*Trigger warning. Deals with gender and loss*
This last weekend I was given a gift I will never forget.
A loss Mama friend came by for tea. We sat and chatted, making faces at her sweet babe in arms, a beloved baby boy.
Jessica has 4 beloved baby boys. And a girl in heaven. A first born, ever missed, ever loved girl in heaven. Claire was a beauty girl that has grown in her mother’s heart for years instead of her arms and I do not speak out of turn when I say Jessica misses her every single moment of every day.
As we all miss.
4 boys and a lost girl. Lost, like misplaced? I hate that term. 4 boys and a missed girl, rather. A missed and wanted girl.
I remember the moment I found out Lillian was a girl. I remember being completely convinced she was a boy and stunned in surprise to find out otherwise. I remember the moment of relief that washed over me, knowing that this felt like an easier road, as if such a thing exists. I would get the experience of parenting the gender I had lost and that felt unburdening. I also quietly mourned the idea of having a boy, as I always thought I would have a boy one day and get to experience that Mother and Son bond. Gender is complicated and when added to grief it is a sinkhole of emotion.
Jessica has mourned and is mourning gender too. When pregnant with her wee boy she went out and bought a talisman, a hope piece for the pregnancy of a beautiful pink tree for the nursery.
A beautiful pink tree that she tucked away, hoping that one day she may be able to use it.
Until that day did not come.
Imagine my shock and complete humbled awe in the moment where she handed that beautiful tree to me and offered it to me for Lillian’s room. I barely could croak out sufficient gratitude. That tree means so much to her. It is a sacred piece of grief that is part of her bond with Claire and her love of all her boys. That tree is the ability to hope in the face of tremendous pain and she is giving it to me to be used for another girl she sees, that stings and is a reminder of what is not. She could burn it, scream at it and even refuse to let it go and she has ever right to do so and instead, she gave of herself, wholly and seemingly without hesitation.
And now it hangs in Lillian’s bedroom.
From the day I designed Lillian’s bedroom I pictured her large pink tree from her nursery hanging over her bed.
I was heartbroken when it did not make the move and essentially self destructed while in storage. When I pulled it out of the box it no longer had the adhesive properties it once had, was cracked and sad. I worked on it for about 2 hours to try and save it. I eventually gave up, cried, threw out the big beautiful tree and decorated her room in a “nice” way that was good enough in my mind until she moved into her big kid bed.
But I never really have liked her room. It wasn’t hers somehow.
I saw other nurseries and bedrooms for girls and thought that I needed to do something more with Lily’s but did not know what. Both of the girls had a tree on their walls, Ava’s a small 4 foot tree with green and yellow leaves, it was perfect and sweet and I still think on the time I sat on the floor of her room with my big belly setting it up. It was Ava’s tree that motivated me to find the giant pink one Lil’s nursery on Pol had. It was a tie between the girls and since moving the to dream on Russet that tie has been broken.
Jessica just gave me a tree, the same size of Ava’s but the colour of Lillian’s. A perfect match.
As I hung it this afternoon I wept. For Claire. For Ava. For all the babies. I wept for the anger that filled me at the injustice of it all and for the pure frustration that comes with making sense of the nonsensical. For the fact I was hanging it and not her, for all those things we lose with a child that no one thinks of that ruin and haunt and destroy you. When I was done hanging it, through the tears I stepped back and smiled.
Thank you Jessica.
(*Names changed …because, duh!)