This morning I found myself stretching into a longer Virabhadrasana II in response to my teacher lovingly telling me to lengthen myself across my mat. Once I settled back into the pose she said, “You are stronger than you think you are.”
I awoke wondering what freedom might greet me today. I spent a fun weekend away with friends at Green River. Yet again, they gently loved me through another holiday without Sam. On Saturday night as their kids were fast asleep on the couch in our friends living room, I grabbed Sam Bear and placed him in between each of them. Lily restlessly took notice of his presence and cuddled him close to her heart. I stared at her for a moment and Lily’s Mama hugged me and said, “I know this is hard for you. I’m so glad you’re here.” She walked away and I stood in her kitchen and for a very brief moment, felt complete.
Sam wasn’t physically there but his spirit was. I watched Sam Bear take the place of what should have been Sam’s body and I smiled. I walked back outside feeling included; like my baby was there, too.
I had no expectations for this day other than to relax. We’ve been out of town for the past two weekends and I’ve missed the comfort of my home. This afternoon Ted started a movie and I became restless, sat up on the couch and stared into Sam’s room.
About two weeks ago thoughts rolled across my mind of Sam’s room. For the first time since his birth I wondered when I would repurpose his room. Awhile ago, a fellow yogi had shared with me a story of a loss Mama who turned her babies nursery into a place for her to practice and meditate. I knew upon reading it that that was exactly what I was to do with Sam’s room, if I ever found myself ready.
But we’re not really ever “ready” as loss parents. There’s no good time for taking a step into what feels like a step away from your baby. But as I stared in Sam’s room I heard my teacher say, “You are stronger than you think you are.”
I got a plastic bin from our basement and walked into his room and began to repack the clothes, sleepers and blankets I so faithfully packed into his dresser over a year ago. I became flooded with memories of sitting in my sister in law’s dining room and ogling over every tiny outfit she was passing down and sharing thoughts of how perfect Sam would be in them.
I pulled his dresser away from the wall and Ted unscrewed the topper where the changing pad lay after my first baby shower. I kept repeating to myself, “It is just wood.” “It is just wood.” “I am stronger than I think I am.” “It is just wood.”
The dresser now looks just like a dresser. Not a dresser especially made for a baby. It only moved into the room next door. But it’s the first part of Sam’s room that we’ve changed. Im currently writing from the place where his dresser used to sit with the lights dimmed and huddled in the corner, staring at his crib. I don’t know when the time will come to move it. Maybe this week. Maybe next month. Maybe next year. But in grief, we learn baby steps so as not to be overwhelmed but to still be moving forward.
I’m flooded by how unfair it feels to have made this space for Sam that he only knew in my womb. How cruel it feels to be packing away his clothes that never touched his body. But yet again, acknowledging that he doesn’t live here. Sam isn’t confined to this tiny space nor would he be if he were living. He’s free.
Just as we celebrate this day and becoming a new nation; I too trudge through the valleys in search of independence.