For today's theme, Carly asks us what we do to memorialize our babies and children. After 2 days of being home after being hospitalized, I somehow finally found the heart and strength to be in Haven's room for longer than 10 minutes and to thoroughly put away all the goodies + items that accumulated in my hospital room during our stay into our space at home. I've decorated her nursery with stuffed animals that were given by our family & friends as gifts, plants, our first family selfie photo of us 3 together, fresh weekly eucalyptus, her cute pink cap that was put on her shortly after her birth and my hospital wristband on her nightstand.
A couple of weeks after we laid her body to rest, Paul and I created a shadow box of all the details and memoirs from her one beautiful day with us. We've hung it up on the wall with her name "Haven Faith" carved as a wooden sign -- another wonderful gift that was given to us. Although painful, I keep her spirit alive by keeping her room a part of my cleaning regimen just like she was still her. We've also been really good in opening her windows first thing every morning to allow fresh air and the gorgeous natural light into her small space. Paul and I easily find ourselves in her room everyday, our favorite place in the entire house.
Along with the other physical pieces I have been gifted with or have personally collected (i.e. jewelry with her birthday and her initialed monograms) my husband and I got her name tattooed on our forearms -- mine on my left and his on the right; we decided this because whenever we hold hands, we always happen to be on these sides, so standing from the front, Haven's name is in the middle -- kind of like she's walking with us.
The photo above is special to me + one of my favorites to help keep her spirit alive and memorialized in our home. When we learned about Havey's heart defect while she was in utero, I came across a family's story and their triumph of faith with their baby's premature birth on Facebook and cried every single time I watched it. They looked up to "Finding Nemo" and the significance of Nemo's bad fin for hope and trust despite their storm. I shared this video with my family in hopes that they'd also find the same hope it gave me. On my 3rd day of hospitalization, my sweet brother surprised Havey and I with our very own Nemo. I was overwhelmed with tears. Nemo's bad fin resembled Havey's bad heart and was proof to us that despite their defects, they were strong, going to overcome and "just keep swimming". The big Nemo kept Paul and I "swimming" in our darkest of nights. When it was time to prepare and plan Havey's burial, my precious sister had remembered our Nemo and how much it meant to us. So naturally she went out to purchase a smaller version of Nemo to send off with Havey to keep with her in Heaven. I found myself in tears once more at how well we are so loved and taken care of. The day before we dropped off Haven's dress and personal items to the cemetery, I made sure to snap a photo of our Nemos together in her room.
Our Nemos represent our unique and special relationship. Hers with her and mine with me -- halves of both of our hearts in Heaven and on earth. I hope she's squeezing hers just as hard and tight as I am with mine tonight. Just keep swimming up there my sweet girl.