I’m slowly realizing the past few days that I thought I knew what the reality of all this was, but I don’t. It’s slowly seeping in and instead of getting more comfortable with the truth it’s just starting to cut deeper and deeper into me. Being a self declared level headed person, who knows the facts here, I am blindsided by this new level of hurt.
I picked up Milo’s belongings, the plaster casts of his hands and foot, the clay hand prints, and his remains. It wasn’t hard to get into the car and go get. It wasn’t difficult to do all that, then go to the grocery store, and come home. It was hard to bring it all in the house and look at it. I was thankful for the distraction of a stiff drink and chatting with our neighbors while Gabe played before I was able to bring it all in and look at it.
The clothing smells like the baby powder and weird artifical smell he had after he had been prepared by the funeral home and we saw him. The paster casts are OK. Not perfect, because it’s not really a service the funeral home provides and we just got the kits from Hobby Lobby to quickly do them. They are better than nothing at this point. I can still see his little finger and toe nails in them even though they aren’t done perfectly. They warned us the task of taking prints and casts might be difficult for them to accomplish given his state after preservation. I had no expectations, so I’m not let down there.
I opened the blue seaglass stained glass box, then the plastic container to reveal a clear plastic bag with a ribbon tied around the top that contains all that is left of my baby. I don’t know exactly what I was expecting, but it was a let down. It’s slightly larger than a baseball and I can easily hold it in my palm. That’s it. That’s all that’s left of my chubby faced, dark haired, 20lb little boy who was right here with me every minute of every day just two and a half weeks ago.
Being the ever inquisative one, I decided to google search what exactly cremated remains are. Don’t do this. It wasn’t what I expected. We all call them ashes, but that’s not exactly what they are. They look like dirty sand and are kind of crunchy and girty. It’s not soft and powdery like you imagine. It’s not really ashes at all. It’s the ground up bones since that’s all that’s usually left after whole process is done. I then went on to read the ‘how stuff works’ logical details of how modern cremation is preformed and it horrified me. When we decided to not bury him it was a fear and pain of imagining him cold and alone in the ground somewhere. We wanted to bring him home. I’m still glad that we did. But the thought of having a box of my baby’s ground up bones on my kitchen counter is currently tearing me apart.
I was kind of hoping to be able to find a tooth or strand of hair or something in the ‘ashes’. Something identifiable that would tell me this was my son. I really feel like I should have known better. All I’ve really learned today is that with each passing day I really have no idea what I’m doing now. I’m just sort of fumbling through most of the day, doing the immediately obvious things to feed and try to pick up after the rest of my family.
When I finally put Gabe to bed and I’m alone before Antonio comes home from work is when it’s the hardest. I get to reflect and feel all the things I’ve ignored all day. Today I stumbled upon this little video clip my Google Photos backup put together. It’s from the spring I think, and has images and video from the first time Milo was able to sit up by himself in the bath. It was the first time he didn’t scream his head off taking a bath. There was actually a period of time that I just stopped trying to bathe him at all because he hated it so, so much – until he could sit on his own. Then, he loved it.
I love and hate these photos and clips. I love that I have them to relive over and over, but I hate that this was my life, and now it’s just not.