I was fortunate enough to attend a reception at the Mulberry Art Studios this weekend. The gallery was showing art work and writing by grieving families who have lost a baby. The exhibit was called Five and was put together by the Sweet Pea Project which is an amazing local nonprofit started by Stephanie Cole who is an artist, author, but most importantly a mother.
My first baby loss Momma friend, Michelle attended with me. We had lunch first, then drove to the studio together. It was a gorgeous old (cold) building. We went upstairs and viewed the art work and writings with tears in our eyes for our sweet babies. One of the most striking parts was all the candles lining the window sills with the names of babies lost written on them. I read every name.
Before the poetry reading started, I told Michelle I had to find a bathroom. We searched upstairs then decided to head back down to ask the people who checked our coats. A woman told us the bathroom was down a long hallway and she went back with us to turn the lights on for us. So, before I went into the bathroom, as I was walking down the hall with Michelle behind me, the lights in the bathroom came on. I stopped in my tracks as I looked in.
I turned around to Michelle behind me with a look of wonder on my face and she said, "Hi, Mommy." Because I've always thought and said when I see or hear violets in a random setting it is my baby saying hello to me. But this was not random. This was V being present when I was stepping out in a daring way to honor her, to celebrate her, to intentionally mourn her. And I think she was welcoming me, proud of me, and showing me that I should be there all at the same time.
The whole bathrooms decor was violets. The soap dispenser, the wall hangings. Every detail. I was surrounded by here in this place where I had come to specifically think about her. I was amazed.
We went back up to the gallery for the poetry reading where I tried not to cry too loudly. We lit candles for V and R and added them to the window sill. We met some wonderful, inspiring mothers and talked about our babies and cried and hugged and nodded with the unique understanding that filled the room.
It was perfect. And she was there.