Wednesday, November 28, 2012

"Names in the Sand"

March 23, 2011
Sunday, while we were at the beach, Carly Marie Dudley, a photographer in Perth, Australia, opened name requests for "Names in the Sand." It is a memorial site for babies in Heaven. She also has a baby boy in Heaven named Christian. Nineteen months after his stillbirth, she dreamed of him playing on the beach. As she approached him, he ran off and had written his name in the sand. At that point, she created this memorial site. She writes an angel's name in the sand and takes a picture of it at sunset. She says,
"At the end of the day, all the children of Heaven come together and paint the colours of the sunset."
On Sunday, I was able to request your name and today the most beautiful sunset is posted on her site. My sweet boy. You're an artist like your mommy and a perfectionist like your daddy. So beautiful. 



Monday, November 26, 2012

The Healing Trip

March 18, 2011
Today is a Tear Soup kind of day. Daddy and I took a spontaneous weekend trip to Surfside Beach for what we call our "Healing Trip." This month has weighed heavy on my mind. March is considered Trisomy Awareness month. Ironically, today, March 18th, is Trisomy 18 Awareness Day (3/18 - 3 copies of 18th chromosome). And here we are going on a beautiful trip. At least I hope it is beautiful. I am sad to leave you baby boy. It is strange how I've become attached to your grave. I visit you every afternoon and I just stare at the little muddy outline of such a tiny grave. It just doesn't seem right to have a grave so tiny. Nobody should have to bury a baby. It has become such a special little place for me. I would have never guessed I would be spending so much time in a cemetery.
But I guess, honestly, there's no need to be sad. You are going on this trip with us. So after school today, we pack our bags and head for the beach. We take the back way, which was a bad idea! We got a little turned around and then our GPS took us to the beach on a small country road that was uninhabited for miles!! My nerves are getting the best of me. I get very nervous being on such quiet roads. You never know when something might go wrong and there's no where to turn to for help. We finally get the keys to our condo and realize there's no water. A midnight phone call to maintenance and the water gets turned on. Mommy and Daddy were so awake at this point, we went and bought our groceries for the weekend and finally hit the hay at 3:00 in the morning. Phew! What a long day. There will be plenty of time for sleep tomorrow, I suppose.

March 19, 2011
BEAUTIFUL DAY! We woke up and got out on the beach early. It is a little breezy, but when your body has craved the sun all winter, its easier to feel the warmth through the breeze. Daddy and I sat on the beach and talked a long time. I love those kinds of conversations with your Daddy. We wished we had our 4-legged baby girl with us. There were not many people out, so I know she would have behaved.
I sat and looked at the beautiful sparkling water and wondered about how different my life would be if you were here. I definitely wouldn't be on the beach getting a "sun tan," but I'd trade it for my boy anyday. I miss you so much. I've called this our "Healing Trip." Its a trip for Mommy and Daddy to be together, away from everyday life, and heal. But no relaxing, beautiful day on the beach would compare to the life I could've had with you. I'd take a recliner in the NICU by my baby's bed over all of this. It would be a hard life, but it would be worth it...
...for you...
You have a big mission to fulfill in Heaven. That, itself, makes me feel like an honored mother. Sadly, it still doesn't change the fact that I just plain miss you. 
As lunchtime rolled around, more people came out. A rambunctious little boy threw his beach toys down right beside us and hollered, "Right here, Mom?!?!?"
His mother yelled back a frustrated, "No!" Heehee. Of all the wide open beach that surrounded us, he was ready to throw his toys down and start playing right next to us. As close as could be. Daddy and I just giggled at him. They went to a more open area and set up camp. I liked watching the kids play. The hyper little guy ran down to the water and goes, "Mom, there's starfish everywhere! There's millions!!"
I waited a little while before I went down to check out the starfish, when what I really wanted to do was jump up and go running to the little boy and say, "Let me see!!!!"
I can be as bad as the kids sometimes. I was amazed at all the starfish. There really were millions; he wasn't lying! I picked one up and held it bottom side up in my hand. Did you know that he has little feelers that line his underbody? What a neat discovery. I imagined discovering this with my curious little angel. I watched his tiny feelers on his underside as they wiggled and squirmed. His little feelers got slower and slower and then stopped. Oh dear, I just killed the starfish. I really am not sure what I was thinking. I don't know if I want to laugh or cry. Luckily, I laughed. I am on a healing trip, recovering from a tragic loss, and here I am killing starfish. Whelp, he's a goner, so I'm keeping him. A sweet little souvie for you, baby boy! Haha!
I take our starfish to Daddy and told him I was going on a walk down the beach. 
This walk on the beach was the most amazing walk I've ever taken. I felt you right by my side. I talked to you as we walked and I could just imagine you stopping and looking at all of the interesting shells, even the ones that really weren't interesting. That's when I saw it. Something I have never seen before. A ladybug was sitting on a seashell. Have you ever seen such a thing? I knew instantly who put that ladybug there for me. He's playing with mommy. I have never seen a ladybug at the beach in my life. Especially right here on the shoreline. After quite a while of marveling over this amazing thing, I told our ladybug goodbye and that's when I noticed the others. There were at least 7 or 8 more ladybugs on the wet, packed sand. My sweet angel, did you think I wouldn't see? Oh, I see you, baby. 
You've opened my eyes.
I couldn't stop smiling as I walked back to Daddy. It was the biggest, most genuine smile I've ever felt. My baby made himself known to me today. He is here, he is right here. 
I get back to our beach blanket and admire my small collection of shells and starfish. What neat discoveries. I imagined discovering these things with my curious little angel. I would have loved to teach you things and teach you how to love and appreciate the Earth. Lots of tender mercies today. And a bit of a tender bottom. I should have known better than to spend so much time in the sun. But I'm still loving every second. 
**On a sad note, back home, a group of children ages 5 to 11 from a local church near and dear to my heart went to a park in Spartanburg to ride the train for its first run of the season. The train derailed and took the life of the pastor's 5 year old son. Twenty others were hospitalized. My heart is broken. And just like that, the sick feeling is back. My heart aches for each of them. Especially that sweet momma.**

March 21, 2011
We're headed home from the beach today. Yesterday was much too chilly to get back out on the beach. We just went shopping around Broadway at the Beach. We got home today around 1:00ish. I went straight to the cemetery to visit you. It was a beautiful sunny day. I took you your starfish and placed it at your grave. It sits with your dinosaur snow globe from Aunt Summer and your secret valentine. I realized that this is not a "Healing Trip" but a "Healing Journey." I realized I will never fully heal, and I found some peace with that truth. Before, I wanted my wounds to heal because I don't like that sicky, sad feeling. I realized that I'll always have the scar from my wound. Yes, it heals, but you'll always remember and you'll always have those sicky, tear soup days. But I'm going to be okay. You are right here, baby boy. I can almost smell your sweet baby breath in the breeze. I found some healing and each day I'll find more, but the truest, complete healing will come the day we meet again. 

Saturday, November 24, 2012


February 21, 2011
One of the most thankful ideas that I received from a fellow mother of an angel was the pinwheel. You have two matching pinwheels. One is in our front yard by the tree that you like to "play" beside. The other is by your grave. It connects us. I love that feeling.
Today is a windy day. This makes me smile a big smile. I wonder if your pinwheel is blowing? Maybe you are proud of me for being brave at my first day back at school. It was a great morning with the kids. I visited your grave right after school and boy oh boy were you blowing hard! 
I wanted to cry and be sad. I don't want to cry to others, I'm certain they are tired of it. But I don't want to cry alone, it makes me feel out of control. Instead I just hold it in. Ugh, sometimes that just makes you feel worse. 

Friday, November 23, 2012

That Ugly Girl Named Grief

February 18, 2011
Last night, Daddy and I decided to go to a bereaved parents' support group. I was so excited to see what healing and love I might feel. I've never been a part of a support group before, so I was also excited to make new friends that would hopefully become lifelong friends as we remember our babies. Man, I was so wrong.
Daddy and I have felt such peace since you've been gone, Charles Patrick. Of course, we miss you, but we know this was Heavenly Father's plan. It doesn't help the sadness go away, but for now, it makes the sadness feel a little more bearable. There were 2 other couples attending the group that night. One couple had a baby that died nearly two years ago. As she would tell their story, she would tear up and look at her husband, and her sweet husband would finish the story for her. Right now, she's struggling with her friends getting pregnant. She was invited to a baby shower, and didn't know if she should attend or not. I felt so sorry for her, especially if its been two years. I know that it is extremely difficult for me to be around newborn babies right now, but I hope that I am able to handle it after two years. My sister is having my next nephew in July, I don't want to have to struggle to be around him. My heart got a little nervous thinking about it.
The other couple was what truly tore my heart apart. The mother was devastated. She had twins who died at birth, a boy and a girl. She cried throughout the duration of the group. She had them back in November. She had gone to a place, a bad place, in her head and I am frightened that she won't escape. She cried that she doesn't see reason to get up in the morning. She cried that she has nothing to live for, as her husband just sat and stared helplessly at the table. The sweet nurse that led the group talked to her about depression and how she should talk to her doctor about a medication that would help her feel better. She said that she has done that already, but she didn't want to take pills. She told us her complete birth story, and it was so tragic. My heart hurt for her. I just wanted to help her.
The support group didn't turn out how I wanted it to, but
.... it planted a seed ...
Today I decided that I couldn't let my experience from last night overwhelm me. I start back to school on Monday, so I went in today to visit my sweet and precious students. My heart was pounding. I still feel a lot of anxiety in public. I couldn't believe how nervous I was to go see all my school babies! My principal walked me down to my room. The anticipation of walking through the doorway was almost too much. I was out of breath and sweating. My principal walked in the room and said she had something for them. I took a deep breath and walked in. 
Every little eye was staring and for a whole second, they just sat there looking. It felt like an eternity and time stood still. Then it was like slow motion that surprised faces and gasps filled the room. Then all 18, yes all 18, came running! Their sweet little hugs around my middle were so precious. The change in my belly is hard to accept sometimes. I want it to be full with my baby boy! Now its just empty. Their little hugs made it feel not so empty anymore.
We all sat down on the carpet and I shared my box with them. I showed them the tiny little size of your diaper, your foot prints, and all the other little keepsakes that the nurses gave me. I shared a book with them that a dear friend gave me. Its called, Mommy, Please Don't Cry: There are No Tears in Heaven. Of course, Mommy can't read it without crying, so I just showed them the pictures so I wouldn't cry in front of them. It is very important to me that they do not see me so emotional. I told them I would be back on Monday. I'm only going to work half days at first to make sure I'm up to all the activity again, and then hopefully I'll be back full force by Wednesday. I'm so glad I went to see them today. Much needed medicine!
I was feeling so good. Then that ugly girl came right back. Her name is Grief. I can feel so good and feel so much peace inside, and then Grief comes along and takes my good days and smashes them into pieces. Tonight was a ward activity at church. Its still hard to go to things in public, even things as simple as the grocery story. But I've been making myself go because its the only way I'm going to get past the anxiety.
I was doing okay even though I felt like running away on the inside. Everyone was being very kind, not really talking about what happened. Its so weird. You worry so much that someone is going to bring it up and make me talk about it. Then when no one mentions it, you almost feel upset that no one is even acknowledging what happened. Its such a crazy thing. Grief knows just how to drive me to the end of my sanity. She's such a contradictory girl. I really don't like her.
As I was leaving, I saw one of our leaders who was visiting from Greenville. His wife and my mother are great friends, so we know each other very well. The last time I saw him was just days before we went into the hospital. Its the first time he saw me with no belly and no baby. He didn't say anything. He just gave me that understanding and sympathetic grin. I went home from the activity and just cried my eyes out. I loved that I was able to go out and see friends and smile and laugh. Yet I hated that I went out to see friends to smile and laugh. It made me feel like I was trying to forget you. I promise I'm not trying to forget you, sweet boy. I think of you every minute. I just can't cry all the time. Yet I feel guilty if I'm not crying for you. Right now, Grief is like that unwelcome "friend" whose overstayed her visit. That first time that people see me with no belly and no baby never gets easy. I'm sorry, it just doesn't.
Love, Mommy

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Sweet Hauntings

February 3, 2011
My imagination has always been my best friend. I had imaginary friends as early as I can remember. As I grew older, my imagination served me well as I blossomed into writing and creating. I never realized how much my imagination would heal me as I imagined you.
You were a brand new perfect little baby when I laid eyes on you, but now as I think of you, you are a rambunctious little 4, maybe 5 year old. Each morning when I wake, I open the blinds in our living room and admire the sun rising in the east. We have a large, very aged tree in our front yard that sits just in line with the sunrise. I imagine you at that tree. I am sure you would have loved playing around it. You're always crouched down looking at a bug or picking up a stick. Then I hear little boy giggles as you run around the corner hiding from mommy.
I love to imagine you. I love talking to you. You are a short little thing with thick strawberry blonde curls. You wear a little white shirt with blue jeans rolled up to your ankles. And you're always barefoot. Silly boy.
On the day we were heading to the hospital to have you, your daddy did something so very sweet. He posted the song "Baby Mine" on Facebook to let everyone know that you were on your way. That song has always been my favorite, but its been so many years since I've heard the song that I had forgotten how much I loved it. It really touched my heart.
Today my mom and dad, your Neena and Poppy, took me to the Temple. It was cold and misty out. I wanted to go to the Temple, but the weather made me just want to be a depressed couch potato. On our way, a deer jumped out in front of us and hit the side of Neena's van. I just felt so sad. Why can they never catch a break? I really wanted to turn around and go home, but Neena and Poppy insisted that everything was okay and that we should continue our trip to Columbia. They were certain that being in such a spiritual place would help my breaking heart. I knew it too, but for some reason I just really wanted to stay on the couch today. Without my knowing, our Bishop had informed others at the Temple of our visit, so we were greeted at the door by some of my most beloved leaders from past and present. At first I didn't realize that anyone knew, so I just acted like nothing was wrong and I was there for a typical visit. I don't know why I do that. A defense mechanism, I guess. When the Temple Matron came up to me and told me she had heard of my loss, I realized they were all there for me. I cried happy tears. I felt such love in such a perfect place.
The session at the Temple that day was so powerful. I tried hard to choke back tears on many occasions. I kept seeing you, little boy. Again, I understand it was my own imaginings, but it felt real enough to feel so good. As we progressed from room to room, I could almost truly see your little scampering feet as you ran in and out of all those who were present that day. As soon as those little feet were out of sight, I could hear you giggling and your little voice saying, "Come on, Mommy!" You were always just enough ahead of me that I couldn't see your face. I never get to see your face. When we entered the Celestial room, your sweet little voice stopped and I felt you jump into my soul. I felt so close to you, not like I was chasing you anymore. My mind and my heart was so clear. Its exactly what I needed. Since you've been gone, I've felt so muddled. The most beautiful thing was that "Baby Mine" played over and over in my head as I sat in the Celestial room. I haven't had that song in my head since the day we went to the hospital. It was beautiful and it played so clearly. I don't even know all the words, yet the song played perfectly over and over.
After we left the Temple, we went to the Temple bookstore. I was looking around for something to remember my visit. There wasn't much that stood out to me today. I figured I would go look at the music CDs. Its been a while since I've bought music. One CD caught my eye,
"Baby Mine: Lullabies for Bedtime"
What are the chances? I've realized that there are no coincidences. God intends. I love Him so much. Give Him a squeeze and tell Him I said thank you from the bottom of my broken heart. I'm glad I got off the couch today. Had I not, Satan would have succeeded in keeping me from my sweet little boy and from realizing again and again that our God is so gracious.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Happy Due Date

February 2, 2011
The past few posts in my journal were not written "to" you. I am not sure why I didn't write them as if I was writing to you. Somehow my words just didn't come out that way. I didn't feel like I could write to you for some reason. It was as if you were away for a short period. I couldn't feel you near me. It was the emptiest feeling I have ever felt. It makes me wonder about the process we go through after this life as we enter into Heaven.  I'm certain you were busy being the newest angel. I wonder if that's the time that our beautiful Savior takes us by the hand and shows us how the world was created. He takes us and shows us the big picture, so we have a perfect understanding and a perfect knowledge. The kind of knowledge He has. It takes us away from everything for a few days. Its earthly days here, but perhaps its only moments there. But now you understand. You have that perfect knowledge of why this all had to happen to our family. You define beauty to me, little one. You know, our Savior disappeared from His grave for 3 days. Poor Mary Magdalene grieved greatly as she did not know where her King had been taken. Then He returned. Our resurrected Savior stood before her and asked her not to weep.
Today has been different.
Today was your actual due date. Daddy has been sick the past 3 days, and today he is finally feeling better. Was your absence what crippled him so as well?
Today I managed to find a smile. I love you, baby. Stay near me. Tell me not to weep.
Love, Mommy

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

His Service

January 30, 2011
KC and I slept in a little. It felt good to get some extra sleep and snuggle in bed a little longer than usual. I feel such a need to be close to my husband all the time. I just want him to hold me. All these feelings of grief mixed with hormones have left me feeling so insecure. It's hard to explain. But finally we got up and started getting ready. Both of our families came to our house at lunch time. I was worried it might stress me out to have so many people in our tiny little house, but honestly it was a comfort. We ate lunch together and headed to the funeral home at 1:45pm.
The family viewing was at 2:00, and the graveside service was at 3:00. They let KC and I go in first. There it was again....
Oh my sweet baby! Every time I see him, it is just as joyful and emotional as the first time they laid him in my arms. 
Charles Patrick's nursery is a Star Wars theme. KC and I love Star Wars. KC dug out all his old toys to use in decorating the nursery. Last night, as the two of us stood in his nursery, KC picked up his Han Solo and Princess Leia and said he wanted to bury them with our son. That way he'd have "Mommy and Daddy" with him. We just hugged and cried. I knew how much those little toys meant to him, ESPECIALLY Han Solo and Princess Leia. 
We each took our little figures and laid them in the tiny little casket with our son. Daddy on his left, Mommy on his right. We tucked them in to his little arms so he felt safe. 
Until we meet again, my son. 
Next, we let my Dad in to take a few pictures. When we showed Daddy his little toys, he cried. Seeing my Daddy cry is never easy. I know he hurts for me just as much as he hurts for his grandson. 
The rest of our families were invited in. It was my nephew's first time seeing his cousin. You could tell that his little face was so sad. I heard Summer say, "Doesn't he have Silvie's nose?"
You could see Jayden's eyes, his perspective, change at that very moment. He wasn't just looking at a baby who wasn't alive anymore, suddenly he was looking at Charles Patrick. In a surprised voice he says, "Yes! He does!"
Thank you, Summer.
Everyone gave me hugs and told me how beautiful he was. It was so nice to just stand there and admire my boy and watch others admire him too. It was as if I longed for people to see his beauty. As time was coming close, KC and I were just standing side by side and he said he thinks he wants to hold him one more time. So I said, "Well let's do it. No regrets."
I didn't want to leave the parlor with the regret of wishing to hold him one more time. Everyone left the room so we could be alone. KC held him first. His little head was closest to me as we sat in the chairs next to each other. I just put my hands on his head and kissed his little head over and over and over while I cried. KC cried too. Then he handed him to me. I love that feeling of him being in my arms. I cried at the thought that this was the last time I'd feel his little body. I've already experienced that ache in my arms when I just want to hold him. I just don't want to say good-bye. Its hard to let go. I kissed his little forehead and gave him back to the funeral director. His little coffin is so sweet. It is lined inside and out with white satin. Momma, Daddy, and KC's mother, Shelba, rode in the limo with us. I was so nervous. The ride there seemed to take forever. 
We pulled up to the cemetery and my breath was taken away by the amount of people....
...all for a little boy that no one met...
He touched so many hearts. Every doctor, every nurse, every person who knew him. It is still amazing to me. I'm still struggling with all the anxiety and as soon as we stepped out of the limo, I just wanted to hide behind KC's arm. He held my hand as we watched them take my sweet little boy out of the car. The pall bearers were all the males in our family including our three young nephews. 
We followed behind as he was carried to his burial place. That place he showed me just two days ago. I didn't look up much, but when I did, all I could see was tearful faces. 
KC and I took our seats and that's when I noticed the beauty of the day. It was perfectly sunny, not a cloud in the sky, and the air was so warm and comforting. It was perfect. What a tender mercy that proves Heavenly Father is merciful when we suffer (sunny, 68 degrees, in January).
The graveside service began with KC's pastor giving the opening prayer. A dear friend from my church who is friends of both of us spoke. He gave a touching message on spirits. I know Charles Patrick's spirit is with us today. 
Next, Daddy dedicated Charles Patrick's grave. It was such a beautiful prayer. He blessed it that it would be safe from weather and all other things that could defile it. After Daddy's prayer, a close friend, Chase Fowler, who I've known since birth and love dearly sang the song that is so near and dear to my heart. It is the essence of all that I have experienced. 
I Will Carry You by Selah
The song was written by a man in the group whose wife was pregnant with a child with a lethal disorder, a very similar situation to us. The second verse of the song actually speaks about their child which was a little girl, so it says "she" and "her" in a couple of places. When I asked Chase to sing, I meant to tell him to change those words to "he" and "him" but I forgot. I was so sad that I forgot to tell him something so important! 
Chase sang so beautifully and when he got to the second verse, the words were changed for my baby boy just like I wanted. Another very special tender mercy. 
Thank you, Chase.
I just cried and cried. Everything about his service was so beautiful and so perfect, just like him. I couldn't have asked for better. 
Lastly, the Bishop of my church gave the closing prayer. We all came out from under the tent and the funeral director released doves. The first three doves that were released represented Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost. They were released together. He released the fourth dove separately. It represented Charles Patrick. When Charles Patrick's dove flew out of the basket, he came out really fast and flew off in the opposite direction of the other three. But the 3 doves circled around to pick him up, and the four doves flew off together. We giggled about it later saying that Charles Patrick wanted to just go play for one minute. My sweet boy! But our loving Heavenly Father said, "Charles Patrick, you can play when we get home!" 
So so silly. Such a boy, isn't he? Everyone lined up to give us hugs. There were so many people present. I'm also still amazed at the weather. It was such a beautiful day. The sun beamed. Maybe it was my baby boy's spirit beaming from Heaven. 

He was one special boy and he was so, so loved. This is a special friend from my childhood who drove from Myrtle Beach to attend Charles Patrick's funeral. Her daughter is also one of God's special angels, buried only yards from Charles Patrick. I think they are going to be lovebirds in Heaven. Actually, I'm quite sure of it. Our Stake President from my church from Greenville even attended the funeral. How very special. 
We enjoyed hanging around the gravesite until everyone left and it was just family. It was such a beautiful day and such a beautiful service. We really didn't want to leave. 
Our family had dinner together at KC's church fellowship hall. KC blessed the food and was so filled with the spirit. He had a lot of strength to get up and do that in front of our families on such a hard day. But his prayer was the most touching and eternally-minded prayer I have ever heard. I love him so much. 
After dinner, we went home and I was so thankful to finally be home....alone....with my husband. We were both so exhausted that we crawled into bed and took a nap. I slept so soundly, but I jolted awake after a couple of hours in the worst panic I have ever felt in my life! My son!!! He was under all that dirt!!! I wanted to go dig him up! What is wrong with me? That is crazy!! I could not shake the panic off like you shake off a bad dream when you first wake up. I shook KC awake and cried to him. I'm going crazy. I told KC to please not let me go crazy. Why was I so panicked? My son is gone, we have to bury him. My poor baby. I guess this is the beginning. The beginning of the chaos, the grief...

Dear Lord, I love thee. I give my whole life to thee. Please fast forward the time to the point when I'm able to deal with this with a sound mind. Heavenly Father, save me. I'm drowning deep in a hole. The hole where my son lies. Remind me constantly that he is safe in thy arms. In Jesus Christ's name I pray. 

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Dressing My Son

January 29, 2011
It was a beautiful day today, very unlikely January weather. Sunny, 63 degrees. At 1:00pm, my sweet family met me at the funeral home. Mom, Dad, Summer, and Autumn all met me to assist me in the honor of dressing my beautiful son for his burial.
I had originally purchased a dupioni silk romper and cap for his burial clothes, but newborn sizes were just too large for his little body. Luckily, our perinatal nurse had given us a beautiful gift. The Palmetto Pleaters of Greenville, SC, made Charles Patrick a white gown with blue smocking. The bottom edge was lined with baby blue ribbon and his initials were embroidered on the front. It was the perfect size for my sweet baby boy. I'm so thankful for that gift. Had it not been so thoughtfully made, I don't know what I would have done.
We walked into the funeral home and I was so very nervous. I'd cried on the phone with my sister, Summer, all morning already because I was afraid to do this. On the day he was born, Charles Patrick's skin was so delicate. It is now two days later. Horrifying thoughts swarmed my head that are too upsetting to speak aloud. I was afraid, but this was something I wanted to do. To dress a loved one for their burial is a blessing and an honor, I know the Lord will be pleased with me if I do this. I know I will be pleased with myself if I do this.
I said a lot of prayers that morning. Prayers of strength. We go into his little room and I see my sweet baby lying on the table.
Pure joy every time I see him. Oh I love him so much. He is the most perfect thing I have ever seen. They had his skin wrapped in white cloth, and immediately all the scariness and nervousness went away. Thank you, Heavenly Father. 
The beautiful gown was a perfect fit. His newborn sized socks were a perfect fit on his big ole feet! When he was born, the hospital gave us a hand knitted cap and blanket. The baby blue cap was a perfect match for the gown. I also placed little white mittens on his hands. He was so beautiful. 
I felt so very proud of my son. He's been so strong and he did everything right. I was the one who felt so helpless. I was just so sorry. A mother should be able to help their baby! I wished so badly that there was something I could do to help him, or could've done. He still looked so beautiful laying there. My dad took a few pictures just to capture a few moments for me to remember. We all cried together. Before we left, we cut a tiny lock of hair to keep in his box of memories. 
Saying good-bye is never easy. It is so hard to just walk away from my baby boy. The only comfort at this moment is that I will see him again tomorrow. But what about after that? Saying good-bye is already excruciating, what about that last time? My stomach hurts to think about it. I just want to fast forward time to the point when I feel better. Anxiety, heartache, sadness, they just overwhelm me right now. 
As I walked out of the funeral home, once again I was enveloped by the sun and its warmth. We've had such an extreme winter. Only three weeks ago, we had a snow and ice storm that kept us out of school for an entire week. Now the sun is shining and the weather is beautiful. I spend the remainder of the day preparing for tomorrow. We've got a big day ahead of us. 

Friday, November 9, 2012

The Day After

January 28, 2011
Yesterday was the most amazing day of my life. It was the happiest and the saddest day all rolled into one. It was the birth and the death of our first born son, Charles Patrick. This morning, when I woke up, I was emotionally very somber. We had a lot to do today. KC and I had to plan our son's funeral and purchase burial plots. Things no one should have to do the day after the birth of their child.
I've been struggling with anxiety also. I am terrified that people are going to flood our home to visit and I just don't want to see anyone right now. Its so hard. I know they mean well, but right now I just want to be alone with my husband.
KC and I planned our sweet child's graveside service. Mark, KC's brother, came into town to help us make arrangements. KC really needed him. It was such a blessing to me also. KC had to go meet with the funeral director to make the service arrangements and discuss buying burial plots. I'm so glad I didn't have to go. There are two main cemeteries in this little ole town. KC has an emotional attachment to one. It is where his father is buried and where his mother will be buried. I, on the other hand, have an emotional attachment to the othe. It is where my family's plots are located. More so than our families plots, I feel a deep emotional connection to this cemetery because it is located only 3 blocks from our home.
I walk by this cemetery every day in the warm weather months. How amazing and beautiful it would be to be able to visit my son so easily. I need him near me. I can't read my husband very well on the matter. I know he wants the other cemetery, but I'm not sure how badly. I don't want to take away from his wants and needs for our baby. But every time I thought about burying Charles Patrick anywhere else, I cried big tears. I know deep down it does not matter where I lay his earthly body. It is not where he is. But I still could not deny the yearnings of my heart.
KC called me from the funeral home's office to tell me the price differences in the two cemeteries. My choice was considerably more expensive, but he said he wanted to go with my choice. My heart pounded fast. I knew he much preferred the opposite cemetery, and I didn't want him to make a fast decision he would regret.
No Regrets.
That was our pact in the hospital. Whatever decisions we made, we would make them together with no regrets. Most women would probably just accept the offer from their husbands and just be glad they got their way, but not me. I always feel guilty when KC sacrifices his own wants for my sake. I want to be able to sacrifice for him also, but I just couldn't shake the feelings that I needed Charles Patrick near me.  KC reassured me that it was what he wanted too. 
When I got off the phone, I just cried. How did I get blessed with such a wonderful man? I love him so much. I know this is a great sacrifice of his own feelings just to make me happy. I am so grateful.
At 3:15pm, we went to pick out our burial plots. We don't want our son to be buried alone, so we purchased our own plots for ourselves. We went to the front part of the cemetery located right on College Drive. It is a partly cloudy day and a little chilly, but the clouds weren't thick at all. They were just barely covering the sun. The man showed us the first plot. I liked it. It was under a big tree and I am always partial to trees. He pointed up the hill to the other plot and, at first glance, I figured I'd probably just choose the spot there under the tree. We walked up the hill and he showed us the second plot choice. At that very moment, the sun came out from behind the clouds and warmed my face. I didn't have to choose anymore. Charles Patrick just chose for me. 
All my life, when I am sad, confused, or really just anytime, I have found peace, comfort, and answers from Heavenly Father in a very unique way. There have been so many times when I've been outside among nature or driving in my car, and the sun will peek through the leaves of a tree or come through a cloud. I can feel the warmth on my face and I imagine it is Heavenly Father cupping His Hands around my face and saying, 
"Peace, my little one. I hear your prayers and all will be well."
I've found myself on many occasions searching for the sun to feel that warmth and feel that beautiful feeling again and again. And now here I am, picking out a place to bury my son's sweet little body, and the sun comes out as our feet reach that burial place. 
It makes me wonder....all those beautiful moments? Were they just my son's spirit leading me to the path that would bring him to this Earth? Was it him all the time? I know he has watched over me throughout my life. I've always felt him. I've always felt that my children watched over me from Heaven, leading and guiding me to the path that would bring them to Earth. 
Sweet tender mercies. I am so sad today, but I'm so thankful. My son has a great mission, but it isn't on this Earth. He has a mission beyond the veil to do for our Father in Heaven. I wonder what tasks the Lord has put him to work to do? I know he would have been a busy body and a perfectionist. Heavenly Father has great things in store for him. I know it. I'm so honored to be his mother. 

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