Monday, January 31, 2011

flowers for Amalia

Tomorrow marks the third anniversary of Amalia's birth. As time goes on, the pain of her death, only eight days after she was born, lessens. But the memories don't fade. And, to be honest, the aversion I have to many of those memories lingers.

Why aversion? And what a horrible thing to admit! I am only telling the truth. Amalia's short time with us was spent in intensive care. When not by her bedside in the hospital, I was home with my son, my mind flooded with worry and fear. At night, I could barely sleep and the nightmares that overwhelmed me were epic.

I am still in the process of teasing out the good from the horrific. The moments of tenderness are what must be raised above the rest:

Amalia's tiny, soft hand against mine; her warm head nestled against my chest when I held her (albeit only once); my lips against her hair and forehead; the songs my sister and I sang to Amalia incessantly while she was alive; the flowers and wishes family and friends had sent; the care of the nurses and doctors--institutional, but golden; my milk that flowed via tubes through her veins; the hospital window with a view, high up on a hill, gray clouds rushing by, pine trees swaying in the hostile February air; the rain drops pounding the windshield as I pushed ahead, driving to see her each day; ginger tea in the dark because I could hardly eat; bitter herbs because I could hardly sleep; her little face so much like her brother's; her reddish brown curls, dimpled knuckles, round belly, purple heels; the relief when she was breathing; and, finally, the sorrowful parting: ashes set free in a fast-flowing river full of heart-shaped stones.

Thank you for these flowers today, Jenni and Andy, Amalia's aunt and uncle, two of the very few people who got to meet her.