Yesterday I got a knock at the door, which startled me. No one but food delivery people or neighbors knock on the front door and I certainly had not ordered Chinese. Fortunately it was not a neighbor complaining about our vocal animals or a robber with a gun intent on stealing our broken down laptop, it was actually the postman.
He had a package, which I signed for. I opened it up to find a package from a group of my friends. For a long time we've celebrated big achievements and births by sending good wishes and funds to one person who coordinates them and puts them into a card and buys a gift and sends it off. They did the same for me.
I found a package of kind words and well-wishes from my friends which I'll have to read again, because I was crying too hard to get much out of it the first time, but there are a few things that stood out - Rachel welcoming me, bittersweetly, to motherhood, Tamsyn's beautiful poem for Gabriel, Joel's description of the box that was also contained in the package.
The box is a wooden box from Morocco that opens to a small interior. Not much bigger than the palm of my hand all together, the wood is highly polished to show all the knots and whirls and imperfections. It's beautiful. Joel said that she had purchased it in Morocco years ago, but had always felt that it was not intended for her to own and that now she knew why she bought it. Inside was a blue pouch which contained a silver chain with a peridot bead and a stamped oval with a Bible verse: "The angel said, I am Gabriel and I stand in the presence of God." It hit in me the gut the way nothing else touching on God or religion has since the moment I knew Gabriel would be born and would die. I guess I really, really want that to be true - it hit me with the ring of truth, anyway, and made me think about something I'd pushed aside.
DH saw the box and read the notes this morning (he got home late, having attended the football game at our alma mater with some friends yesterday). He commented on how beautiful it was and so I asked him what I'd been thinking about all along, from the second I laid eyes it. Can we put Gabriel's ashes inside?
He blinked and nodded. We weren't sure they would fit, and it meant opening that box, and taking them out, which neither of us particularly wanted to do. It was a hard moment, to see ourselves what is left of our son, just how little is left and what that is. We both gulped and blinked back tears and I quickly thrust that bag into the blue bag that had previously been in the box and tucked it inside, where it fits perfectly.
I don't know if years ago, someone in Morocco had any idea when they made that little box that it would be bought a woman who would hold onto it for the right time, and that it would make the best final resting place for my tiny son's remains. But it does, and for that I am grateful. A weight I did not know I felt has been lifted.
Thank you all, my hos, for that gift, which is bigger than you can have known when it was sent.