There are countless boxes scattered about the house as we prepare for an out-of-state move. And as I scan each room, it’s these two boxes that stand out.
Not because they are decorative boxes, prettier than the standard cardboard ones that fill the rest of the house. But because these are Micah’s boxes. Two small boxes among a sea of larger ones that hold the entirety of Micah’s life within them. The only memories I have. The only mementos from the short life that began and ended in the darkness of my womb.
There are a few ultrasound pictures, several photos of Micah’s lifeless body, a tiny bonnet stained with blood, and a small card with inky footprints that are no bigger than the tip of my finger.
There are sympathy cards, dead flowers, and paperwork from the cemetery. Things that aren’t so much memories as they are the recognition of loss, and by default, life.
These boxes have been displayed on my dresser for the past 2 years. I see them every day. I am aware of the precious contents held within. But seeing them among the hoards of much larger boxes feels somewhat devastating.
I am grieved by the fact that the contents and memories of Micah’s life fit into these two small boxes, while the contents of my living children’s lives cause box after box to overflow.
There are newborn outfits and locks of hair and baby teeth that broke loose from their ever-moving mouths. There are staged baby pictures and photos from each birthday. There are notebooks full of “firsts” and silly anecdotes from their young, yet full lives. And of course the toys and articles of clothing are too numerous to count.
There are memories within those stacks of boxes. So many memories. Memories in which Micah is absent. Unlike all the other boxes, these two are not a reminder of where life is going, but only of where it has been. Where it has gone. And where it will never be.
There is a deep sadness in living life without a child you birthed. A deep sadness in watching your living children grow up without their sibling, whether they realize it or not. A deep sadness in life moving forward, changing, when an actual piece of you is not along for the ride.
These boxes are filled with reminders of what could have been, what should have been. And the reality of what is not fills me with grief.
But these boxes are also filled with the evidence of life and a reason for my love.
And even though my life has moved on, my heart never will.