We picked up Maddie’s urn today. Mike and I were brought to a small room on the second floor of the mortuary, and then left alone to wait for someone from “internment.” The door didn’t close. I could hear a mom trying to entertain her toddler in the hall. He kept saying, “mama, mama.” I remembered that Maddie never called me Mama. She had other words for me (Da Doo was her favorite), but I couldn’t wait to hear her sweet voice say “mama.”

A man brought in her urn swathed in a velvet bag. The man might have said something but I was too focused on staring at the fibers of the bag. He unwrapped her urn and showed us where her name was typed on the bottom. Madeline Alice Spohr.

Mike signed some paperwork and that was it. Mike picked up the urn, and we carried our baby out.

I sat in the backseat of my parents’ car, and Mike placed the urn on my lap. I was surprised by how light it was. I don’t know what I expected. It was hard, and cold. I wrapped my arms around it, and rested my face on top, and wept over my daughter.

The tiny body that grew inside me is gone. All we have left of her now are two small curls I cut from her right temple. They are not enough. I can’t hug two tendrils. I can’t put two locks of hair on my hip and have adventures.

The little girls from the apartment down the hall left purple Easter Peeps outside our door.

Maddie’s purple speckled urn is now on a table, surrounded with cards, pictures, and mementos. Maddie is home, but I am not comforted.

I want to close my eyes and rest, but I am afraid of what I see when I sleep. So I keep my eyes open so I can see her smiling face.

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