We took some time this evening as the sun was setting to "plant the baby" in Jenna's words. She has asked a few times why we can't keep it, why we're putting it in the ground; we've told her that it's only a body left and the part that made it alive has gone, that the body will smell funny and be not-nice if we keep it with us, but if we bury it it will turn into soil and make the plants grow well. Before we went out, Jenna wanted to write the baby a letter, to put in the ground with it. I suggested earlier that she could but she obviously really liked the idea and wanted to get crayons to write for herself and draw kisses, on pretty baby theme collage paper.
Dear baby, I'm really sad that you died but it's OK. I love you very much. I was just talking to you and I hope you heard me and felt me patting you. I'll see you one day, baby. Love from Jenna.
Martin dug the hole, tears on his face, and Jenna "helped" by holding the rose bush and picking flowers to put near the baby, herding Morgan around and showing us how high she can throw a football. The girls had a lit candle each - Morgan first tried the experiment of poking it and told me it was hot, then she went to put it in her mouth and I said "very hot, fuff" like we would for food that would burn her. She gave it back to me still lit, Jenna blew hers out then so Morgan lent forwards and Jenna showed her how to blow them out again. Then Morgan indicated to light them both (waving them at me with an intent expression) and blew both out when I did. Jenna said a little prayer saying that she was sad about the baby and she hoped it was safe and happy, and then patted and kissed the box before it was buried and the rose planted on top.
We all cried a bit then, with Morgan running up and down the garden with the unlit candles. The girls played for a minute or two, and we got everyone inside for bedtime drinks, stories and hugs. It has been another long day, but again it feels good to find another little ritual, another marker to place on part of my life, something real and tangent to pin down the pain and hold it here.