Minutes earlier, she entered the room wearing scrubs, ironically featuring a host of whimsical little angels. Without prelude she began peppering me with questions. “Have you thought about which funeral home you would like to use? We can coordinate with them. Oh, and do you have an idea what day the funeral will be?”
Without awarding me sufficient time to process her words, let alone attempt a response, she kept firing “Do you want to have a full autopsy performed after the delivery? I can arrange a time for pick up and transport to Burlington”. I was stunned, immobile and effectively rendered mute.
The walls closed in, the gaping hole in the floor widened, beckoning me to jump. Why stay here in this world of tragedy and madness where nurses speak of funerals and autopsies? How could I answer or even think about those things. Why did I need to? It wasn’t necessary. I will feel every part of this delivery. I will use my well-practiced breathing techniques to endure unfathomable quantities of pain. My baby will cry when she arrives. She will live. The miracle will blow them all way.
As I existed somewhere between reality and fantasy, my parents and in-laws, informed the staff, “Any further questions about necessary arrangements will be directed to one of us”.
They met with the director of the funeral home, they arranged for the burial service, they picked the casket, and they paid every penny. My mother-in-law graciously donated her pre-owned plot and my mom went to our local children’s shop to find a burial gown. The owner noticing her obvious dismay helped to pick out the perfect gown, a delicate white dress with embroidered red rosebuds. Beneath the handmade quilt Nana had just finished, her burial would be warm, cozy and full of love.
A newly forged team, the four grandparents planned the reception, contacted the priest, and countless other duties I was never told. As a group they came together to make all these decisions and only when I was ready, did they tell me the parts I wanted to know.
"I read your article in the paper and was touched" my postmaster said Friday as I opened the PO box to check the day's mail. "I'm so glad you started a group. Would you be interested in some homemade baby buntings?"
We talked further. She told me how she connected with a group of women online who make these for families after a loss. She's been making them and sending them out to Ohio where they are distributed to hospitals and funeral homes for infant burials. We talked about how parents are often overwhelmed with grief when told their baby is dead, and the idea of making funeral preparations is beyond their ability.
If not for my parents and in-laws, I cannot say what Emma's funeral would have been or when - for that matter. If not for them - who knows if she would have been respected, let alone loved.
MY SINCERE THANKS WITH ABOUNDING GRATITUDE TO PAM FOR MAKING THESE!