open the memory box, a yearly ritual, a few days earlier this year. I know the children will be asking to get the box out too, to finger the little whiter-than-snow gown and bonnet, to ask for the memories to be told, again. But I want some mommy moments alone, remembering the little girl we said hello and goodbye to, nearly 13 years ago. I still miss . . . and I wonder about her life in heaven.
Soon the children will want the stories, to remember, even the ones born after her, who will also say they miss her. We will look at the heart box with her feet prints with a few of the letter beads of her name missing. They will ask again if they can touch her soft hair saved in another little heart protecting box. I’ll whisper no, once again. There’s too few hairs. We want to keep them.
The children start reading through the hundreds of cards and we remember the many people who cared, loved us, and prayed for us. They look at all the names signed in the funeral guest book. So many came and remembered a little girl with us and helped us make memories of which there were to few of. They ask if we can put in the cassette tape and listen to the service, of our friend Miss Gayle singing children’s melodies and a young pastor speaking his first baby’s funeral. His theme was imagining her through Psalm 23, welcoming us someday to heaven, and taking us by the still waters and through the green pastures. I still day dream of that.
They will ask about the little yellow hat that I yanked off of her in the recovery room after my emergency c-section to save my life . . . the placenta abruption quickly took hers. They will listen intently as I tell them how daddy laid her bundled up in the soft flannel blanket with bunnies on it to me. But right away I asked why they had the knit yellow hat on her head . . . she did not need to be kept warm. Off it came. I wanted to touch her head and feel her fuzzy hair. I wanted to know the details of her little body I’d have to let go of too soon.
I actually did not remember taking off her hat . When the funeral director brought us her things the hospital sent with her, I found it. I called my husband’s mom. She remembered. We laughed . . . and I cried later.
They ask again to tell the story of the money in the mailbox . . . the manila envelope that had our name typed on it . . . no address and no stamps. Someone just put it in there. We opened it up and there were ten $100 bills in it. Our son Matthew, excitedly asked, “What are we going to do with that million dollars?” Ohhh, it was like a million dollars and it remains a precious bittersweet memory of that son now with her. It allowed my husband to take another week off from work.
We smell the little bottle of make-up the funeral director gave me. I did not remember how she smelled in the hospital, but after holding her at the funeral home, I smelled her make-up on me. I cried when I could no longer smell it on that dress. The kind hearted funeral director did not laugh at my request for a sample of it. And so we smell her. The scent triggers tears to come to my eyes.
We talk about her big brother, Matthew, with her and how they spend time together. We laugh and wonder if he tells her stories of us.
And the children are done and ask if we can make her birthday angel food cake to have that night. We will sing happy birthday and remember . . . and wonder . . . and laugh about the things she missed out on, from skinned knees to mama combing through her tangled hair or having to do chores.
They will leave the room, chattering with that child-like faith of a precious sister in heaven. I linger behind putting the pieces of my daughter’s barely used earthly things away.
On Saturday we will celebrate the birth of our precious 13 year old baby, Angela Hope. We are thankful to have had her, than to not have had her at all on this side of heaven. It’s a bittersweetness, yet have witnessed and know the joy that has come in the morning and He continually reminds,
My grace is sufficient for you,
for my power is made perfect in weakness.
Remembering Angela Hope’s completed life . . .
Remembering with Emily at Imperfect Prose, our imperfect lives, that will someday be made perfect .