CS Lewis once said that "grief is like the sky, it covers everything." In recent weeks, our family has found that this is so very true. It seems that there is no right or wrong way to travel this path of grief. I have created this blog in hopes that some day we will be able to look back on our journey and see written proof that our great God never leaves us. God is good all the time.

Celebrating Laynee

You might want to scroll to the bottom of this page and pause the music before playing this video.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Another Step

There is a question that arises, I suspect, for everyone who experiences the death of a loved one.  This is another one of those things that one never gives thought to until it is there, staring them in the face.  What is to be done with the belongings of the one who is gone? 

If I'd given in to the cry of my heart, her room would have remained untouched forever.  Her things would have remained exactly the way they were the last time she was in the room.   I'd begun to think of her room as a haven.  I could go there at night when sleep evaded me or during the lonely days when the pain threatened to devour me.  I could feel her presence there, smell her, picture her there with outstretched arms, waiting to be lifted from her crib.   I could sit in the big pink chair where Jade so often read to her.  I could cover myself with her pink blanket and rub it's silky edge against my face or clutch her bear to my heart, inhaling the scent of her.  Often I rubbed my hands across her crib sheet, still wrinkled from where her sleeping form lay on it.  I touched her shoes, looked through her glasses and ran my hand across her many outfits hanging in the closet.  As if somehow her unaltered room could lessen the reality of what is, my heart longed to leave it exactly as it was. 

Another part of me knew that making changes in her room was a necessary step in the grief process.  A step needed, if not for myself, then for everyone else in my home.  I knew that the day of feeling "ready" for this was not ever going to come.  So I set a goal.  I told myself that I would at least make some changes in her room before Thanksgiving.  I dreaded this task and knew that doing it alone would not be the wisest of choices.  Because Jamee and Jade were not overly interested in being a part of this, I asked my friends Karen and Kathy.  I knew that they would remember many of her clothing items and could share in my sorrow as well as the joy of having been touched by her

With coffee mugs in hand, the three of us went to work.  We sat on the floor of Laynee's room surrounded by mounds of clothing.  But what does one do with clothes so precious that the heart cannot bear to part with them?  How does one let go of the few things that are left of their child?  An entire lifetime of memories are sewn into the fibers of those clothes.  The only way to tackle this task was to begin.  Karen and Kathy were there but once I began I became somewhat cut off from all but the precious pieces of material in my hands and the flood of memories that they prompted.   We made piles.  One pile consisted of items that I had bought in the off seasons, which she had never worn.  These, along with a few things she had rarely worn, which did not have a great deal of memories attached to them, were given to Kathy's little grand daughter who lives in Tennessee.   Another pile was made up of things that were most precious, a few of her dresses, her first school outfit, and some clothes with stains that I now cherish.   These items, along with her shoes, school papers and art projects, items from the hospital the night she died,  favorite toys and books, and special blankets will be preserved in a chest that Jim will make.  This chest with her name carved in it will also contain the hundreds of cards we have received since she died and will be placed at the foot of our bed.

The last pile that we made consisted of those clothes that we love the most.  The things she wore over and over.  They are the things we picture her wearing in every day life.  A friend very graciously offered to create a quilt of these items.  Tonight she brought the comleted quilt, along with four smaller ones, created  for our four older children.  The kids have each placed theirs over their beds.  The larger one was hung on the wall, in our basement, where the kids spend much of their time.  When time allows, Jim will make a frame for it.

There is still much to done in her room.  The crib still stands and will someday need to be taken down but it has been stripped of all by the mattress.   Her torn window shade is still there and still torn and ........well it might be awhile longer before I can take that down. Her hot pink chair remains, the one she only sat in when she was on someone's (usually Jade's) lap.  That chair is obnoxiously pink and matches nothing in our home, but I don't care, it holds a beautiful, sacred picture in my mind, an image of a child so deeply loved.  There are few other, less frequently used items, which I really don't know what to do with. I suppose in time I'll think of something. 

As I held her new quilt, the ache was deep.  We remember every article of clothing, from the dresses, to the clothes she made filthy with her constant getting into things, to the PJ's we snuggled her in. Clothes, normal every day clothes, things I would have long ago passed on, probably to my little great niece if things were different.  That is what I would have done if she were still here but because she is not, these pieces of fabric, sewn together into a masterpiece have become one of the most valuable items in our home.

I have pondered this step and all of the other steps of grief work and a question fills my mind.  What exactly is this a step towards?  Typically when we take a series of steps, we are striving for something, a goal or an expectation.  What is the goal or the desire that we as baby loss mother's are pressing towards?  Perhaps it is closure or maybe each step is born simply of the expectations of society.  No doubt, many would say that it is a step towards healing but we mother's know better than that.  This is not something from which we will ever heal.  These steps do not make the pain less but perhaps they move us closer to the ever elusive thing called acceptance.  My child is not coming back.  Leaving her things, as if in waiting for her return, does not make reality any less so.  I suppose it could be said that the goal for which we strive is that of a healthy balance.  A balance which allows us to honor her in our hearts and in our home, yet does not cause us to remain stuck in our longing for her.  As I look at the things that we have done in her memory, I am reminded that each of them was "another step."  Her grave marker at the cemetary, the framed photos on the walls, her garden, special trees planted in the yard and now her quilts:  all serve as bittersweet memories, bringing smiles of rememberance and tears of sadness. Above all, they serve as a reminder of the hope that we have. We have a daughter and a sister waiting to welcome us into heaven one day.

                                                          Laynee's Quilt...............
Made up of favorite T shirts

and sweet dresses

and hee hee shirts

and soft warm pajamas

and princess jackets

and warm winter hats

and tanks she wore almost daily

all bordered with the sheet from her crib

 and her special blanky

Jamee's quilt contains the shirt she bought Laynee
in Paris during her summer trip to Europe

Jade's Quilt


Both boys are unphased by the "girliness"
 of having a quilt made of little girl clothes hanging
 in their otherwise masculine room. 
 They are Laynee's clothesand that fact trumps
pride, fashion and "coolness"

Grant' quilt

and Brock's

Thank you Bev.
They are priceless


  1. THey is just a beautiful and perfect idea! I am so glad you have that.

  2. What a beautiful way to remember your perfect angel! That woman is a Saint for making those for you guys! Laynee was probably there for every stitch and probably giggled remembering all the memories of those clothes as well!

    I am so very sorry you have to go through this, but thank you for sharing your thoughts. I fully believe as you said, that she is waiting for you and what a GREAT day it will be to hold her again! Please don't give up hope of that.

    The Lord is mindful of your struggles and trials, THAT I know for sure...I pray that he will send you comfort and place his arms gently around you when you need it. Much love and prayers sent your way from my family as well!

  3. Perfect. I'm surprised that you were able to work on her room, only because I know how much you cherished it as it was. But I'm so proud of you, and your precious friends, that you took this on and created something beautiful and so perfectly representative of Laynee. And that the other kids have quilts as well...so special.

  4. Priceless indeed. Thank you for sharing such a beautiful post.

  5. The quilts are so beautiful and what a great idea for each of laynee's bro's and sis's to have one. I did not realize they each got one. I should have known better. Something to hug.

  6. I do love the quilts and think they are a wonderful, meaningful, priceless way to honor Laynee.

    However, all the more, they leave me longing for the day when the quilts can be put aside - because Laynee will be in your arms and the waiting will be over, over, over.

    Whenever I feel this terrible, pressing, inescapable longing for reunion - I always know that what you are feeling goes a million miles beyond.

    Much love,

    Cathy in Missouri

  7. I feel so sorry for you and your family. Your saddness is so deep. Laynee is such a beautiful child. I love the quilts that were made out of her clothes. What a beautiful way to remember her. I have a suggestion regarding the chest your husband is going to make. Why not use part of her baby bed? I thing that would make a beautiful chest and what a great way to keep her memories present. God Bless you and your family during the Christmas holidays. I lost a baby about twelve years ago and time does heal the pain but not your heart. But it does get easier.