Friday, October 26, 2012

Unexpected Landmines

It's next week.  The Deathaversary.  The march has been going quite smoothly this year.  As I've said before....after 7 years you'd think I'd be a pro.  Not so fast...

In the life is not fair category this week:  I attended the funeral of a good friend's baby girl.  Two days.  She only got to be with her lovely mommy and daddy for two days.  So not fair.  I can't even describe the awfulness of such a tiny coffin.  So beautiful and so so sad.  I sat in the service, quietly watching the slideshow of her pictures, feeling the sadness and confusion in the air.  How can it be okay for one so small not to make it?  How? 

Daddy went quietly to the podium and began in a shaky voice to describe his love and his loss and the memories he hopes will one day fill him with joy instead of agony.  Although I wanted to just be present for his pain, I was surprised to find my mind traveling back in time for a moment and I saw myself speak at Daniel's funeral. 

I didn't cry, and I'm not sure how.  I wasn't sure I'd be able to do it and had asked Daniel's cousin to be my understudy in case I choked.  Instead of feeling sad, in those moments during the funeral I felt driven.  I needed to say how much I loved him, how much I would miss him, and what an amazing man he was.  I needed to hear my own voice say it and I needed to know that our friends and family heard me.  I felt motivated by I'm not sure what, but I wanted to shout from the rooftops "he was mine, he was wonderful, and now he is gone but never forgotten."   When I was done, I wanted to collapse.  I wanted to sit by his coffin and cry until they took him away.  It was awful. 

All of these memories flashed in my mind in the moments that I heard my friend's eulogy for their baby girl.  My flashback was over in a blink and I was back with my friends.  It was heart breaking.   I don't know how they feel exactly.  I don't know what compelled him to speak at such a bleak moment.  The loss of a child seems so terrible I can't quite grasp it.  I see Grayson's face and I go cold.  I can't even imagine it.  More truthfully, I can imagine it.  I try not to, but my mind goes there often.  My worry for Grayson is palpable and something I have to manage on a very regular basis. 

I know death comes whenever it wants and I pray that death passes over me and mine for a very, very long time.  I know I can't control it.  The march reminds me I can't control it.  Life can be so painfully short.  The march reminds me to hug tight those I love and cherish every day. 


  1. It's the march for me too, but I feel like I've been walking it all month. Thanks for posting, praying for you and your friends.

  2. Thanks for your reflective post.
    My day job is that I care for dying and deceased babies...early loss, late pregnancy loss (I hate the words miscarriage &stillbirth) neonatal death and SIDS as well as those who are born with known lethal conditions (and the prep for those births that can last for months). I could put myself at that funeral as I have been to many of them.

    I would like to share a sweet unexpected blessing of my work...I care for about 80-100 families a year for 8 years...I loved serving them as it was an honor. In this small town, word of my husbands sudden death travelled quickly. My bereaved moms didnt even wait for the funeral, they showed up on my porch with food, kleenex, benadry, warm pudding, love, & help. THey came to the funeral by the dozen.

    At the end of the funeral, my daughter said that someone had thrown away her retainers...we were leaving the next day to travel cross country to my husbands burial and need the retainers found. The trash had already been cleaned out of the church hall to the dumpster out back. One of my bereaved moms from a few years ago (who is a fancy upscale lady unaccustomed to such an activity) bolted out of the building and dove into the dumpster assisted by another mom who lifted her up.

    Watching those 2 women show their love for me by diving in that dumpster was one of the most amazing things I have ever seen.

    Kudos to you for going to your friend's baby's funeral, some people get too scared. Good for you for seeing how it was a shared experience and reflect on your loss without making it all about you. Thank you for indulging me in sharing my story (I know it isnt all about me)

  3. You would think, having been through my own traumatic loss, I would know how to ease another's - what to say, what to do to make it a little better. But what I have really been taught is that everyone's pain is their own, and that maybe all I can do is sit there and listen, and maybe offer them things that I have tried, knowing that it might not help them at all. God bless the people who can sit and listen.

  4. How is this for a landmine? My husband died recently and last night (while going through stuff in his office to decide what to keep/throw) I put an unmarked CD in my computer and found a whole album of photos of the woman he had an affair with.

    The affair was 7 years ago and i healed slowly and often awkwardly because he was never willing to really understand how awful it was for me at the time. His refusal to look the monster in theface left us healing from 2 different deaiing with the enormity of it and he dealing with the tiny part he was willing to admit was real...and evenin death that sort of continues.

  5. @Tammy - love your story of your dumpster divers! You are amazing to love on and care for the tiny ones. My little guy was a preemie, and the neo-natal nurses were fantastic. Thanks for what you do. I saw two of your compadres at the funeral last week, and I was so impressed to see them carry that job all the way through. Inspiring!

    @Claire - excellent advice. There is nothing we can say to make it better. Listening is definitely the key.

    As for you anonymous...I'm so sorry, it must have been very difficult to see those photos. I'm sending you a big hug xo