Sunday, November 27, 2011

Mourning Clothes

Well, it's been awhile.

It's not that I haven't had things to say, it just seems to take a lot of energy to express them sometimes. So I think of an entire post in my head, and then by the time I want to type it, my motivation is gone.

I face this Christmas with an odd mix of anticipation and intense sadness. I've seen some Christmas lights, heard some Christmas songs, and seen some decorations, and they make me sad. But I also still love them. So it appears that my ridiculous love for Christmas is still there, despite the heartbreak I feel at facing this first Christmas without my baby girl.

I have decided to do a tree for Georgiana. My plan is to do this every year I am still on this earth to honor our girl. I bought a white one, with pink lights, and pretty much just bought any ornament that I felt had some connection to her for me. Some were obvious picks--owls and butterflies in the colors of her nursery. Others I'm not really sure why I chose them--a hot pink deer? Who knows, but it made me think of her. My husband and I both love animals. We think she would have grown up loving them too. Maybe that's why. I really felt in so many ways that I knew her, that I knew what she would have been like. I'll post pictures of her tree soon.

So onto the title of this post. Mourning clothes. I have always admired the way traditional Jews mourn their loved ones. They truly shut their houses down to grieve, to create "a time to mourn." After Georgie died, I had maternity clothes and a few items I had bought to wear after (presumably) we were all home from the hospital. I couldn't bear to look at any of it, let alone put it on my grieving, defeated body.

Our wonderful families did many things for us in those first few weeks, and one of those things was my grandmother going to the mall to buy me some soft, stretchy items, that also had some fashion, to wear in those horrible days following the most horrible day/night of my life.

I have worn them ever since. Not all the time, but most of them have become a regular part of my wardrobe. Many times, especially in the last couple of months, I have thought to myself that I should let them go, that it's actually not doing me any good to keep wearing them.

I finally decided this weekend that I'm going to box them up before Christmas and give them away. In a sense, the mourning clothes are at an end for me. I have started to realize that the mourning really does not end. It lessens and begins to live alongside other things, like tiny glimmers of hope and life moving on, and the intense, fierce love that remains inside of me for my daughter. But the clothes, and their connection to that time, need to be boxed up and given to someone else, for my sake. Hopefully I'll get a few new items for Christmas.

The same goes for most of my maternity clothes from my time with Georgie. I have about 3 items I'd like to keep with her things, and the rest I've decided need to go to someone who needs them more than me. I will never wear them again, even with future babies, and they really aren't doing any good in a box.

Now, onto something beautiful and precious to me: Georgiana's birth announcement.

I struggled a lot with this the last few months, whether or not to do an announcement. I wasn't sure how to do it that wouldn't be overwhelmingly sad. I didn't know if it was fair to send that kind of announcement, uninvited, to people. But the more I thought about it, the more I thought, I would have done this anyway, if she had lived. It became very important to me to have one for her, but it was a very very tough decision for me.

A wonderful friend of mine offered to make them. I have known she and her husband for several years now, and they are both so special to Dave and me. She was so excited when she found out Dave and I were going to have Georgiana. She has mourned with me, and has loved me and been such an incredible friend throughout this whole, awful year. She is a very talented graphic designer, artist, and she made these for me, and refused to let me pay her.

She has a great company that I'll tell you all about soon when she gets her website going. It is very special to me because she has a baby shower invitation based off the one she created for Georgiana's shower. All the proceeds from any purchase of that invitation will go to Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep. I know that will really hit home for so many of you BLMs, how she has reached out and made our grief and what is important to us part of her business.

I want you all to see this, because many of you won't receive one in the mail. So without further ado, a true piece of heavenly grace:


  1. The announcement is beautiful & the tree sounds like a wonderful way to honor her.

  2. That announcement really is beautiful. I have to say, that although she is no longer here, she looks incredibly peaceful in her photos. I think the same of my Andrew.

    I did not know of this mourning clothes tradition, but I can really relate. There were also clothes that I wore during Andrew's pregnancy that I find sacred now after his birth. Some non-pregnancy clothes I just could not bring myself to wear for the time because they were worn at a happier time and place when our son was still with us. I've blogged about that before, but it's not exactly the same as the mourning clothes you've donned.

    Hoping you are finding peace out of your mourning clothes-- while I know still very much missing beautiful Georgiana.

  3. BEAUTIFUL birth announcement! I'm proud of you for doing it!

    I had an Indian friend at work when I returned after losing Caroline. She was stunned that I was "celebrating" Thanksgiving and Christmas that year (Caroline passed at the end of October). In her culture, if you're grieving, you don't celebrate holidays or festivals. I was envious of her culture in that moment, but knew that still gathering with family and everything was going to be good for me. I'm glad that you're at a place where you want to give away your mourning clothes. I'm glad that you're finding that your grief is living alongside other things, instead of overshadowing everything.

    I'm proud of you, strong mama!

    Love, hugs, and prayers!

  4. I was just checking back in and so glad I did - those announcements are stunning. Thank you for sharing. Wishing you lots of peace this holiday season.

  5. This was our first Christmas without our daughter as well, and I too wished I could just shut myself in and forget about celebrating this year. What a conflict of emotions. The birth announcements are beautiful and a wonderful tribute to your precious baby girl. Blessings to you as you continue down this path of healing.

  6. I'm not sure how I missed this post but I just have to tell you that her announcements are BEAUTIFUL! She looks like a sleeping angel ♥