"I carry an intense longing to hold her, while also knowing that it’s not a possibility," she wrote. "I would give up every last, good thing I have and own just to have her back."
Things change in unimaginable ways when you lose someone so dear to you. Suddenly, you start doing things that make you feel like you're still connected to them, things that make you think maybe they're still around.
For one mother, Caila Smith, who was bereaved of her four-month-old child, the grief made her miss even the simple, mundane, ordinary things that she would do for her baby girl, Lainey.
After the death of her little one, she chanced upon one of her socks and said that "sometimes it’s mundane, everyday moments, like the washing and re-washing of a sock in the silence of my 4’x6′ laundry room."
Remembering the moment the sock found its way into the pocket of her denim shorts, she wrote about a conversation she had with a daycare provider.
"We lost one of Lainey’s socks today, but here is the one she still had on," the daycare provider told Caila. And that's when she slipped the lone sock into her pocket. "Oh, please! It’s just a sock," she remembers telling the daycare provider.
"It took me nine months to find that lone sock, eight of those months coming after my 4-month-old daughter had passed, and I’d already rummaged through my entire house looking for bits of her," she wrote for Scary Mommy. "The lump in my pocket on that June morning at work felt an awful lot like a customer’s bill that had been stuffed in there. But as I was mid-conversation with one of my regular customers, to my surprise, I reached into my pocket and pulled out a tiny sock. My daughter’s sock. You never think that a cheap sock could nearly bring you to your knees, but I had to excuse myself to the restroom, sit on the toilet, cover my mouth, and weep."
At that moment, that tiny piece that went on her baby's foot was no longer just a piece of clothing.
Caila wrote, "It was just a sock. It is just a sock. But it’s also her sock, my Lainey’s sock, and it holds a new importance now that I’m living this life with still-unrecognizable days. Whenever I wore those shorts, which quickly became a new favorite, and felt the sadness creeping up from my stomach, rising to my chest and settling like a ball into my throat, I’d trace my fingers over the lump in my pocket for comfort."
The sock, which turned into a reminder of her baby girl, gave her a comforting thought: "She was here. She is still yours. You are still hers. Breathe."
Her denim shorts would go into the washing machine with Lainey's sock still in its pocket. Once, when it fell out during one of its trips to the laundry, Caila found the sock in her laundry basket, "like a piece of gold amidst all of my other clothing".
Lainey's sock then found a more permanent home in the house—the window will. "It would see day after day, season to season, good days and bad days from that window. Until one day, something caused it to fall off and the cycle repeated itself again. And again and again and again. It’s been three years, and it is my honor as her mother to wash, dry, and gently place my baby’s lone sock up on that window sill time after time until it is, too, lost and gone."
Even though her daughter is no longer physically with her, the sock keeps her spirit from feeling like its completely faded away. "It is the smallest gesture I can do in my grief, and if nothing else, it gives me peace. It is, perhaps, one of the only things I can do as her mother that makes me feel like her physical existence hasn’t been completely erased from this world… even though it has," Caila wrote.
"She is here in spirit, yes… she is carried in my spirit. But she is physically gone. And as her mother, I guess I haven’t reached a point where I’m willfully ready to stop giving to her. I’m not ready to give up on doing this one normal thing a mother is supposed to do, especially when it’s causing no harm to me."
The grieving mother of "two sets of twins and a daughter in heaven" has found herself finding peace in different moments that her surroundings give her and even the messes that her other growing children leave aorund the house. And she's also found peace, seeing the lone sock with nobody to wear it.
"When someone we love passes, I can promise you, it is never the extravagance of this life that is missed. It’s the normal. You crave your mundane, day-to-day normal. Believe it or not, I miss being able to wash bottles for my daughter," Caila shared.
Still craving for a moment where she could have her daughter in her arms, Caila says there is nothing she wouldn't give up to bring her back.
"I carry an intense longing to hold her, while also knowing that it’s not a possibility. I would give up every last, good thing I have and own just to have her back," she wrote. "But I can’t, and I know that. So instead, I grab the joy in this life whenever I can. I wash this pink and blue sock when it falls into the hampers on the floor. And sometimes still, I close the laundry room door behind me, sit down, cover my mouth and weep on the floor. But I also stand up. I leave that 4’x6′ space, and I choose to keep living."