Thursday, June 30, 2011
This dress hung in our closet for months. Haunting us. It is Baby Allegra's burial gown. The gown was handsewn by my mother who later confessed sewing it was the hardest thing she's ever done. It is made from fabric left over from my similarly-styled wedding dress. The pink flower over the heart is actually six smaller flowers I made to represent each member of our family. Cairo and I wore larger versions of this flower to her funeral.
Last week we went to the funeral home to see Baby Allegra for the last time. She neither looked nor smelled as I remembered her, but I needed to hold and dress her once more. When I laid the gown next to Baby Allegra, Mitch quietly commented, "Damn that gown. It sat in our closet for so long, reminding us of the inevitable."
Mitch and I removed her pink tee and gently rubbed Baby Allegra with the pink lotion that makes my babies smell like mine. We dressed her in the gown and snugly wrapped her in a soft, fuzzy blanket. But no matter how tightly I held Baby Allegra, her little round nose remained cold as it pressed against my chest.
After holding her almost non-stop for the 29 days previous, the hardest part of our last visit was putting her down on a large table in a lonely room before walking out.