see through my tears. I watched rocket man sob and WTF cry. There are no words for this part.

Tentatively WTF touched little Charlotte’s hand. She asked if the baby was this color when she was alive. The doctor said she would have been pale, but had turned this rosy, dark purple after she died. She said ‘only babies who can breathe are pink.’

WTF began to get to know her daughter. Touching her hands, her face. Lifting the blanket to see her curled body. Such skinny legs. All of the them have skinny legs. She said that little Charlotte looked like her other two babies when they were born. I agreed. She really did look like them. Rocket Man touched her as well, putting his finger in her hand.
WTF held her baby in one hand, and stroked her underneath with the other hand. Gestures of a mama, comforting her baby. So natural. WTF is a good mama.
Her ritual:
WTF held little Charlotte in her arms. I brought a small paper cup filled with tap water to the bed. We began. I spoke the words that the minister helped me write. Words about welcoming Little Charlotte. Words about blessing her and protecting her for this short life, and all of her lives to come. We each placed a drop of water on her tiny little forehead. First me, then Rocket Man, then WTF. I said more words about blessings and safety and how much we love her.

I asked if Rocket Man or WTF want to say something. Rocket Man said he loved her and that she would never be forgotten. WTF said “I wanted to bring you home,” and said she was sad.  Then she said that maybe that was not what one was supposed to say at a blessing. I think it exactly what you say at a blessing. We all shared a moment of silence. Rocket Man said ‘that was a nice ritual.’ I didn’t know what to do with the water cup. And there was this little baby girl, with three drops of water on her forehead. So small, with perfect little fingers and toes. Her ear was just bigger than a pea. Sometimes she didn’t seem dead. She just was what she was.  And it was all very beautiful and terrible. Not what one would expect.

As I left them for the night they were about to eat dinner. WTF tried some of the Jamba Juice that S brought her, but was not too interested. Normal things like eating needed to happen. At moments the whole thing seemed impossible, really. They had some humor about everything at this point. Things almost looked normal for a few minutes here and there. It was hard to say goodbye. What do you say? I told them I loved them. I touched little Charlotte’s face and thanked her for letting me meet her. I thanked her parents for allowing me to share in the birth of their child. I felt so honored to be there. Like I was allowed to witness the most sacred of all births. So finally I left the room. I looked back to tell them I loved them again, and there was tiny little Charlotte, all curled up in her mama’s arms.

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~ by complicatedmama on November 25, 2007.

5 Responses to “Unfinished business”

  1. This is beautiful and terrible. That’s exactly right. And it’s so so familiar to me. I’m so sorry about little Charlotte. I’m glad you had time with her and that you scattered the ashes. And for the record, that Sarah M song is the one that I can’t listen to without tearing up. Every time I hear it on the radio, it kills me.

  2. Beautiful. I’m sobbing. I’m so sorry.

  3. This is so perfect and so beautiful. I am literally crying as I write this. I am so sorry.

  4. So, so beautiful…both the scattering of the ashes and the letter.

    It sounds like a perfect and beautiful place for the ashes. And the letter. It was incredible. I sit here (in the midst of my entire family) crying and wishing that you never had to experience that sadness. The pain though immeasurable is combined with a mothers love.

    “The most sacred of all births” indeed.

  5. you have so beautifully and thoroughly honored LC’s life. i can’t imagine what crushing sadness you’ve endured. but what you and aceofcakesgirl have captured of the grief and mourning for LC is simply breath taking. to me, her story is so full of grace. her birth and her time with you and how you’ve said goodbye to her. but i imagine that is little solace.

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