I have a little white polka dot keepsake box. I found it at Beall's Outlet, and it only cost $3.99. It was a great bargain, and it is absolutely adorable.
Yet, it is a confusing little polka dot box. Full of some of the most cherished, loved, prized memories...and full of some of the most indescribably painful, horrible, unforgettable pain. It's a cute white box with gold polka dots on the outside, and a light pink interior. It has a gold bow on the front. It makes a beautiful dust collector that now resides on top of my dresser, taking precedence over makeup and hair accessories.
It sat there empty for a few days before I decided to use it for the purpose in which I bought it; to store some of my most precious keepsakes. Inside are the few items that I get to hold in place of my nephew. The few physical possessions that remind me that he really did exist. That he was more than just a victim. That he was a little pain in the rear while incubating. That he spent the first night of his life just checking out the hospital room with me while Mommy slept. That Aunt Squishy gave the best snuggles. That he was this fat little wiggle puff that was full of grins and laughs. That he was this gentle sweet soul, that loved nothing more than to cuddle. That he was the true love of his Momma's life, and she was his.And that all we have are little memories in the shape of a pajamas that he wore at your house the only time he spent the night. Little socks to match.
And we each have our piece of John. Somewhere in each of our homes my family has their things they just could not part with, even though we never should have had to part with our baby. Little sweet, painful reminders of the short but truly amazing time we spent with John. They will never be enough, but it is all we have. We also have a throw pillow that wears John's fireman onsie we heisted from his Mommy. It's a battle around here trying to find who stole my John pillow.
I had to open it today to place a piece of paper inside that was handed to us at the Victims Remembrance Ceremony that was hosted in remembrance of victims in our home county. It was a quiet and solemn ceremony. And it was kind of consoling in a way to know that we are not alone. There are other families suffering the same terrible pain. It also broke my heart knowing that they know our pain..they understand that sadness of never knowing why.
When I opened the box to place the paper inside, there he was. This big beautiful grin coming at me. Two little teeth that had just broke through. Hair in his face. Fat little cheeks split in a gummy grin. My sweet fat baby. And then this kind of came pouring out. I had to share the power of this box with others I guess. I love looking at pictures of John, by my word they hurt. They make your heart seize, and give you that terrible "I'm not going to cry" lump in your throat.
I just want to hold him one more time. Even though it would never be enough.