One of the things that gets me is her box. Sometimes, I walk into our room and I see her box and it just seems so … gauche, maybe. A little bit awful. Tacky. Everything that remains of her entire existence, in a decoupaged memory box with a green bow, like a place you’d store letters from old boyfriends or photographs of your childhood friends, except there’s an entire human being in there, and 6 months of my life in there, and an endless fount of what-ifs and could-have-beens and if-only’s. It shouldn’t be so tidy, or so overly precious.
I don’t open the box very often, anymore. At first, I opened it a lot, I would have carried her around with me if I could have without seeming totally insane. I wanted the box under my pillow and in my purse and really I just wanted her back but only that last part is still true. But something about her very alive brother makes it hurt too much, to look in the box, to see her pictures, how fragile and small and never getting any bigger, any better, any healthier, just frozen forever at way too small to survive. And then there is her brother, taking after his father and already nearly half my height, huge and robust and, well, alive. He’s alive. She’s not. Somehow that feels like failing her all over again, when I get out the box.
And it feels like failing her that I don’t want to open the box right now. I’m sure I will again at some point. I feel terrible about it, and I wonder if it’s okay that I don’t want to open the box. The one thing people told me with all of this baby loss stuff that is inexorably true though is that whatever you need, however you feel, it is what it is and that’s fine. It’s always fine. Amy is not more or less loved, or more or less dead, if I can’t look at her pictures right now. I’ll look at them later. I know that’s true. Still, I worry.
And that box, man. That bow. I wouldn’t want her things anywhere else, anywhere less pretty, anywhere less important, but sometimes it just seems so goddamn trite.