First off, a quote from Pregnancy after a loss: “Men are notorious for hiding their true feelings. Your partner is probably no exception.” So, please, read through my previous posts with a grain of salt. I appreciate the understanding. Melka has heard somewhere that men are from Mars. It’s apparently a popular notion. Maybe in another post I can talk share about how much this ROCKS for a man who hides his true feelings.

Same book, a few sentences later, it says that weight gain may be a sign of sympathetic fathers-to-be.

And then, thankfully, the surprising revelation: men have feelings, too. Otherwise, a good book.

Anyway.

We’ve got a few things lying around here that we don’t necessarily want, but can’t get rid of.

The main thing is the container that our daughter’s ashes came in. They arrived in a cardboard box that folded up into a handle. It’s a bit like a happy meal box, but different for several reasons. I can think of two ways – for one, it has butterflies drawn on the outside. We didn’t open it at first.

When we finally did, we saw a metal bucket inside, like the size of a half-loaf of bread. It’s silver and had a sticker on the top with her name. We didn’t open it.

We bought a nice ceramic pot, about the size of a sugar jar, for the ashes. We waited. We were afraid. What if we opened the thing and she flew up in a plume of dust? Our daughter… in our lungs, making us cough. And then the cleanup… mixed with hair and food crumbs. It’s a nightmare. So we waited and waited for it to feel inevitable.

When we decided to just go ahead and do it, I had no idea how to open the damn tin. I had to call the crematorium, but the language issue (that I don’t speak the language and probably never will) got in the way. So the nice woman drew some instructions, scanned it, and emailed it to me. Small miracles.

We made another attempt. My heart was racing, I was paralyzed. When it finally snapped open, rather violently and requiring a screwdriver, there was a bag inside. And a little bit of fine sand on the outside, some grey sticky dust that had settled on the plastic.

We stuffed the entire bag, unopened, into the jar. But what about the tin? It has tiny, tiny, tiny bits of her.

When we moved to a new apartment, we didn’t want to take the tin along, nor the ugly butterfly cardboard thing. But what to do with the thing that ashes of your baby lived in for a few months? Throw it away? I had one of those crushing moments, stupified, staring at melka. “I can’t do it.”

Now it’s in the kitchen, under some bags. I see it when I clean the kitchen floor. I don’t see it often. But it’s there, and I have no idea what to do with it. Maybe take a damp paper towel, wipe the inside, and then put the towel into the jar with the rest of the ashes?

Maybe grow some insensitivity and decide that it’s not a big deal. Can I convince myself that the ashes are with us and that little person is in my heart no matter what happens? Maybe I should tell myself that ‘she wouldn’t want me to be upset about this.’ But that only works when it’s Grandpa who dies. He wouldn’t have wanted the fuss. But Malina… who never had a chance, who never saw the world outside… can anything be just tossed?

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