PunkconformityLife, history, and the pursuit of knitting.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Eva Elizabeth

There are a few things that all the knowledge and faith in the world can't prepare you to deal with, and losing a baby is one of them. On April 8, 2009, our little bitty Evie-face, aged twenty months, died of complications from leukemia. Putting it that way makes it such a stark, cold fact, an emotional void, when in fact there's so much more tied up with it than just the facts of what happened and why. There's months of fear and prayer and hope, of the elation when they said she was in remission, of worry when she didn't seem to be improving, and then certainty that putting her on the ECMO machine (for more info) would give her the time to get better, because our little girl was such a fighter. And then the misery that came when they said her lungs weren't improving, and there wasn't anything more they could do. I will never know how her mom made the choice to take her off the machines, and held her while she left us. I can't imagine how painful that must have been.

Saying goodbye to someone you loved that much is never easy, but I think it's that much harder when they're so young, and you think about all the things they didn't get to do, all the fun they never got to have, and the information they never got to learn. I never truly understood the purpose of those gorgeous, fancy layettes that nineteenth-century babies were so often buried in until now. Because making something for a dying child is, in many ways, a cathartic process. It lets you put all your love and good memories into a piece of fabric that you know they will have with them forever. It is the last gift you can give them, and you are wrapping them up in something that has your hopes and dreams for them woven into every stitch. Though you can't go with them, this piece of clothing can, and it represents your desire to stay with them and keep them safe forever. And it is a process, too, because as you knit you're having to come to terms with what is happening to your baby, and what it means to your life. I'm not saying that as you knit the last stitch you somehow miraculously find acceptance and closure - that's not possible in a situation like this, not even remotely. But you do begin to deal with the idea that you're not going to be able to be with the child and keep it safe, and you spend so much time thinking about your love for them and all the good memories you have of them that it maybe hurts a tiny bit less, knowing that you've at least been able to do this much for them when you couldn't do anything more.

So basically all I can say, the only thing that really needs to be said, is we love you, Evie Liz, and we miss you very much.


June 20, 2009 at 6:03 PM

I'm making the drops sweater that you made for Evie. I'm making it for Mari, my 2 month old daughter. I read your project notes on Ravelry, our virtual knitting circle. I'm very sorry for your loss.

I am feeling extraordinarily lucky to have Mari after reading this post. I will probably squeeze Mari a little bit tighter today, and maybe not dwell on all the work that comes with meeting her needs, so much today. I'll put my needles down a little bit sooner when she cries to be held. I just had to write and say thank you for sharing Evie's story.

Through tears, Jamie. (hopelovepeace =rav ID)

April 24, 2010 at 10:55 PM

I'm so sorry for your loss.
This post was beautifully written and tugged at my heart.
Thank you for your comment on my blog. I love talking about my Evie. She continues to have a strong impact on me even though she isn't physically here.
Yes, you are right, faith is essential to healing. And what a gift it is to know both of us will have our little Evie's again. Thinking about it makes my heart smile!
Thank you again!

April 3, 2011 at 12:12 PM

My darling girl, your way with words never ceases to amaze me. It is almost two years now since we sent Evie back to God and I was reading this piece as a sort of memoriam. I'm struck again by your maturity in facing such a difficult situation and seeing a bigger picture. I just want to tell you thank you for writing this and let you know it is such a privilege to have you as a daughter. All my love, MIM