The package arrived in July, maybe August. I don’t remember. The days after our son died were filled with sadness and I didn’t really pay attention to dates other than to mark off, one week, two weeks, a month since I delivered a stillborn child.
But at some point this summer, it arrived. A lovely teal scarf from a friend from Texas who I’ve only met online. It was beautiful, in a color that I loved, knit with care.
That wasn’t what it was supposed to be, however.
It was made from yarn that had been chosen to knit a blanket for our son.
Gini and I had messaged a bit during my pregnancy. She knew about some of the emotional struggles I encountered when I first realized that I was pregnant. She knew that abortion had done a bit more than flit across my mind in the early days. She knew that when I embraced the pregnancy, I did so fully and looked forward to this new life with eager expectation.
She also knew, though we never talked about it, that a 40 year old woman having a baby after an affair, divorce, and remarriage probably wasn’t having a baby shower. And from that knowledge, she offered to knit me a blanket for our child. She asked what colors I liked and I told her that purple and teal were my favorites.
When I received the scarf, I only held it for a few moments before tucking it away in a drawer. It was summer and though the yarn was a fine weave and a color very suitable to the warmer weather, I couldn’t wear it. I assumed that it would stay packed away with the few tokens I had kept from our preparations for a new child in our home. I didn’t forget about it, but I chose not to think about it. The pain of what could have been, of what should have been was too great. The scarf represented the good that was supposed to be.
The summer months are behind us now. Holiday plans are being made, with some sadness. There will be no new Baby’s First Christmas ornament on our tree. No rattles or board books to be shaken or read by older siblings, wrapped in paper that would be crinkled and drooled on. No giggling baby videos or pictures of a tiny elf prince.
The winter threatens treacherous once again. I went into my closet to pull out warmer clothes, outfits that had been snug last winter as the life inside of me was growing along with my excitement to feel the kicks and wiggles that would soon be keeping me awake at night, filling me with a sense of wonder.
As I rummaged through my winter wear, I came across the scarf. Its bright color shown out among all of the blacks and greys that I usually favor when the air turns frigid.
I turned it over in my hands, giving it a more thorough inspection than I had in the darkest days of my grief. The edge of the pattern was decorated with leaves – signs of life, signs of refuge.
I thought about the months since our son’s death. Despite the loss, I have seen life. Despite the storms, I have experienced refuge.
As I wrapped the scarf around my neck, I realized that it didn’t simply represent the good that should have been, it represented the good that is.