That box felt all wrong in my hands, but still I couldn’t put it down. It was all that was left of the life we lost. It was all we had left of our baby who died. There was nothing in that box that I wanted but it represented all I had ever dreamed of.
We left with a box.
Not a baby. Not our child. But with a box.
No one smiles at you when you leave the hospital carrying a box. No one really looks at you. Or maybe they do, but you can’t be sure. It’s hard to look at anyone when your arms feel so empty and life feels so uncertain.
I didn’t want that box.
I wanted my baby. I wanted to leave the hospital with my baby. I wanted to place her carefully in the car. I wanted to carry her through the doorway of our home. I wanted to set her down in our crib. I wanted to being our new life together.
But I came home with a box.
A box that I hated and loved all at once. I hate what it stands for and I love that it belongs to her. I hate that it exists and I love that it reminds me I’m not alone. It’s a box I never wanted and one that I will carry with me forever.
So to the people who say they can’t imagine what it’s like to lose a child, I say this: Think about what it was like to bring home your baby and imagine what it would feel like to bring home a box instead.
**Read more from Rachel Whalen at An Unexpected Family Outing.