I thought he had forgotten as I opened the Mother’s Day present this past May while at brunch. There inside was a beautiful blue sapphire necklace. Running my fingertips over the slender smooth silver chain I said thank you and asked my husband, “Why a blue sapphire?”
Proud of his purchase he replied, “It’s Zoe’s birthstone.”
Turning to look at our sweet 8 week old rainbow baby sleeping soundly in her car seat at the table, a sad obliged smirk quickly came and went upon my face. Tears began forming in my eyes but I held them back as I thought to myself, “Where is Nora’s birthstone on this necklace? Why is her name missing from this card? Have you forgotten about our daughter that died just 15 months ago?”
Instead of screaming these words at my loving husband who sat next to me at our beautiful Mother’s Day Brunch I simply smiled again and said, “I love it! Can you help me put it on?”
And I did love it. I mean I do love it as I am wearing it now as I write this. It’s a reminder that I birthed yet another beautiful baby girl into this world and I should have a memento of just hers to cherish as I do her older sister. But at the same time I hated it. I hated the fact that Nora is not somehow represented on that chain. I hate the fact that he forgot to put her name in the card just like my parents forgot to in the card that I had received the day before from them. “Happy Mother’s Day honey! We are so proud of you for being Zoe’s mom.” But I’m not just Zoe’s mom; I’m Nora’s mom too!
It seemed as though another fear of mine was coming true. She had been forgotten, replaced. Overshadowed by the living, breathing, child that came after her. No one, not even those closest to me that had lost her too seemed as if they wanted to remember her. My heart was shattered, ripped out of my chest and broken into pieces again. I thought that somehow this thing called grief would get easier. I guess some days are, but those days ill prepare you for and make you foolishly think that all days will be better. Boy was I wrong. Moments like this one just seem to add salt to a wound that will just never close.
But if I’m being honest, my greatest fear was that I would forget Nora too. That somehow among raising my Rainbow, memories of Nora would fade away along with the love. I mean how can one not get caught up in the moments of life that need our attention when we have living children? They need to eat, be changed, taken to daycare, dinner needs to be made, chores need to be done, vacations to be planned, birthdays to be celebrated, meetings to attend, and so the act of living must go on. With so much to do, it seems easy to forget her, not intentionally, but slowly as she slips into the background of this theatrical stage called life.
It’s getting harder and harder for me to keep Nora and her memory at the center focus of my life. It feels as if the time for mourning has passed and the world is left to the living. I want to be a part of those living, but I also know I will forever mourn, so how do I keep her as part of my daily routine among all the beautiful chaos of life?
My answer? I write her name of the shower glass door every morning. My daily ritual to remember her. As the steam rises and the water droplets form into fog on the glass to the door of the shower I carve the letters of her name out of the dew upon the door. Four letters, short and sweet, like her life was, appear every morning on the window pane because I place them there. While the water from the shower head beads off my back I decorate her name on this glass with hearts and sometimes retrace the lettering over and over again. Taking a moment out of my day to be in peace and quiet and remember her, if only for a minute so that I can be with her once again.
Yesterday morning as I was getting out of the shower and dressed for Saturday’s events my husband holding Zoe turned to me and asked, “Can you wear Nora’s necklace today? I never see you wear it anymore.”
“Sure honey, but why?” I replied quizzically.
As he shrugged his shoulders he said, “I just like it when you wear both.”
I smiled. He hadn’t forgotten her and neither will I.