And without too much fanfare, all things considered.
My baby Garrison's ultrasound photos are no longer on my refrigerator. I had tried to do it a million times in the last 2+ years and have answered scores of questions about them (you usually don't keep ultrasound pictures on display when you aren't pregnant any longer). I had kept my now-17 mo. old baby Devon's up there also, so it wouldn't seem quite so weird. Garrison's photos gave me pleasure, because they documented the last time I "saw" that precious baby alive. At the same time, they held me hostage and ruined many a day when I'd make a failed attempt to relocate them to the memory box.
But this weekend I was having a very small potluck dinner in honor of a special friend with thankfulness as the theme and the scales of grief and thankfulness must have finally reached "equal" status. On Friday, I simply reached up, took off the photos, ran upstairs and put them in my scrapbooking drawer and then ran away. I was instantly happy about it and so strangely proud of my accomplishment. It felt like a weight was lifted. Didn't even cry about it until I was telling Mrs. MonkeyParade about it on Saturday (now yesterday). Note to self: Mrs. MonkeyParade is an extraordinarily good listener.
In spite of what people say, I know that, while I can tuck a photo in a drawer, I will never really be able to tuck that grief away, or outgrow it entirely, or have "time heal all wounds." Occasionally, like this morning (in the shower), a memory from those terrible days strikes me and is still as overwhelming and fresh as July 12th, 2005 -- when I got the unbelievable news and had to relay it to the King via telephone because he was so far away. But I think the tapestry of my life is made more elegant by Garrison's very existence, however brief. If he had never happened, I would have been robbed of the joy I experienced in the few months I carried him. And what of the blessing that I received in conceiving Devon just 2 months after a stillbirth -- when I was past 40? Somewhere I read that there's only a 10 percent chance of even getting pregnant at the age I was. In short, I got pregant twice in about 7 months -- at an "advanced age" with two completely perfect baby boys. [Garrison died from a cord accident, which can happen to anyone -- and boy, did I suffer anxiety through the next pregnancy.] I'm a lucky lady indeed. Extremely "blessed" is more like it.
So, the photos are now out of sight, but in my heart, I'll carry the love of my precious Garrison forever. And I will try to count my blessings more than I think on my life's tragedies. It's a difficult balance, trying not to forget the good, in the inevitable remembrance of the "bad."