Last night, DH and I watched After the Wedding, a deeply moving Danish film that brought hot tears to my eyes. It felt pretty damn good to get so emotional over fiction for a change.
Later in bed, still emotional, I started crying again and a scene from another movie popped into my head. Have you seen Fearless, with Jeff Bridges, Rosie Perez, and Isabella Rossellini? It was the scene where Rosie Perez tells Jeff Bridges, I’m not a ghost anymore… I’m back. I want to try living on Planet Earth for a while.
As I explained to DH, it feels like I am beginning to grieve the process as a whole, instead of living from one nightmarish moment to the next. Enough time has passed that I am beginning to be able to look in retrospect. I gaze at my collection of pregnancy tests and ultrasound pictures and remind myself, Yes, I really was pregnant. When I look at my thriving peace lily, I vividly remember burying my bean in its earth two days before my birthday, the experience has a new significance. I understand anew the enormity of what happened. When I smell the soapy ozone blue of the Crabtree & Evelyn La Source shower gel that was gifted to me, I relive the confusing days and weeks after I was told it was a missed miscarriage.
Last night’s bout of crying was triggered by the smell of a cream I applied to my hands — a small tin of blended cocoa butter and lavender that I had concocted early in my pregnancy — and was immediately transported to happier times.
I was in the health & beauty section of Sprouts, newly pregnant and floating blissfully down the aisle in search of a virgin butter. I have sensitive skin and limit what I put on it or in my body (Rule #1: if I don’t know what it is or can’t pronounce it, I won’t ingest it). I’d already seen the Environmental Working Group’s Ten Americans, and wanted to do everything I could to limit my unborn child’s exposure to environmental toxins. I couldn’t decide between fair trade shea (my usual favourite) or cocoa butter, but settled on the latter because it hadn’t been processed and was organic.
When I got home I discovered the cocoa butter was rock hard and needed to be blended. I set about melting it in the microwave, and added lavender oil, and the remains of a calendula salve I bought from JuniperSeed Mercantile on Etsy. I proudly poured the grainy mixture into a mason jar, and the surplus into the salve’s tin. I was a proud mama-to-be, already caring for my child. I was so content. I unapologetically embraced my new-found crunchiness.
Back then, the chocolatey nuttiness mixed with the sweet camphor of the lavender reminded me of a posh truffle. These days it reminds me of being pregnant, feeling the happiest I’ve ever been, and already fiercely protective of my little bean.
Soon, I will finish my memory box, a book that I will hollow out to hold my ultrasound photos, pregnancy tests, and other reminders of my bean. I think I will add the unfinished tin of homemade lavender cocoa butter salve. Because this evening, although its perfume brings fresh tears, they are healing tears, and belong to a woman who is closing one chapter as she begins the next.