Last summer, I found a cute LBD (little black dress) that was perfect to cover my growing baby bump, but was actually a regular, not maternity, dress. I loved it because I could wear it while preggo, but knew it would be great for my non-pregnant self, too. It became a regular part of my wardroble during the hot summer.
On July 30th, the day for my big ultrasound, my husband and I would meet at the doctor's office and I thought we'd go grab lunch afterward. I wanted to look cute. I put on the LBD. If you're a regular reader here, you know that day went horribly wrong. Instead of going out to lunch to celebrate our healthy boy, we went to the hospital. And our lives haven't looked the same since.
After we came home from the hospital, the LBD got shoved into the back of the closet. Every time I saw it as I looked for some other item of clothing, it was like an arrow to the heart. All I could think of was, "that's what I wore the day I found out Matthew was dead." I was so angry at the LBD. Like it had anything to do with it.
Last week, I looked at the LBD. It's a really cute dress. I don't have many dresses and I was in the mood to look cute. I found myself wishing that I hadn't worn it to the doctor's office that day, so that it wouldn't be ruined. And yet, I didn't want to get rid of it.
Part of my journey has been to learn to reframe my experience of Matthew. I lost a lot, but I gained more. I realized that the LBD was now an opportunity I could continue to allow the dress to represent the fact that Matthew died. I could continue to let it represent my hurt, anger, and disappointment.
Or, I could shift my perspective. I could allow the dress to remind me that Matthew was once alive. I could embrace it as a symbol that he was here, if even for too short a time.
And so, I wore the dress. It was a hard choice to make. But, I found, as the day went on, my shift of perspective was working. I looked at the dress and was reminded of how much I love my son. I began to feel like the dress was a hug from Heaven, as though the softness of the cotton was love.
I'm keeping the dress. I will wear it again to remind myself how much Matthew means to me and to proudly proclaim to the world that he is loved and not forgotten.