20 March 2021 – The Absence of Memory

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My daughter crawled into my lap the other day, put her head on my chest, and wrapped my arm around her. She doesn’t speak much, but she is still expressive. Some days I just hold her, and these feelings don’t have words.

And I think of the last time I took this course, and this last prompt was hard for me. Because so many people had sweet memories, and my memory, though also sweet, was primarily a reminder of death. This is what happens when your child is born already deceased—you find yourself in love with the very scent of his passing.

And I think about those early days, when I still slept with his things. When I kept his first blanket in a Ziploc bag to retain the smell. I think about those early days, and these “strange” things that bereaved parents do. (Are they really so strange?) In any case, sometimes I miss them.

My daughter crawled into my lap the other day, grabbed my hand and wrapped it around her. She is constantly so open and pleasantly demanding. She smells like oatmeal and peanut butter, sticky fingers staining the front of my shirt. And I realize in the years since the death of my son, what I miss most is this; this thing that hadn’t happened yet. This scent of life and normality. He deserved this too.

Posts written in response to prompts from Megan Devine’s Refuge in Grief writing program.
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