The Box

IMG_0655In my hall closet there is a box hidden beneath bath towels and bed sheets. Inside the box are scraps of memories of a child I never had the chance to know. A lock of hair, some yellowed snapshots and the black and white ink print of a foot no larger than my thumb. There was a time when I needed to open the box daily to reassure myself that the baby existed, if only for a brief moment in my arms.

I keep the box on a high shelf crowded between old baby clothes my children have long since outgrown and the tattered, smudged drawings from their early kindergarten days. I seldom think about the box until it’s time to reorganize the close to make room for the clutter of new memories. My hand brushes across the worn flaps and I feel the need to open it again, despite the years that separate me from that part of my past. It has been stored in the closet for two decades, yet every time I see it, I am surprised by its presence and what it once meant to me—the hopes and dreams of a young mother carrying twins. I lift the lid slowly and touch the silky wisp of blonde hair inside. Folded neatly underneath the sympathy cards and letters is a small, cotton blanket. My hand automatically smooths the satin edge and slowly I bring it to my cheek, remembering the softness of the little boy it once held.

There was a time when I believed the box was all that I had left of Jason, until one morning when I looked into his twin sister’s eyes and saw his smile. She had just taken her first step around the coffee table and rewarded me with her toothless grin. I cried then for the miracle of having such a special baby, and for the twin boy I’d never see take his first step, play catch with his father, splash in the surf, star in a school play, walk across the stage for his high school diploma or escort his new bride down a church aisle. Although I missed him and often wondered what it would have been like to raise twins, I realized early on how blessed I was to have his twin sister, who brings so much joy into my life.

When I was younger, it was very painful to open Jason’s box. It forced me to face a loss I never understood. Today, it represents more than that; it reminds me of the courage it took to work through the loss—something I never could have accomplished without the love of my family and the power of faith. The box became a part of the healing process in my grief.

Every time I sifted through its contents, I became stronger.

I’ll never forget Jason or the softness of his skin when I cradled him in my arms. Although our time together was brief, he taught me some valuable lessons. Our children are a blessing, and the special moments we share with them are the little miracles in our lives that make up the memories we carry in our hearts when we grow old.

This piece originally appeared on Menopausal Mother 



Marcia Kester Doyle is the author of the humor book, Who Stole My Spandex? and the voice behind the popular midlife blog, Menopausal Mother. Her work has been featured on The Huffington Post, Scary Mommy, BlogHer, The Mid, BLUNTmoms, In The Powder Room, and Midlife Boulevard, among others. Marcia lives in sunny south Florida with her husband and four children. Send her a jar of Nutella and she’ll be your best friend. Find her on Facebook and Twitter.


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27 thoughts on “The Box

  1. Beth Reply

    I can’t imagine the feeling of loss ever going away completely. So sorry you had to and continue to experience it.

  2. Nichole aka CuppaGeek Reply

    What an amazingly heart felt telling of such a personal emotional story. I give you kudos for understanding your grief and emotions you go thru but for also finding a silver lining at the end of the day. I’m so sorry for your loss but what an encouraging story for others. Thank you for this. The story has touched by heart and I’m sure others as well.

  3. Seana Turner Reply

    Wow – very powerful. I’m so sorry for your loss of your precious son. Your story is an encouragement… of the fact that we can endure difficulties and come out on the other end. Thanks for sharing, Marcia!

  4. Rena McDaniel Reply

    Thank you for writing about something that must have been so hard to go through and even harder still to write about your experiences. Beautiful, heartbreaking story Marcia.

  5. Sara Strand Reply

    Love this. I have the ultrasound of the baby I miscarried last June. I still look at it and wonder what if. I became pregnant two months after my miscarriage and I had Penelope this April. But it’s still weird to look at her and think, if I had had that baby, I would haven’t had Penelope. Not sure how I feel about that yet.

  6. Sarah Noel Reply

    This was wonderfully written – to a point I didn’t want to comment and ruin the scene your words painted. Thank you for sharing such a personal story. It made me get teary-eyed thinking of the possibility of losing a baby.

    Sarah Noel |

  7. Shann Eva Reply

    This is such a beautiful and heartbreaking post. I am so sorry for the loss of your son. You will always be the mother of twins. Thank you for sharing.

  8. Cassie Reply

    Thanks for sharing such a touching story. I want you to know, as a labor and delivery nurse, those boxes are just as hard for us. But it is nice to know that they actually help. Sorry for your loss and thanks again for sharing.

    • Marcia @ Menopausal Mother Reply

      My labor & delivery nurses were AMAZING, as were the NICU nurses. So kind and caring. The entire hospital staff was so wonderful about it—they helped me more than I can say. You have an incredible job, Cassie–you see the best and I’m sure sometimes the worst, and I know those times are hard on you, too. The patients are lucky to have such a kind and compassionate nurse as you!

  9. Jen Reply

    Blessings upon you. I’m an sorry for the loss of your son but I’m glad that there is peace & comfort now.

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