Everyday I do certain things to incorporate Aubrey and Ellie's memory into my daily life. These small things give me a lot of comfort and allow me an opportunity to think about them without bursting into tears. I will admit, I often still cry when I think of them, but as each day passes I cry less and less, and that is a huge step for me.
I love tea, especially green tea. Drinking tea gives me a mini break throughout my day. I sit and relax and enjoy a few moments to think or be comforted while I savor my tea. After Aubrey and Ellie died any quiet moments I had in my day were spent thinking about them. Every cup of tea was my special time to remember them. So I bought two beautiful tea cups, one for each daughter, with their initial on it in Old English writing. Each day I use one to have my morning cup of tea and the other to have my afternoon or evening cup of tea. I make sure to alternate cups each morning so that I use each cup equally. If I reach for Aubrey's cup one morning and then use Ellie's cup later I make sure to reach for Ellie's cup the next morning and use Aubrey's later in the day. I don't want one to get more of my attention than the other. I love them both the same. Drinking tea with them also assures that I take time daily to remember them equally. I worry about the possibility of forgetting one of them or dwelling on one more than the other. I don't want either of them to ever feel that I miss one more than the other. I miss them the same. I wanted each of them as much as I wanted the other. I grieve deeply and equally for each one of them.
I also promised my girls that for the entire year after their death I would keep a bouquet of fresh flowers in the house at all times. So far I have managed to keep my promise. Once a week or so I go to the market and pick out two different kinds of flowers, one for Aubrey and the other for Ellie. I try to pick flowers that remind me of them, that represent the little bit of personality I saw in them in the short time I knew them. I may have only known them for a short time, but I did know them. Mothers know their children. I knew my girls. After I pick their flowers I arrange them in a vase and put it up on our mantel so that I can look at them often. The flowers remind me that their memory is alive even if they are not. And the flowers are beautiful like my girls. Mostly I just like keeping my promise to them.
My parents had a ring made for me to wear in memory of my girls. It is beautiful. Their birthstone is in the middle with two little diamonds, one on each side, to represent each of them. Also my parents are making little plaques to go on the cradle my dad made for me and my sisters before we were even born. It is a tradition in our family to make a plaque for every child and grandchild that is born and put it on the cradle. My sisters and I each have one with our name and birth date on it. When my son was born he got one. So did my sisters' two girls. And my girls will each have one too, but theirs will be different because it will also include their death date. The important thing is that my girls are being acknowledged. That is all I want, for them to be counted.
In the future I would like to do even more things in their honor. I would like to plant a tree that blooms in June to honor their birth. I would like to get a tattoo somewhere to remind me of how they changed my life and how I am permanently impacted by them. I would like something other than a huge scar on my belly to remind me of them. I would like to make a quilt out of all their bedding in the NICU. I want to touch something that once touched them and hold something that held them. My dad is making me a wooden chest to store all their memory items in. Their pictures and scrap book, their hand and foot prints, Aubrey's hair and the plaster casts of Ellie's hands and feet, and the quilt when I make it. Every memory item I have will be stored in their special chest made for them my their grandfather. We are going to put a plaque on it also so every one knows what is inside. And I will keep it for the rest of my life.
Mostly I just never want to stop telling their story. I want the world to know them so everyone can see that all life matters and God intends all life for a purpose. My girls mattered. They mattered to me, they mattered to my husband, and most importantly, they mattered to God. Their bodies may not be able to live on, but their memories can, and it is up to me to make sure they do.