I've told a few people this, but I think I'm entering a new phase of grief. I think the shock has worn off. I don't feel so shocked and confused anymore. I just feel angry. Its like smoldering coals way deep down in my soul just sit all day. At times memories or stories or pictures or thoughtless comments fan those coals and they erupt into flames. Those angry flames lick my wounds and burn them. And at the end of an 'episode' what is left is a heap of ash. Worn out and gray and tired.
I wonder some days if strangers see those flames in my eyes. I know Nolan has felt the heat lately, but like a bucket of cold water he dumps kind, loving, patient words over me. Quenching the flames and keeping me from burning myself from the inside out.
Last night was hard. I wanted to sleep, but it just wouldn't come. Memories of my baby. Memories of his lips, those lips that are just like Vera's. But some of the memories I notices are starting to fade away. The shape of his head and torso were blurry. As soon as I realized this I frantically opened "The Box". I got out my key, heaved the box onto my bed and unlocked it (I never want someone to accidently open this box). It has everything about Asher in it. Everything about one human being inside a 1 by 1 1/2 foot box. The most precious things in that box are an album my mom made for me with many pictures of his birth, foot-prints and hand-prints taken by Anne - the nurse - and pieces of his hair. These are the only things I have left of my son. There are many other things too; every single card we received, the outfit I was wearing when my water broke, the newspapers with his obituary in them; every bill from the hospital and funeral home; the hat my mom and mother-in-law put on him after they washed him - it still has his smell on it.
I carefully unwrapped the album from its green string and yellow tissue paper. I was already sobbing and just wept over his little body all over again. I talked to him and whispered his name. I pulled out his hat from the hospital and held it to my nose and took a deep breath. Taking in his sent once again; newness and a little bit like Nolan after a hard days work in the sun. I shutter at the thought of never smelling that smell again. I got out the bits of his hair and touch it, marveling again at its color (black for now that would have turned brown, exactly like mine) and softness. I went back to the album and laid down on the bed and just put my hand over my favorite picture of him in and sobbed and sobbed and let the fire burn itself out.
And then, ceremonially, I placed everything back inside that box exactly as I had taken it out. I re-wrapped the album, exactly the same way I had each time before and laid it to rest - again - inside that pine box.