My brother is here this morning. He arrived unexpectedly two days before but it was a very welcome visit. He even stayed an extra day which made things so wonderful. We talked a lot and the best part was we just took up where we left off as if we had seen each other yesterday.
It’s a Friday, but since my brother was here, I made my Saturday morning muffins. I had hoped he would eat them, but he didn’t. Some people just don’t eat breakfast. 🙂 We talked again this morning and nearly got off to a late start. I didn’t have much thought about how today would go. I needed to remember to bring the camera but that was about it.
Since I had been to communal burials before, I knew what to expect. Last night I felt I just wanted to know what angel bed (casket) our baby was in. There are always two angel beds and this was the only issue I dwelled on as I drifted off to sleep.
We said our goodbye’s to my brother and headed to the cemetery. Hubby and I talked about what to expect. I mentioned that he might be asked to carry one of the angel beds. I really hoped he would. I thought it would bring him comfort. I always seem to want to carry them. I want to touch them.
We talked about how much better I feel knowing what happened with the baby. I have truly felt so peaceful since we learned the baby had triploidy. As I write this post, I am realizing how hard it is not to talk about the baby using the name we chose. That post has already been written but not shared yet so I am still trying hard not to mention any details that might be revealed in another post.
It was a nice and quiet car ride. I wasn’t nervous. I don’t know if Hubby was or not. I actually wondered if I would cry at all considering how good I was feeling.
When comparing this loss with Ruby’s loss, I feel like I have come to peace significantly faster. I wonder if that’s okay. I talk with Hubby about how others I know are still struggling tremendously with their losses. They are still so engulfed with their losses that it affects their every day life. I told him that I wondered if there was something wrong with me because I seem to be “normal” with my losses now.
He didn’t seem to think so and was sad that others I know are still struggling so hard. I stopped talking about it but wondered if that meant I didn’t love my children as much or that I wasn’t as invested in it as my friends were. I am still sad, don’t get me wrong, but I am not crying every day. I also think that much of the last few weeks was postpartum baby blues. It is so hard for me after I have a baby and I don’t think the loss was any different. My body still had pregnancy hormones that needed to be cleared out of my system and I have been sweating a lot during sleep the last few days which is another sign of those hormones clearing.
As we enter the cemetery, I am excited and I hope that it is a small, quiet ceremony. I park the car backwards so I can get out easily and follow the limo to the gravesite. The kids get out of the car and we head into the building. I noticed that the parking lot was pretty full but assumed there was another funeral taking place.
I was stunned to see that the inside room was full of families. They were all there to bury their babies. Some were smiling, laughing with their kids, conversing with others, and there were a few that were crying, sobbing, and sad. I told Hubby that I was so glad our baby was being buried with so many other babies. It was comforting to know our baby wasn’t alone in the angel bed.
Hubby found an empty round table and we sat as we waited for the service to begin. We were told to follow the car to the gravesite and file out of the room. All the mothers needed to raise their hands so the funeral director could count how many mothers there were. I knew they were counting how many crosses they needed to bring. I was nearly giddy for the plain, white cross we would receive that was made from the left over wood that our baby’s angel bed was made from.
This was that “tangible piece.” The closest piece we would get to our baby. I wanted to hold it, rub it, smell it, as if it was my baby. I wouldn’t get it for a bit but I wanted that cross. I wasn’t leaving without one.
We got back in our car and I saw Melissa, my friend who is a bereavement doula. She waved at me as all the cars got in line to follow the limo carrying our little ones to their final resting place. Hubby and I talked about how beautiful and comforting the cemetery was. We also talked about purchasing the headstone for the marker. One headstone is placed there and we can pay to have our baby’s name on the marker. I told Hubby we wouldn’t leave until paying for it. It was expensive but we needed this.
We make it to the gravesite and park along the rows of headstones. A therapy dog hops out of the car in front of us. Joey is obsessed with the dog but oddly enough, never gets a chance to pet him. I see Melissa with all the bears she will give each mother and we make our way through the large crowd. There seemed to be 50 or so people there.
I noticed that no one was helping the funeral director take the angel beds out of the limo and I probe Hubby to jump in. He hesitates. He tells me if no other dad volunteers he will. I was disappointed. I really wanted him to grab the beds. I had no idea how hard that might be for him, I just wanted him to participate.
After ten minutes, two dads volunteered and carried the angel beds to the gravesite. They are set down and the service begins. People are crying around me. There are Magpies that are chirping but their noises sound more like wailing. I take note and wonder, have they overheard so many women crying that they are mimicking their sounds? It was eerie and comforting all at the same time.
The crosses are placed on the angel beds and my heart sinks a little. It looks like someone started painting on the crosses. I had hoped for a plain one but I didn’t see one. There were flowers painted on them in different colors. Some blue, some pink, some green, and some with sunflowers. I didn’t want a sunflower, that was for sure.
I didn’t feel like crying. I was taking pictures and trying to be in the moment. I wanted to remember burying our baby but I was in between being a loss mother and being a bereavement doula. It was such a weird place to be. I wanted to support those around me when in reality, I was the one that needed support.
Melissa came and took the camera from me and took some pictures of me with Joey as well as the angel beds. When it was time for me to get a cross, I jumped in line quickly. I didn’t want to miss out on getting one. Melissa passed out her bears. I waited to get one after everyone else did. She gave me and the boys one privately.
As the priest “commended” our children to God, I broke down. The tears started flowing. I could hear Hubby crying behind me and I reached out to him. I look up at the sky and think about God holding my child. I want my child. I need my child now.
I want to touch the angel bed. I want to know which bed my child is in. I turn around and grab my husband. I pull him tight as I mutter the words, “I want to know which one he is in.” The angel beds are placed into the ground.
Siblings of the other babies gather around the hole and toss in flowers, notes, drawings, cards, balloons, and other items to be buried with their babies. I know Joey wanted to do something similar but I forgot flowers and he didn’t make a note. He wanted to give the baby a stuffed animal but he also forgot it. I told him to bring it tomorrow to the commendation ceremony.
We had a few pictures taken as a family next to the hole and then we left to go pay for the marker. The burial and service were free but the marker cost. As we filled out the paperwork, the baby’s name was written down…for the very first time. I stared at it. In awe. I want my baby here, not in the ground.
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