Louie and I have never spent a night away from Calvin’s ashes. When we visit family for a weekend, we bring his urn, his main stuffed animals, his memory box, and his journal. We carry all of these things in a canvas bag – the same bag we used to bring his urn to the funeral home when we went to pick up his ashes (it was raining that day).
There’s a corner in Louie’s bedroom at his parents’ house that belongs to Calvin. In this space, we keep a framed picture of him, a “Filipino Phoenix” from his Uncle Micah’s trip to the Philippines, my crying bear bank, my praying Precious Moments doll, and Louie’s triceratops figurine. When we visit Vallejo, this is where we place Calvin’s urn and the things we bring.
Sometimes, we bring his “travel bag” when we visit my side – especially when we come straight from San Francisco or are on our way back. Though my nieces and nephews never got to meet him, they know Calvin and continue to remember him. They know that the small blue penguin (Piplup from Pokemon) is named Pickles. They recognize the big penguin (Anton), the hippo (Genevieve), the small duckling (Quackly), and the little Domo doll (Monster). My oldest niece – she’s seven – will sometimes ask to see Calvin’s “sand.” When we don’t bring the Domo doll, my four-year-old nephew will ask, Where’s Monster? My two-year-old niece knows that my ultrasound pendant is “Calvie” and looks for it almost every time I see her.
We came to Vallejo this weekend to celebrate birthdays at my sister’s. We went straight from San Francisco to her house and brought Calvin’s things down with us. My sister’s friend and her son were in town visiting. My niece and nephew started pulling out Calvin’s toys to play with them. When the boy called Pickles “Piplup,” my nephew was quick to correct him: His name is PICKLES! (My nephew, by the way, is a huge Pokemon fan, and was the one who informed me and Louie that Pickles was actually a Piplup.) After most of the dolls were out of the bag, I saw my niece look at Calvin’s memory box for a few seconds. Then she turned to the boy:
You know why they have all this stuff?
It’s because they had two babies, and this is they’re stuff. But they died. Isn’t that sad? The boy’s name is Calvin, and the girl’s name is Rainbow.