April 1, 2009

Not so long after Teddy died in my arms, one of the nurses and my mom took his body away to be washed and dressed.  Mom went back to our room at the Ronald McDonald House to pick up the pajamas N’s sister had given us way back when we thought everything was  fine.  I loved those pajamas – the soft white shirt, with blue moons and stars on it and little snaps down the front,with blue cuffs, and the matching pants, also with snaps.  I remember opening the package from my SIL, holding them up, giddy with happiness and amazed at how small babies were.

I’d washed them before we left for Portland, washed them carefully, ran them through the rinse cycle twice, and line-dried them, so there wouldn’t be soap or softener residue on them.  When I washed them I knew we had a fight on our hands, but I was so hopeful that he’d get to wear them, to grow into them.

They were too big for him, but I wanted him to get to wear them anyway.  I thought they’d go with him, those pajamas.  Which is to say, I didn’t know that the people at the funeral home would undress my boy before they cremated him and give his clothes back to us in the plastic bag filled with his effects.  It still feels wrong to me, somehow, that they do that.

We have other baby clothes and blankets, a car seat, things that might be used by another child some day.  But no one else will wear those pajamas.  They’re in one of Teddy’s memory boxes, folded neatly, folded small, hard for me to look at, another reminder of how much I didn’t know and of what I wish I’d never had to learn.

I don’t know why I’ve been thinking about those baby clothes today, but maybe it’s that I’ve never talked about it before, this strange and sad little surprise that came to us in the midst of so many bigger, sadder surprises.  Maybe if I put down some words about it here it won’t follow me around so much, maybe I can start to lay that tiny sadness to rest.


  1. It is always the little things than can set us off. Hope was undressed for her autopsy then redressed in clothes my mother gave the funeral home, and we wanted her first outfit back, the one Daddy dressed her in after her first (and only) bath, but for some unknown reason, they were placed in the coffin with her and are now buried with her. I would so love to have that little aqua jumpsuit. I like to think it would have still had her smell on it. I think of that little outfit a lot. I have two of them, and I’m not sure I could dress any future chidren in the other one for the same reasons you mention.

  2. ((hugs))
    That is so weird though… Ferdinand was cremated in what I dressed him in.
    thinking of you, sweet mommy.

  3. I know those tiny sadnesses well, feeling them a lot write now. I’m glad you shared about Teddy’s pajamas. I’m sorry he didn’t get to grow into them too…

  4. The clothes were so important to me too. 😦

  5. So much of what I write is for the same reason…somehow when I write and share it with all of you, it’s one less thing I’m carrying around, or at least the load feels a little lighter. Sigh. Ezra was buried in a special outfit that was a gift from one of my dear friends – it was newborn sized and too big on him. I wish Teddy had grown into those PJs too.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: