shopping with my daughter

Em is a mother of four children. As she describes it, "Three sons on earth who bless me daily and one daughter in Heaven who has impacted more people than I know in her too-short life here. I miss my daughter with every breath." Em writes about her and her life after Eva on her blog After Eva. Em's essay was selected in the spring guest post submission process, and we are so pleased to welcome her words here today. Please join in the conversation in the comment section. --Angie

I took you shopping today, my sweet.

First we dropped off your brothers with a friend. You didn't mind being left alone in the truck for a few minutes while I brought them inside. Then we went to the second-hand store the church runs on Friday mornings. My heart was heavy within me as I caressed you in my pocket while I drank coffee with another mum. The other children there were so demanding. Not you, my sweet. You were quiet as a mouse. I saw a pair of shoes on the shelf. Little shoes that should be just your size. I wanted them. I ached for them. I left them there.  Actually I had donated them to the store a few weeks earlier. They were to have been yours, my dear.

Then we went to pick up some photos. Photos of you, my sweet. It's amazing how good a deal photographers will give you  when the child in the photographs has died. They couldn't find them. Never mind, I'll pick them up another time.  We went on to the grocery store. I bought milk, tomatoes, yogurt, cucumbers... I didn't buy any baby food. We don't need any in our house. You don't eat it anymore, my darling.

Next stop, the mall. This special stop is why I brought you with me, my treasure. This is why you accompanied me shopping today. We stopped in at the little booth that does engraving. The lady there commented on how cute the little rocking horse was that I wanted engraved. She held it up and looked at it. She asked what I wanted engraved on it. I told her it was you she was so casually holding in her hand. You, my sweet, encased in a rocking horse that should have been a piggy bank for a living girl, not an urn for a dead one. You never should have been able to fit inside that little horse. We engraved your name:

Eva Ruby Christine-October 15 2010 to August 15 2011.

Beloved Daughter, Sister, and Granddaughter. There are so few things I can buy for you, so few ways I can mother you.  So, I get your urn engraved. I caress your name etched into the pewter and the tears stream down my face at how beautiful it looks. How beautiful you are, my sweet.

We left the mall and carried on. We had many stops to do today. You didn't cry or fuss about your car seat. I took you out of my pocket when I was driving. Let you get some sunshine. We went out for lunch together. I put you on the table in front of me and I ignored all the people who looked at the tears washing down my face as I ate my lunch with you. I thought about how different it would have been  to have lunch with you if you were breathing. I wouldn't linger over coffee, and what would you be eating my darling? Would you want to hold a french fry in your chubby hand?

We drove back together, along the road we had come. I caressed you again in my pocket, rubbing my thumb along your newly engraved name, and we went to pick up your brothers.  They came tumbling out of the house. Full of joy. I gently showed your little rocking horse to my friend who babysat your brothers.  She didn't know what she was holding as she commented on how surprisingly heavy it was. That's when I told her it was heavy because it was full of ashes. Full of you, my treasure.

I didn't let her hold you long. I jealously reached back for you, and safely ensconced you in my pocket once again.


If you chose cremation, where do you keep your baby's ashes? Do you ever carry them with you? Have you ever taken them out with you? If you did not choose cremation, tell us about the ways in which you carry your baby or babies with you, i.e. through memorial jewelry, t-shirt, trinket, or tattoo.