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The Shower: Afton’s Story, Part Seven

The Shower: Afton’s Story, Part Seven

This post is part of a ten-post series I’m sharing about the life and loss of our son, Afton. Click here to read more of Afton’s story.

The Shower: Afton’s Story, Part Seven

I think it was on Sunday, the day we lost Afton, that my nurses gently suggested I take a shower. I’d been on bedrest, unshowered, for five days. 😳 I knew it was necessary but the idea of it made me so heartsick.

Soap, water. Getting clean. Leaving him behind. No, no, no, this is all wrong.

That shower is one of my most vividly painful and brave memories of January 1, 2017: me, sitting on a chair in the shower, weak from surgery, and Bjork sitting just outside the shower because it was too emotionally scary for me to do alone. We breathed in the steam and wept and took that first step towards our new normal. Towards life after Afton.

I started easy: my feet. Then my legs. My arms, my belly, my face. As I got closer to my chest, that sacred place right over my heart where Afton had taken his last breath, the knot in my stomach tightened. “He’s deeper than my skin,” I cried over and over and over. We both nodded, pretending to be brave as I sprayed hot water over the spot where Afton had been snuggled in so close, my first and last physical touch point with my living baby boy.

After I showered, a grief counselor knocked on the door. She sat on the edge of my bed and cried with us. Then she suggested something awesome: picking a smell for Afton. She told us to choose a scent that we could put on his tiny body and clothes that we would remember as “his smell,” even after ten thousand more showers.

The day before he was buried, our sweet Afton got a royal lavender treatment – candles, soap, lotion, oil, the works. He was tucked into his casket smelling like peaceful lavender, mom and dad’s kisses, and grandma’s blanket, complete with a few stray Sage hairs between the yarn.

It’s been 25 days since that shower, and it’s almost to the point where the scent of my lavender lotion is starting to catch me off guard. And it’s so amazing. I think: oh, there he is again! 💙 My little Afton, almost as close as skin on skin.

You’re deeper than my skin, sweet baby. All the showers in the world could never wash you off.

Afton's Story
I’m sharing more about life with and after Afton on my personal Instagram account. I’d love to have you follow along here.

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60 Comments

  1. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Katie

    Your words are very powerful, thank you so being brave enough to share. They take me back to when my son Evan arrived a little too early on 1st January 2015. It does get a little easier, promise x

  2. Pinch of Yum Logo

    You are so strong for sharing this and your beautiful love for Afton with the world. May you forever feel his sweet love.

  3. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Kelli

    Oh how my heart goes out to you and your family. We know your pain. My husband and I lost our first born as well. He came into this world on December 26th 1982 and passed away 4 days later. Though so much time has passed he will never be forgotten. I shed tears for you as I read your beautiful story and may you find comfort in knowing you will forever have and always sense your guardian angel. 🙂

    1. Pinch of Yum Logo

      Thank you Kelli. I’m so sorry for the heartbreak of losing your sweet baby. Thank you for the comment and sharing the burden with us.

  4. Pinch of Yum Logo

    Thank you for once again for reminding me that every life is a miracle. And you will see your baby in heaven again. As I continue to read this story, I just keep reminding myself that His ways aren’t my ways, but they are always good. As much as I try to understand how events like this can be in His will, it’s a daily struggle for me. Hugs and continued prayers from our family!

  5. Pinch of Yum Logo

    My heart aches for you. You’ve done so much to make the world a better and kinder place, and even in the midst of your greatest heartbreak, you continue to share your love and light with others. Thank your for letting all of us grieve with you, and for reminding me to hug my loved ones a little tighter.

  6. Pinch of Yum Logo
    rebecca

    Wow. Each of these essays has been powerful, but this one is absolutely beautiful. What an amazing and creative thing for the counselor to recommend. Sense of smell can bring back such powerful memories, and I’m so glad you found this special way to remember Afton. And of course, he is more than skin deep. Sending you all love.

  7. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Peggy

    Your posts about your son Afton are powerful and amazing. So many people are afraid of death and unable to fully give themselves as part of the process. Yours and Bjork’s ability to involve yourselves fully and then share such a personal process is a big part of your healing and a permanent memorial to Afton.
    The scent memory for an infant is such a beautiful idea – I know that when my mom passed, one of the things I kept was an almost empty bottle of her daily perfume. I can’t wear it, but when I smell it I am filled with the memory of her.
    May Afton’s memory be eternal…….

    1. Pinch of Yum Logo
      Julie

      I did the same when my fiance passed. It’s been 14 years and I still have the bottle though I smell it very infrequently now.

  8. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Lakey

    When my first daughter was born, I was 17. Too young to care for her the way I wanted to be able to. I gave her up for adoption, her parents were there for the birth. I couldn’t bring myself to even look at her when she was born, I was afraid I would love her too much to be able to do the right thing. The day after they took her from the hospital I finally stepped into the shower. Your story today took me back to that moment. And while I know the pain can never touch what you felt (I have had two miscarriages as well and they also do not compare), it still took me back. To that feeling of emptiness, of finally feeling truly alone in the shower. My heart aches for you. My thoughts are with you and your family today. May healing find you.

  9. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Sue

    I have been reading every post you have written about your sweet little boy. My heart aches for you and your family. I lost 2 precious ones as well, and I am not sure that you ever fully loose the pain of the loss…but in time peace begins to fill the hurt. You and your family are in my prayers. May you be blessed.

  10. Pinch of Yum Logo

    I cry with every Afton post. I wish all of our love and prayers could make this easier for you. We associate with smell. How wonderful that the grief counselor could give you something to hold on to — lavender.

  11. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Yana

    Lindsay, you are strong! Thank you for sharing this with all of us. I cry every time i read the story. Stay strong, sweetheart! xox

  12. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Bonnie

    Words cannot convey how touched I am by your words. Afton has left a lasting impression upon us all, because you’ve been able to share with us ‘his-story’, ‘your story’. The story of the most loving parents a baby boy could have. The story of the most amazing Baby Boy, Afton, who will live on forever in your hearts, and now, ours too. Lavender, such a comforting, soothing, scent. Thank you so much. God Bless you for sharing this Bitter-Sweet chapter of your lives with us. May you feel and smell Afton’s presence with you always. Deeper than your skin. Amen.

  13. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Mari

    I have been profoundly interested in your story. When you are ready, I think you should send it in to be published. It would help so many that have experienced a loss like yours. Prayers and blessings your way for you and yours.

  14. Pinch of Yum Logo
    KM

    You are such a wonderful writer and the simple way you articulate the tremendously emotional and private moments and feelings you have experienced is such an insightful window into your grief. Thanks for sharing. Reading your series has brought tears to my eyes each time and makes me go home and hug my kids even tighter at night. Bless you!

  15. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Becky

    My heart is just breaking for you and your husband reading your story! I pray that the both of you have the endurance needed to get through this pain and deep disappointment!
    I know from experience that the sadness never truly goes away but it does get easier only with time. Blessings to the both of you during this difficult chapter in your lives.

  16. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Melissa

    I sit with tears streaming down my face as I type this. I haven’t on line much and just read your 7 beautiful entries about Afton and what you and your husband and family have been through. I admire your strength and profound love for your sweet boy in sharing your story. You are giving life to Afton by writing such heartfelt posts that when read, by others like me, make us feel deeply for your sweet angel and the precious time you had with him. My heart aches for you. Thank you for sharing such beautiful moments, words and Afton with us.

  17. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Huma Farid

    I am so very sorry for your loss. Thank you for being so brave and sharing your story.

  18. Pinch of Yum Logo

    Oh Lindsay. This is so powerful. My prayers go to you and your family every single day. Prayer is such a powerful tool. Those scents, those memories, the last moments. You will never forget them. But I pray the pain eases and you are surrounded in His love, his arms of comfort and peace. There are no words that can make it better, but God’s love makes healing possible.

  19. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Kris

    My heart just breaks for you. Thank you for sharing your story and the beauty of your son’s life with us.