We have to go to pick up Amy’s ashes this morning. All the things that we worried about not knowing how to do when we decided to get pregnant – this wasn’t one of them. How do you decide what to do with your child’s body, your child who never even really got to live. How do you call a funeral home and ask them to pick her up at the hospital without breaking down. How do you sign the paperwork saying that yes, you are her parents, and you are authorizing her cremation. Pick out an urn. Come around to collect her.
It’s all very respectful. There is no charge. No one wants to profit on the loss of a baby. They make it as easy as they can, but no one can actually make it easy.
You’re not just burying your daughter. You’re also burying plans, hopes, dreams. That baby you knew only from ultrasounds, from her movements inside of you – you’ll never get to know who she would have been. You won’t sing her the same lullabies your mother sang to you. She won’t like dinosaurs, or monkeys, or have a favorite color. There won’t be a first Christmas, or a tenth, or a 21st. She won’t want to learn to knit. Her father won’t have to interrogate her boyfriends. She won’t go to any college, prestigious or otherwise. There won’t be any family trips. All of this is gone.
She was so calm, so relaxed, so cooperative for ultrasounds. But she was also full of vigor, as Dan liked to say. Poked and kicked at me nonstop for most of the day, so hard that she could actually move his hand on top of my stomach when he would rest it there to feel her, as early as 18 or 19 weeks when everyone said we probably wouldn’t even feel her yet. We wanted so much to know her.
We can grieve, and move along, and I know this will get better. If we’re lucky, we can even have another child with a better outcome this time. But it won’t change this – that we will never know Amy, the way we wanted to.