One of the amazing sites/blogs I follow is Glow in the Woods. They have recently added a topic to their blog on "How to Plan a Funeral for a Baby." They have several experiences down for parents of lost babies to read about. I remember when we lost Lucas and Caleb, I felt we were on our own on this one. When, in reality, many before us had traveled this road. I thought I would share the decisions we made and the reasons we made them. Along with recoginze some amazing people in our lives.
Willy and I never discussed before this journey what we would do if one of our children were to pass. A parent never wants to think about that, let alone talk about it with their partner. I personally had tossed around the idea of being cremated instead of buried for several reasons. And I know Willy and I have discussed briefly his choice. But never for our children.
I read on another blog (but can't find it) about how the decisions you make at a time like this are gut decisions. That it's a good thing you are doped up and exhausted mentally, emotionally, and physically. That exhaustion keeps you from overthinking all the important decisions. At times you don't have the time to think about all this, you just have to answer. And 9 times out of 10, it's the answer you would choose if you pondered long enough. It may be years down the road, but it's the right answer. And I agree with this.
Willy and I didn't even discuss what we wanted to do with Lucas after both boys were delivered. That night before Willy left, we honestly thought we had some time to think about it, and that night wasn't it. We had no idea that just a few hours from that moment I would be delivering both boys and the hospital staff would want to know our preference.
I remember waking up in recovery. The nurse asked me if I wanted Lucas in my room so that I could hold him. I instinctively said, "Yes." She then said, "Lucas weighed over 15 oz, so the hospital can't take care of his body." My first thought was take care? What do you mean by "take care?" She asked if we would want him buried or cremated.
At this very moment I looked at Willy with probably the saddest look in my eyes. My amazing husband said, "Cremated." And I felt numb. I was okay with the decision, I thought. And I would ponder it later. And the only arrangements I thought of making was to cancel the baby shower. We would have a celebration when we brought Caleb home.
When Caleb passed in my arms 24 hours later, I told Willy I wanted to make sure the twins left the hospital together and would be cremated together. They are brothers and should always be together. He said he would take care of it. I told him I couldn't deal with any of the funeral home stuff. He said he would take care of it.
I knew that I wanted some kind of memorial service. Willy said the only person he would be okay with giving it would be Pastor Jeff. Pastor had been there when I was on bedrest, when we lost Lucs, and was standing with our family when Caleb drew his last breath and his heart beat it's last beat.
I called my wonderful friend, Kristan, and told her that we would really like to have a service at the church sometime the following week. She said she would take care of it. Within hours she had food arranged and childcare arranged. She had also contacted those in our church and MOPS family to deliver the sad news later the arrangements for the service. The only details I had to take care of was date and time, and a song to be played.
The service was beautiful. We had a table set up with Lucas and Caleb's ashes, their monkeys, floral arrangements, and a small scrapbook with their pictures in it that I had put together over the weekend. And there were over 100 friends and family there to support us. We really felt the love that day. Willy even had co-workers from over 200 miles away travel to be with us. Pastor spoke so well and so true. And Carmen and Kristie sang "Amazing Grace" so beautifully.
I am happy with all the decisions we made. Willy was right on in knowing that I would want Lucas and Caleb here at home with me. I could never imagine having to go somewhere to visit them. And what if we ever moved? I am glad we had pictures of them taken and that I held them both, seperately and together. I am also happy with the decision of having Colton and Ethan there. Even though they had very little of an idea about it all, they were there. And I am ever so grateful that we had the service to celebrate their lives and mourn their passing.
Thank you to those that have made this journey a little easier. And thank you to everyone who was with us for the service. Your presence on that day helps me everyday.