Yellow For Elijah

August 2, 2018

By Sanda Rathamone

"No matter how little your light is, let it shine."
"What color(s) do you associate with your angel baby/babies?" -  a question that made me scroll back up, while endlessly scrolling through numerous posts on Facebook. It was a question asked from the Facebook page, "I Am A Mother To An Angel."

I usually keep my comments to myself, but decided to add my thoughts. 

My comment was:

"I used to think it was blue, but it was yellow from the very beginning. Thank you for this new perspective. I never thought of my angel in this way (complete with a yellow heart emoji)." 

At first, I was going to comment with a simple, "Yellow (complete with a yellow heart emoji)." But then, I saw that someone had already done that - I didn't want to "copy" someone else's answer, even though there could be millions that had also favored or find the color yellow significant.

So, I gave my answer a real good minute and thought about something meaningful to say - not that it had really mattered; it was just a simple post/questionnaire about colors.

Being me, I am never hesitant to get deep and down into the depths of thoughts. I know that there is always more than what we see on the surface, just like how there is a whole other world under rocks and oceans.

Yet, even before considering the color yellow, I saw a shade of baby blue in my minds eye, but it was quickly pushed aside and replaced with a shade of yellow. I know, I sound like I am psychoanalyzing myself, which is probably what I am doing and is probably ridiculous, but for some reason, this color thing really got me thinking.

Elijah's color isn't blue, it's yellow! 

I had begun to realize something about Elijah that I hadn't before. It was like I was finally opening up my eyes after a long slumber.

The reason why I used to think Elijah's color was blue is because of associating blue with boy. I think most of us tend to do this, along with pink for girl, because most of us are conditioned to categorize objects, situations, and people or associate them with certain symbols, and yes, even colors (I learned a bit about this in Early Childhood Development courses, along with gender stereotyping).

And that was what I realized I had done on the day we found out Elijah was a boy; I was gender stereotyping.

I wanted to buy him so many blue things and dress him in blue clothes, except I only had the opportunity to buy him those blue things and blue clothes. That was the only reason why I thought Elijah's color was blue; I wanted his color to be blue.

Elijah's color was yellow from the earliest memories of my pregnancy.

I don't remember exactly when, but we bought a onesie for Elijah way early into the pregnancy. I was in my first trimester, probably in my late second or early third month. It was a onesie with patterns of yellow ducklings and at the bottom, the feet were the faces of the same little ducklings.

Those yellow ducklings were a symbol of the beginnings of life, of a yolk in an egg, of a soft yellow baby from a mama bird.  

One of the things we bought for Elijah right after our 20 week scan were yellow booties. They were a pair of ducklings... 

When I was in my second trimester, the fourth month, I worked on a painting of Elijah (only then, his name was "Baby Bear" because we didn't know if we were having a boy or girl). I could remember the soft nature music flowing from my ear buds, as I painted a group of planets, a yellow-orange sun, with a yellow baby fetus inside of a pink-red ball.

The pink-red ball was a womb and inside of it, a green-leafy cord was connected to the yellow fetus, which had curved its way to the yellow-orange sun. 

I don't know where the inspiration had came from, but knew that my baby was somehow connected to the universe, conspiring to plant this miracle of new life inside of me. My baby was magical because I never thought conception was possible. And like all life forms, my baby was created by the rhythm and beauty of nature. 

I laughed and was slightly offended when the kids I mentored thought that my painting of Elijah was a tomato... 

During the fourth month, my husband and I went on a very determined and successful fishing trip. We had never caught a large haul of crappie, like that day when I was pregnant. Sometimes, we re-visit the memory of that day and believe that Elijah had made that fishing trip one of the best we've had in a long time. 

That day was also full of blue dragonflies, which I had never seen fly around in such crazy amounts. They were everywhere and flew by every minute or so and some of them would land on my rod and rest from flying in the hot sun. 

Before we left with our cooler-full-of-fish, I saw the biggest butterfly, which again I had never seen before. The sight of it was so new to my eyes and it brought this magical feeling. I followed it and it landed on the wet sandy part of the shore that looked like a small three-foot beach. I took a photo of it and on our way home, I did a google search and found that the butterfly was a yellow swallowtail. 

I never saw the yellow swallowtail again, until weeks had passed on from Elijah's death. Ever since then, the yellow swallowtail follows me around in the most magical of ways, never ceasing to surprise me, like the first time I had witnessed its black-yellow beauty on that fishing trip (I documented these sightings on my Instagram page). 

When Elijah died three days after our 20 week scan, we decided to plant a tree in honor of his death and memory. I wanted to mark the tree in some way, so that once we had it in the ground, people would know his name and that the tree was special and honorary. 

We chose a baby incense cedar and I decided to mark the tree with a ribbon. I remembered watching a movie or t.v. show long ago of how a mother had planted a tree in memory of her son and tied a ribbon to it.

The ribbon I picked was not in blue with fancy prints or patterns, but a simple soft yellow. I spent weeks hand-sewing Elijah's full name on the ribbon in baby blue threading. The yellow ribbon stood out, but not in a bright way, more of in a gentle way; the way his name sounds like a lullaby in my mind. 

I picked a yellow ribbon because my heart feels that it is the color of a baby. I later realized that the ribbon that Elijah's bear is wearing is yellow. 

(Related Read: Day 3: Teddies and Toys)

If Elijah was born on his due date, it would be in late October or early November. Those are the months of fall and autumn, my favorite of all seasons. When I think of those months, I always think of trees full of yellow leaves. 

I have this very bright mustard-y yellow blouse, with red-orange flowers that reminds me of Elijah's due date. I got it from Old Navy, months after losing Elijah. Every time I wear it, it reminds me to be happy and of course, of Elijah. It reminds me to look and feel and think and do things with a smile. When I wear it, it is because I am trying to shine from the grief, the worries, and the suffering.

The strange thing is, the blouse will attract compliments and always makes me feel like I am... pregnant

It is the only thing in my wardrobe that is bright in yellow... and I don't wear yellow very often.

When I think of Elijah on days that I am happy or want to feel happy, I think of sunflowers. I think it's because on the day that we had finally gotten home from the hospital, my brother-in-law made and handed me a bouquet. I remember that one of the flowers that struck out to me was this huge, bright yellow sunflower, along with this huge sparkly blue butterfly pinned to it.

Ever since then, I fell in love with sunflowers and thought it was fitting that sunflower sounds like SON-flower. The sunflower also reminded me of my painting; I named it "Child of the Sun."

There was a day that I had awaken from my sleep, hearing the song, "You Are My Sunshine." The song came to me again some days later. Then, during this random stroll with my husband in the mall, we ended up in a Hallmark store that was closing down.

I wasn't planning on getting anything. All of a sudden, I saw that we were heading in the direction of these pretty silver jewelry boxes in a glass case. Among those jewelry boxes was something I did not expect to find. There laid a couple jewelry boxes that had a top decorated with a sunflower and the words, "You are my sunshine my only sunshine you make me happy." 

That jewelry box sits next to the the bedside lamp, on my desk, under a photo framed of my husband and I at a museum, when I was almost five months pregnant with Elijah.

I now have silk flower arrangements of yellow and orange sunflowers on my desk and a decorative pillow on the bed that I found randomly at Daiso, which you guessed it, says: "You are my sunshine." I listened to the whole song one day and didn't realize how depressing it actually was. I listened to it with the intention to focus more on the lyrics than the sounds.

"You Are My Sunshine" is a song of the day Elijah had died. 

When I think of yellow, I think of light. I think of light at the very bottom of the ocean. The light that saves me from drowning in my sorrow.

When I feel the color yellow, I feel friendliness. I feel warmth, the curves of my smile, innocence, gentleness, and pure joy. These are the feelings that I felt on the day I held Elijah for the first time.

When I see the color yellow, I see the sun. I could see the sun bursting with its enormous, magnificent power. Elijah is my sun and drives me to be and do so much more.

If I was the color yellow, my advice would be: to stand out, be yourself, spread kindness, try new things, be brave, be the light for all to see.

I know that this is what Elijah would have said to me.

With love,

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