I am so grateful to have had the support of our priest, Brian-- who not only came straight to the hospital the day Adeline was born/died, but also helped us navigate funeral arrangements and options. It was Brian who first suggested that we have a service for her. It was also his suggestion that we cremate her and spread her remains in the beautiful garden outside of our church.
I really hope no one reading this post is going through what we went through. But-- since we know that it's all too common--- let me say this. I don't know if you are religious or not religious, but for us, having a ceremony of some sort to honor our daughter helped us build memories around her that were separate from the horror of her death. The day of the service was the best I've felt since it happened.
All of the details leading up to the service were hard. It was agony to visit the funeral home, and even to visit the garden where she would be resting. During the meetings we had with father Brian to pick out bible verses to read at the service, I was a mess. Finally, when we picked up the plain, white box that her ashes were delivered in, I lost it.
In the end, these steps were good for me. I took the plain white box and drew flowers on it (bleeding hearts.) We wrote messages of love to Adeline, and had friends and family do the same-- wrapping her in the words from the people who cared for her. We gave Millie a whole side to scribble on in magic marker.
|Messages of love scribbled on her cardboard casket|
It was a beautiful day when we laid her to rest. I cried much less than I expected and even found myself comforting others. When the service was over, they let me grab the shovel, and I scooped load after load of dirt onto her grave. I packed the dirt in on top of her and pressed it close with my hands-- this one and only chance I was given as her mother to tuck her in.
In the end, the gratitude I feel for this service is inexpressible. I am including the passages we chose below in case they are helpful to others. I also want to thank Father Brian Wilbert of Christ Episcopal Church in Oberlin for guiding us through this process-- so essential to the healing of our family.
Ecclesiastes 3:1-11 (Good News Translation)
Psalm 23 (King James Version)
Romans 8: 18-25 (Good News Translation)
Mark 10:13-16 (Good News Translation)