Saturday, October 29, 2011

Ellie's Celebration

Planning a funeral was always sort of a mysterious thing to me... How did something so large come to fruition so quickly? How do you make decisions like that for a loved one when you are so devastated? I never in a million years thought that I would plan a funeral for one of my children- a baby at that. Thankfully, we had a group of people that just kind of did everything for us. We said what we wanted- well mostly what we didn't want- and everything just sort of happened.
As I've said before, we didn't have a regular church to have Ellie's funeral at, my aunt stepped in a took care of that by enlisting her's and my grandparent's church. The Pastor- the amazing Pastor Paul- and the "Caring Ministry" were unbelievable. They took care of everything, and were so kind and caring about it all. We told the Pastor many times that we didn't want the funeral to be completely depressing- that wasn't Ellie. We wanted pink and purple- not old lady funeral flower arrangements or old church hymns. Pastor Paul did pause for a second when we said we wanted a Pearl Jam song played at the end, but once he listened to it- he agreed.
I can't say Ellie's funeral was perfect. The words Ellie and funeral and perfect don't belong together. But it was the best we could do for her. We wanted all of the people who never got a chance to meet Ellie, to know just how amazing she was. We asked people to wear bright colors, especially pink and purple, we made poster boards of her pictures, we had people write notes on pink and purples hearts to send up on balloons, we handed out her picture with bows, jingle bells (Elle Bells) and Baby Beluga lyrics on them. An entire congregation sang her Baby Beluga one last time. My cousin sang a song, another cousin read her a poem. I had a chance to tell everyone how perfect, funny and loving our girl was. My friend made a beautiful video to show exactly what I was talking about.
So many people came that day to celebrate a life just nine months long; people we hadn't seen or talked to in years, family members from across the country, the OB that delivered Ellie, her pediatrician and his nurse, my old co-workers still scrubs, my dad's co-workers in uniform. Ellie had a her own little honor guard, and a police escort to the cemetery. Ellie's two uncles and our two guy friends carried her small casket and laid her to rest for the final time. Our closest friends and family gathered around her casket while Pastor Paul said his final words, and while we placed white roses on her casket. We all sent Ellie balloons with little heart messages to let her know how loved and missed she was.
It wasn't at all how I planned to spend October 29th, 2010. But I think we did the best we could for her. And I think she was there with us that day- she knew how much we loved her. She knew we wanted her back more than anything... She knew it shouldn't be this way, and she knew that she needed to show us she was with us. And that she was ok...

Ellie's beautiful picture and her little tutu
Having to show 3 and 4 year olds what Ellie's casket is something that we should have never had to do.
Trying to keep Max entertained...
Quick story: The man in the picture is the chiropractor we took both kids to for their reflux. When we got to the church for Ellie's funeral, I noticed Dr. D was there. He said that the church had called a couple of days before to see if he could usher at funeral at their church on Friday. He said no, because they had planned on going to Ellie's funeral... The church later called him back to say the funeral was Ellie's... So Dr. D ended up being an usher at Ellie's funeral and passing out her pictures. It's funny how this world works sometimes...
Me giving Ellie's eulogy
The last clip from Ellie's video was an actual video of Ellie- taken a week before she died. In this clip she is waving...

Just some of Ellie's procession...

Nearly impossible to see, I know- but its an eagle (that has started to move away) that was hovering above the burial
Placing white roses on Ellie's casket

Ellie's Balloon Release: Only three balloons got stuck in the trees- read this post to see why it was so amazing that those specific balloons got stuck.

12 comments:

Robin said...

My heart just aches for you and your family. Ellie is a lucky little girl to have a family who loves her so much. There is no doubt in my mind she knows this. Praying for you and your family in this season of grief. God bless.

Caroline said...

Praying for you all so much.

LauraJane said...

It looks to me like you were able to make something awful into something so beautiful for your daughter. Some of coincidences (the chiro and the balloons) are too crazy to be accidental. And the fact Ellie's pediatrician and the doctor who delivered her were there just speaks volumes about the character of these people.
xox

Kelly said...

I remember when Adam was dying, I believe our hospital social worker mentioned funeral. And I thought, Oh my god, we have to plan a funeral...for our SON. Awful moment.

Ellie's celebration looked beautiful (not the right word cuz of the nature of the day). We didn't have a big celebration for Adam cuz we didn't know anyone here. But all of Jim's coworkers came, in their military dress blues, and it was very respectful. It was MLK day, and everyone took time to dress up (on their day off) and pay their respects. I'm hoping the memorial we have back home in a couple weeks is just as beautiful as what Ellie's seemed.

Ok, one more thing, and I'm done. Ellie's tiny little casket is heartbreaking. When we went to look at urns, we walked through a room of caskets. No tiny little baby ones to be seen. And I kept thinking, cuz babies aren't supposed to die. :(

(((hugs)))

ccc said...

I thought of you often yesterday. Same day, same thing happening that we will both always remember. Ellie's funeral was so well attended and beautiful--a testament to how much people love her. The chiro. dr incident and the balloons(I remember that post from before) are merely orchestrations that constantly go on without our asking which shows us that there is a higher power and that our children are in good hands till we get there with them.
{{hugs}}

Macuil said...

There shouldn't a casket small enough! That was a beautiful celebration of Ellie's life!

ThInking of you constantly!

Many, many, many hugs!!!!!!!

NewYearMum2.blogspot.com said...

Sounds like such a beautiful day from your darling angel... you're right - no family should ever have to plan a funeral for their baby. Lovely to you had so many people to support you and that there was colours and music that she loved. Thinking of you so often over the past week and forever xoxo

Beth said...

once again, you amaze me. I have wondered this also. how a funeral is planned in the midst of such unspeakable grief and shock. looks like everyone rallied and sent Ellie off with style. The thought of everyone singing Baby Beluga is just unbelievably moving to me. You definetly represented Ellie during this celebration. The pink and purple, the lovely photos, the balloons, the songs, the Elle Bells. amazing. Her light still shines.

ferfischer said...

I'm so glad you posted on my blog - I'm happy to 'meet' you - and I just spent a ton of time reading back through your blog. Our stories are different I know, but your writing, like mine, I think, puts it out there and is heartbreakingly honest. I will now be thinking of you at the end of October as well, as these anniversaries pass every year. <3

Ashley said...

Amazing.

Ashley said...

Thank you for sharing those pictures with us! Such a sad moment but definitely her life was celebrated. Thinking of you still!!

Sarita Boyette said...

What a lovely celebration of life for Ellie, although I sincerely wish there had not been a need for one. She was so loved and it shows in these pictures. xoxo

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