I hate funerals. That's a strong word. Grossly dislike. Maybe because it seems like I've had my fair share. Today was one of those days.
A few weeks ago we got a mailing from St. Francis, the local hospital I visited for 15 hours when I had my miscarriage. Another day I grossly disliked. I vaguely remember signing a paper indicating our preference of what to do with the baby before being wheeled into surgery. This mailing was a result of that choice.
Opening the letter, it took my breath away in surprise to read they were having a funeral service for those who had experienced a recent miscarriage and the babies would be buried together.
Shannon and I decided it would be helpful for another piece (or peace) of closure on the situation. Then I put it out of my mind. It caught me off guard today when I was explaining to the kids that after lunch, they would take a nap and mom and dad were going to talk to God about the little brother or sister they almost had.
I wasn't sure what to expect as we wound our way through the cemetery. A few friends from our small group were there waiting to support us--a pleasant and comforting surprise. A line of cars had already formed and a group of people were huddled in and around the tent. Music was playing; a woman approached me with a stack of papers and a momento for the occasion. A small casket was at the front of the tent with a bouquet of white flowers draped on top. She encouraged me to sit in one of the green velvet-covered chairs in the tent. I just couldn't bring myself to occupy one of those seats. I didn't expect it to be so much like...well, a funeral.
As the service started, he explained some formalities about how we could place flowers, teddy bears, blankets, or other items we may have brought on the gravesite for the next 3 months...until they had another service. We looked out over the grassy field that was reserved for the burial of babies for years to come. Hard to fathom. They didn't have room for grave stones so a single monument is erected in memory of all babies buried there.
The funeral was simple. But nice. And respectful. Families grieved on various levels. At the end, we had the opportunity to write a note to our baby on the casket in permanent marker. It took a few minutes before the first person had the courage to step out and initiate. Some families had older children who also wrote notes to the sibling they lost.
Buried in the ground in Block FF, Row B, Grave 11 at St. Mary's Cemetery is a small white casket with a wooden cross on top containing our words..."Our miracle--forever in our hearts"..."See you in heaven Baby Mo --Dad"