.nine months.

Tomorrow will mark nine months since we lost Emmett Ever. I’ve been thinking of her a lot lately and of how drastically the trajectory of our last year has changed. I think I’m finding my way to a place of acceptance. The grief is ever present, but life has progressed in such a way that to wish her back would be to wish away so much of the good that has sprung from her death. I think that transformation is the true gift of loss. This Rabbit baby wouldn’t exist had E lived. R and I wouldn’t be the people we are today (as individuals, as spouses, as parents) were it not for her short presence in our lives. These facts are Emmett’s sweet legacy.

Tori Amos recently released a new album, Night of Hunters, which is a narrative arc set to refashioned classical pieces. It’s a gorgeous set of music and a pretty exciting project from a long-time favorite musician of R and mine. The whole arc is set within one night and it focuses on a woman whose lover leaves her after they complete the Atlantic journey from America to Ireland. The acuteness of the loss she portrays speaks to me about what we went through in January. There’s something about those moments in life where you completely lose your fixity to that point, where your compass is just so wildly rewritten. For as extremely difficult as it is to walk through those moments, there is beauty to be found in the perspective therein.

The final track of Night of Hunters, “Carry,” has been haunting me this week. I would encourage you to check out the music video. In the meantime, here are the lyrics:

Love, hold my hand
Help me see with the dawn
That those that have left
Are not gone
But they carry on
As stars looking down
As nature’s sons
And daughters of the heavens
You will not ever be forgotten by me
In the procession of the mighty stars
Your name is sung and tattooed now on my heart
Here I will carry, carry, carry you

Forever
You have touched my life
So that now
Cathedrals of sound are singing, are singing
The waves have come to walk with you
To where you will live in the land of you,
Land of you
You will not ever be forgotten by me
In the procession of the mighty stars
Your name is sung and tattooed now on my heart
Here I will carry, carry, carry you
Here I will carry, carry, carry you
Forever.

It’s message is simple, but her delivery strikes such a resonant chord in me. Just stunning.

On another note, R and I recently had the good fortune to participate in a research study that is investigating resources for the LGBT population with regards to child loss. The scholar conducting the research is very thoughtful, which made for an engaging and emotional conversation about our experiences after losing E. One of the chapters for this book project is going to be largely photographic, in that the researcher has requested that the participants send along photos of items or symbols that they have used to commemorate their children. As such, I’ve taken some time to photograph and detail some of the ways that we have remembered E.

E’s urn:After we had E cremated, we chose this cloisonne urn to hold her ashes. We know folks who have handled this in a variety of ways, but, for us, it was important that she stay in our home. We know that we won’t live in this town for a long time, so it was very important to us that E’s ashes stay with our family as we move. We both loved the delicate colors of this urn. It’s tiny size breaks my heart every time I hold it.

E’s box:A week or two after we lost her, R contacted a lovely carpenter in Massachusetts. We commissioned him to make this box to hold both Emmett’s urn and the bowl of stones from her memorial. I love the subtle construction of the box, the tiny gold lock, and the swirl of the wood.

E’s stones: At E’s memorial, everyone brought a stone (or other object) that spoke to them. We bought this bowl from an artisan and filled it with these stones. Folks also brought poetry and prose to read aloud. These are copied onto note cards and accompany the stones in the box. R blogged in more detail about these dedications here.

E’s blanket: This was the first thing that R and I ever bought for E. We were in our first trimester and bought it from a local children’s boutique. After we lost her, R and I slept with the blanket every night. This continued until we bought Rabbit’s crib for the nursery. We’ve since moved the blanket into the crib, as we want it to be something that they share between them.

R’s tattoo/irises, which you can see photographs of here. Blue irises have taken on a lot of meaning for us this year. Our dear friend, L, sent a bouquet of not-yet-bloomed irises during that first week. There was something so cathartic and right about those flowers, their colors and bloom, that reminded us of our girl. R had a large half-bloomed iris tattooed on her back in the spring. We were already TTC with me, so while I plan on also getting an iris tattoo, it will have to wait until after Rabbit is born.

E’s papers and photos:In addition to the really gut-wrenching paperwork (certificate of stillbirth, notarized paperwork from the crematorium should we choose to bury her ashes in the future), we also have some lovely papers, including photos of our sweet girl, her ultrasound pictures, cards from so many loving family and friends, a Certificate of Life that we had made this year, as well as the many note cards with words from her memorial.

These items will always hold a sacred place in our hearts and our home.

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7 thoughts on “.nine months.

  1. What a year you two have been through. The urn of E’s ashes and the box with the stones are so beautiful… love to the family from our little corner in northern Kentucky.

  2. What a beautiful way to love and remember E. I like that you talk about her loss so openly and honestly, even through all of the pain. It is clear that she continues to be loved and honored.

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