Friday, July 11, 2014

In honor of Will

About a week before Will's birthday and heavenly anniversary I begin to get emotional.
Its this strange thing that I can never fully explain or even understand,
but my heart and soul know that these few days are solely his...
and he becomes the center of my thoughts.
Even in the chaos that is now my home.
I just can't even begin to imagine that it has been 6 years since I last held him.

Sure, we have found a new "sense of normal" but Will's death is still in my daily thoughts and I know now that won't ever change.
With the passing of time, I don't cry like I used to.
And I gladly share his story without tears.
but for whatever reason...
Mid-July leaves me quiet in my thoughts and a bit weepy.

Last night I poured a glass of wine and did my quick scan of Facebook while cooking dinner.
Then I saw something that literally took my breath away.
I turned my attention to an organization that had been linked by a consignment shop where I sell my boys clothes.

This organization accepts women's wedding dresses,
and makes them into Angel Gowns.
What are they exactly?
Beautiful gowns given to families for the babies that never get to leave the hospital.

This is the destiny of my wedding dress.
And it couldn't have come at a better time.

My gown is currently sitting in a box in our garage,
the last of some boxes that I don't know what to do with exactly.
Too valuable in memories, it has been saved with certain dreams.
Moved across the country twice.
Stored for too many years in the dark.

Its time for that dress to have a new meaning and a new life.

The night that Will died,
the nurses did the best with what they had.
Donations to the NICU in the form of handmade gowns and blankets.
But these Angel Gowns?
They are sacred and absolutely stunning.

The outfit the bereavement nurses put Will into when they brought him to us?
I absolutely hated it.
I have never said anything.
Didn't want to make anyone feel bad.
But it was this awful scratchy white gown that looked like something I would dress my Cabbage Patch Kid in as a little girl. Cross-stiched red hearts and all.
And I was absolutely horrified that the one outfit my son wore was the same one he would die in...

Simply put: It was so ugly it distracted me from the moment.

I had expected to see him simply in a diaper and brought to us wrapped in a blanket.
I wanted to be able to hold him for the first time, at 52 hours old, and take in his features that I would never again be able to see in this life.
His arms, legs, his beautiful head without some doll bonnet on it.
I just wanted to see...Him.

After that first hour, and Will's heart had eventually beat for the last time,
the first thing we did was change him.
I had found this tiny blue outfit at Baby Gap,
but the legs and sleeves still had to be rolled up.
The one irrational thought pulsing through my head was at least he was in something soft and comfortable...
It probably seems confusing to people that have never dressed their baby for the first and last time.
That I would even care about what he was or wasn't wearing.
But what he wore, ended up being in nearly every photo that I will ever have of him.
That outfit is preserved in time and now sits in his box.
I have one small box of things in which to remember my son.
And that little blue outfit I changed him into is a huge part of that.

Now suddenly, 6 years later, I know that if Will had worn an Angel Gown it would have been the most beautiful thing. A meaningful keepsake. A most thoughtful gesture given by a stranger. So that is what I want to do. In honor of Will.

Here is where I will be shipping my wedding gown next week
In Honor of Will for his 6th birthday
July 17~July 19, 2008:

NICU Helping Hands
C/O Ideal Partners
6913 Camp Bowie BLVD Suite 181
Fort Worth, Texas 76116