We had family pictures taken on Wednesday. I have gone round and round on how I wanted to handle them, how I felt about them, how I wanted to do them, everything surrounding them basically.
When we got there I felt awkward and uncertain and on the brink of tears. We walked to the location carrying a picture of our baby and our capes. There was no baby in our arms, no cords and tubes and lines to juggle, no bags to swap from shoulder to shoulder, no O2 tank to keep from squealing, no shirt to pull down over the tubies, no glasses to push back up his tiny nose. Nothing but a flat pictures. It was heartbreaking.
We started with Eli's capes. When I was pregnant we had family pictures taken in the fall. The photographer captured a picture of us all walking away holding hands. This is what we needed to do again. The first time Eli was in my womb, the second time his capes fluttering along behind us as my baby lays in his coffin 2 1/2 hrs away.
We moved on to family pictures holding Eli's picture, his capes blowing in the breeze behind us. It seems so unreal. Not a minute goes by that I don't think about holding my baby, and what I would give for one more cuddle.
As we went thru the session the picture and capes were put away and we transformed into a family of 6. The first few pics felt so wrong, the guilt poured over me. This isn't how we are, this isn't our family. We aren't 6, we are 7.
As we got going we relaxed and smiled and played. We climbed bridges, climbed trees, ran thru fields, practiced walking in straight lines. Smashed feet so bad they went numb, got cut by a giant tree, climbed picnic tables, threw leaves, told jokes, and so much more. By the time it was done we had enjoyed ourselves surprisingly.
But the emptiness was there, the loneliness, the heartache.
For almost 4 years my life revolved around keeping my tiny man alive and as healthy as I possibly could. Now here I sit having no clue who I am, as I WAS Eli. Eli is gone and I now feel like I'm still trying to figure out how to live for Eli, how to keep Eli alive. I'm not living and I'm not dead. It's a very strange limbo.
I have now seen 2 sneaks from our photo shoot and I see us a family of 7 with a deep deep hole in the midst of us, where our 7th member is missing. Eli was our light, our heart, our soul. He was a pure beautiful soul that lit our family and the world up with his smile.
I can't imagine having done these pictures in any other situation. It was perfect. Our photographer is a friend I have known for 8 years, who also lost her mom a month before we lost our little guy. She got it, respected it, understood it. The location was amazing. The leaves were off the trees and covering the bridge. It was a bit cloudy. The worn covered bridge. The wide open fields. The huge overwhelming old tree. The only thing that could have been any better would have been my baby in our arms.
Here are 2 of the sneaks. I hope you love them as much as we do. More to come!