I’ll never forget the day I looked in our freezer and decided it was time.
It was quite literally overflowing with breast milk. Milk my body had produced for the baby no longer living.
There was this process of “undoing” around our home after Audrey passed. It started with diapers. I gave these away to people in my life with baby girls who could use them right away. Slowly, it became too much to walk by a closed door to a fully furnished nursery. The crib came down and still to this day, provides a sound place for our beautiful niece to sleep.
The offers from family and friends to help do these unfathomable tasks after she passed were endless and sincere. But I knew there would be a healing that would come with physically and emotionally taking care of putting her things to rest. Little by little, as my heart and mind could allow, I came to terms with our reality and intentionally gave new life to the things she would not need.
The very last was the milk…hundreds of ounces of it. It took up residence in our freezer. In my mind, it not longer held purpose, yet it was packed full of meaning.
Does it sound strange for me to say that throwing it away seemed disrespectful? When she was alive, it was just as important to Audrey, or really more so, as diapers, clothing and even a crib. And I made it for her. I worked hard to produce this for her. To simply dispose of the frozen milk wasn’t right.
I was desperate for Audrey’s life to have purpose. And so her milk would too.
I contacted several professionals to discuss my options and thankfully, our neighbor and friend was an OB/GYN who guided me in the steps to donate the milk to another baby in need.
Within minutes, or maybe it was seconds, of posting the offer of milk, nine different women requested it. I considered, “How in the world do I choose?”
I remember thinking about God. I wondered if He ever thought, “How do I choose?” What were the criteria for babies who got Heaven early? As per usual, my mind spun into a series of wondering and overthinking. I may never get an answer to that question and that’s just okay. I have found peace in the simplicity of trust.
My sister-in-love and I still giggle about the day the recipients came to pick up the milk. I won’t go into detail but let’s just say it wasn’t quite the picturesque moment I had imagined. A situation I thought would be crowded with tears was just that…only they were the laughing kind.
It was the first time I really laughed after Audrey was gone. I needed that. I’ll never regret choosing to donate what was intended for my daughter. Or was it?
I had milk and no baby. She had a baby and no milk. Simple.
Once the milk was gone, I opened the freezer door. It seemed darker somehow. The emptiness mirrored my heart in that particular moment.
But then I realized, I got my freezer back. Ounce by ounce, it had eventually become overtaken by milk. There was no more room for anything else and only once it was all gone did I recognize this.
This was symbolic to me. When Audrey died, there were hours and days that I felt like a hollow shell. She overwhelmed my emotions, my thoughts, my everything really. When she and her things were gone, I realized just how much space she held. A lot. I’m okay with that. I don’t regret that.
And when it came time to fill the void she left, I remembered Daniel 3:18, “…but if not, He is still good.”
Love + Hugs, R