… and make sure to tell my daughter that the jewelry was given to me by her Daddy … and tell my Granddaughter that I love her and there are treats in that box … and the Ceramic Doll? Well, I made that by hand … every single piece … from scratch. But don’t forget the pinwheel.”
For the grave.
For her granddaughter’s grave. The tiny baby … appropriately named Hope … who died at birth … one year ago … today.
For those of you who are long time readers here, perhaps you have seen the posts from back then about all of what happened. This one, or this one, or this one. They are the most popular ones viewed on the blog.
You know, there are honors and then there are honors. To win an award for some accomplishment … that is an honor. But today I was truly honored … I was asked by Mother and absent Grandmother to be at the graveside … as they remembered one small life.
She was here for such a short time. But she affected people deeply.
For this entire year … once a month … my friend Texas Linda and I have travelled … almost an hour one way … to visit the grave of baby Hope. Each month a different token of love was left. A balloon. Some flowers. A candle. Something.
For this entire year Linda has, in modified Native tradition, refused to cut or color her hair. Today, in honor of baby Hope, she did both.
For this entire year, her Mother and Father and Big Sister have grieved … silently and at times not so silently.
For this entire year, her paternal Grandmother has seen their grief … and remembered the loss of her own firstborn … shortly after birth.
For this entire year, promises have been made. Donations and prayers and commitments to various causes in the name of baby Hope have been offered.
And despite the firm faith and knowledge that the one who was born is in Heaven and in our hearts … still … today the small group gathered … and grieved … at the graveside.
Daddy played with a small plastic train set. Mommy set up a bubble blowing machine. Big Sister set up various toys. And the rest watched in support.
Stories were told. Like when Mommy and Big Sister had gotten a small toy to remember the brother also gone too soon. To be put on the grave. And it disappeared. Until the day they were getting ready to leave to drive up here. And it suddenly appeared on the floor of Mommy and Daddy’s room.
Or when the bubbles were not working so well. And Mommy said “Come on, Hope … we need a little wind here.” and the wind whipped up out of nowhere and blew the bubbles up and away.
So many offerings of love … and remembrance … toys … balloons … bubbles … candles … poems … and the pinwheel.
Yes, I remembered the pinwheel. I am pretty sure Hope likes it.
Faith wrote this letter to Hope … in honor of today … and has left it with Hope today. She would like to share it with you here. I am honored to do this.
The grief of a Mother … for a child … is deeper than any pain. The love of this Mother, for those of you who know or have read, is made all the more bittersweet by the fact that Faith faces challenges herself. And she would have been the perfect Mother for the special challenges that Hope would have faced in this world.
Read this … and know that this is raw pain and grief. And also know that somewhere in Heaven is a little girl, with her brother, who loves her Mommy very much.
Happy 1st Birthday, my beautiful special angel.
On July 19, 2012, I held you in my arms and saw how beautiful you were.
Your lip was perfect, but never saw your smile, wondering if you have dimples just like your Mommy has.
I kissed your lip so soft just like your big sister’s lip. I kissed your sister three times … for her, yourself and your big brother, to keep my memories of you every single day.
Your ears, I whispered your ear and said “I love you my little special angel”
Your nose was so perfect and you had my and your sister’s nose. I would love to rub my nose to yours and kiss your nose every single day.
Your eyes were so beautiful but we never knew the color of your eyes. In my dreams I saw the color of your eyes and it was beautiful.
Your beautiful hands, we love to see you sign to us.
Your feet, wishing you were running around in our home or on the beach.
Your beautiful hair, so soft, so thick, and so smooth. I dreamt that your hair was long and wavy. I would love to brush and braid your long hair like I did to your big sister.
Your voice, we never are able to hear your voice calling us Mommy and Daddy, and screaming with your wonderful laugh.
Your soft skin, I touched your beautiful face with a soft skin, missing so much for feeling your soft skin on your face again.
Happy Birthday, my special beautiful little angel.
We love you so much.