Henry’s urn

My baby’s semi-final resting place is finally finished, done, and settled at home.
(Final will be with me when it’s my turn to go kaput.)

It was months in the making. I made it in my September 2012 pottery class, clueless as to what it would be used for (at the time, as far as I knew, I had a healthy baby growing inside me). I trimmed it at home, and glazed it in my most recent pottery class.

It took a long time from start to finish, but I finally brought it home yesterday.

Henry has his own little memorial set up in our bedroom, and it’s finally complete. We see him every night before we fall asleep, and every morning when we wake up. It’s wonderful to have him part of our daily lives.

Photo on 13-05-02 at 3.22 PM #2

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Thoughts on a bad cliché

I was doing some pottery in my dusty, cold, dark basement today. My fingers are chilled to the bone, and the poor lighting made me mistake my long-cut bangs as movements in the shadows just outside my field of vision on more than one occasion.

While working on my long neglected petal-themed pots, a small thought popped into my head while thinking of how practice can sometimes help improve your skills.

When bad things happen, some chalk it up to circumstances beyond your control, and put responsibility in the hands of bodies that are higher up on the spiritual prayer chain. But when good things happen, it’s because you worked for it, and not necessarily due to the willful hands of a universal idea of life being fair and balanced.

Maybe this is all just hot air floating serenely out my bum. But it’s a small thought that popped into mind while thinking about my beloved Henry and working on some pots. I write about it now because I’ve been told some fickle but well-intended comments about fate regarding how to heal from my Henry ordeal (the idea of that in itself is fickle!).

The idea leans on things that are “meant to be” – something you should never, EVER say to someone who has lost their child. Or that it was God’s, or some other higher being’s will, or that God or whoever needed their angel back. Talk about hot air being blown out a bum.

I’m starting to believe more and more in the idea of chaos. The universe is overwhelmingly enormous. We’re just tiny little monkeys bumbling on a small blue marble around one relatively small sun in a galaxy which we understand pinpricks about. It’s so bizarre that we’re even here, and miraculous that anyone’s life should be free from strife. So why should my life hold enough importance that the universe, or God, or whoever, will conspire to make sure my life is fair and balanced, and that I follow a clear, fated path that I’m meant to follow?

But I’m probably wrong. I’m just a silly little monkey on a blue marble with a limited world-view and understanding of how life works, trying to occupy my time between now and when my body stops working, and thinking of my little boy whose body stopped working before he could use it much or think about stuff like this, too.

Ode to pottery (coping with clay)

Many years ago, I read a Stone Soup comic in the newspaper where one sister was teasing her younger sibling for doing a connect-the-dots picture. The mom was in the background and overheard the girls’ conversation. The younger sister was saying that life is unpredictable and uncontrollable, but with this connect-the-dots, she knew she was getting a dinosaur at the end – no surprises. Then you see the mom with a thoughtful expression, and in the next frame, the mom is doing a couple of connect-the-dots pictures with a satisfied and relaxed expression on her face. I’m going from memory, so I might be a little off, but it left an impression.

That’s how I feel about pottery. I can’t control the fact that my son was growing with an incurable genetic bone disease, but I can make a cylindrical cup with grooves or straight edges, or I can make a bulbous, round pot, or I can smash everything. To a degree, I’m in control. It’s one of the only things that has helped me feel like I can get a grip in the past month.

I was signed up for a fall pottery course and had taken my first class the week before our first ultrasound (the one where we didn’t get good news). I dropped out of the class, but thankfully, I have my own pottery wheel, so I can finish the pieces that I started.

My pottery wheel in my messy basement “studio”

One of the pieces I made in class without knowing – a simple little pot with a lid – will be Henry’s urn. I made it while I still had him with me, so finishing it up at home and carving in his name was a surreal experience.

Henry’s urn – with the lid tilted to display his name.

Pottery is my escape when I can’t handle whatever is going on at home. My wheel is in the basement, which isn’t a high-traffic area, so I am left in peace, and the whir and spin of the wheel helps me focus on the lump of clay waiting to be transformed. It’s a hobby I’m glad I kept up with.