I have two little hats. One is pink, the other is white. These hats are incredibly tiny, and were knitted by hand by strangers. I came home from a hospital in the coldest part of winter with only these hats as reminders of a life I couldn't have.
A nurse at the hospital kept talking about clothes, outfits, and I didn't understand what she meant. For whom? What would be the point? And then I got to dress my dead child in clothes lovingly made, again, by strangers. At the time meaningless outfits, nothing I would have chosen for her. But it was all we had. And for them I was grateful. Grateful my little girl could wear a little dress, a frilly hat, something pink. If only once.
So when it was time to leave, and we had to say goodbye and leave her there, I took these things. These clothes, the hats. Things that touched her, held her, as I did too. They are all we have left.
Certainly there are pictures, from that day and from the ultrasounds. She was even captured on disc, when she was alive inside me. Her footprints in clay, her footprints in ink. All reminders that she was here, once. But the mind has a way of disremembering, of thinking, "Was that even ever real?" and "That child, she was mine? She was here?" It can all be brushed away as imagination.
But for the hats. One, under my pillow, and the memory of her little face framed by its edges. The other, with pieces of her hair caught in the knitting. Even though they don't smell like her, or of anything, she was in them. I could take the hair to some smart person who could figure out that she came from me, from us. That she was, indeed, here.
I am grateful for these hats, for they are all I get.