Friday, October 28, 2011

Saying Good-bye

Tonight, we carved pumpkins- well Dave and I carved pumpkins, and Max painted his pumpkin. We put Ellie's name on a pumpkin for home, and a heart with angel wings on a pumpkin for the cemetery. Two pumpkins for a little girl who missed celebrating her first Halloween by just six days. Six days... After pumpkins were cleaned up, I finished painting tiny boxes for the bereavement program- Lock of Hair boxes for families like us. Why is this our life? Why can't we have two toddlers freaked out by pumpkin goo? Why are we making pumpkins for a cemetery? Why am I painting boxes for the hospital? Why is Ellie gone?

I wish I could say that I wish we had our life back from a year ago... but now it's been over a year since Ellie was taken away. A whole year without the little cuddly, chubby girl that made us laugh with her silly antics and growls. One year ago tonight, we saw our Ellie at the funeral home. The last time we saw Ellie's body. We weren't going to see Ellie's body again, but the funeral home director convinced us that it might be helpful... Was it? I'm not sure...
When we arrived at the funeral home, Dave and I went in first. With vomit in my throat, we walked up to her tiny, white casket at the back of the room. I remember bursting into tears when I saw how awful she looked. For some reason, I had hoped we would get one more glimpse of the face we recognized. It wasn't possible. The director had tried- he called my Dad several times to say he was trying; he'd never been this affected by a person before... She looked horrible. Fake. Honestly, I don't remember exactly what she looked like. I pray I never do. I just remember crying at how bad it was.
The funeral director helped us put a pink bow in her hair, and her first jewelry- a pearl necklace and bracelet on her. The bracelet didn't fit her swollen wrist and we had to drape it through her fingers, along with her nuk. We talked to her, rubbed her fuzzy hair over and over again. The funeral director had tried to convince us to bring a hat for her, as he couldn't cover the coloring on her scalp, but I wanted to be able to see and feel her hair. I can still remember, and always will, remember closing my eyes, and rubbing my face through her hair.
We placed all of the items we had brought into her casket... pictures, letters, Georgie (we bought Max a replacement- he never knew...), a couple books, and a musical puppy that Max picked out. I painted her fingernails a bright pink- I did a horrible job... our siblings, parents, and my grandparents came into the room. Everyone took turns saying their last good bye to Ellie. Max was there, but he never asked to see what was in the casket, so we never lifted him up. I don't think that we even told him why we were there...
We had our family step back out and took some more time with our girl. I wanted to hold her so bad, but there was no way, she was too big, her skin too fragile, fluids were still leaking out... I sang her Baby Beluga, and read her a story- "God Gave Us You"... I must have kissed her a million times and rubbed her head even more. We told her "I love you" over and over again... As we were standing over Ellie, for the last time, looking down at her, all of a sudden, from her left eye, came a single tear. It slid right down her temple, under her ear, and into her hair... I know why it happened- I know what was happening with her body at the time... But I don't know what to think of it happening right then- right as we were kissing her for the last time...
We asked the funeral director to carefully place everything into the casket with her before closing it. We asked him not to move the blankie from her cheek- she liked to have it there, or her nuk from her hand. We asked him to pull the string on her musical puppy and put it beside her as he closed the lid. It killed me to think of her being in there... At least the music wouldn't make it so scary...
I don't know that it helped to see her again. I guess maybe it did. It was nice to know that someone had tried, very hard, to make her look at best they could. They were respectful with her, she was carefully washed, and respectfully put into her fleece pink footie pjs, and placed her onto my baby blanket. We know it was hard for the people at the funeral home, they told us, it was comforting to know that someone lovingly did the things for her that we weren't able to. The funeral home director had even called me to let me know when they picked Ellie up from the hospital- just so I knew where she was. He understood a mother needs to know where her baby is- always, and no matter what...

They say when you decide to have a child, you are choosing to let a piece of your heart walk around outside your body. It's true. Without a doubt, it's true. But what happens when that piece of your heart isn't walking around? What happens when you have to put that piece of your heart into a tiny white casket and bury it? I guess that piece of your heart stays there forever... You certainly don't get it back... not that I'd want it back anyways- that piece will always be her's.

14 comments:

Sarita Boyette said...

I read this through tears. I'm thankful that you had a caring funeral director who catered to your needs in such a respectful manner. You did beautiful things for Ellie at the funeral home. The tear in her eye - wow, I don't know what to think about that. Was it somehow a message from her? Your sweet Ellie was one of a kind & I'm sad that she is gone. Wish we could turn back the clock and have her healthy & whole again. xoxo

Sweet B's Mom said...

I am very sorry for the loss of your precious daughter. The way that you described your last moments with her in this post, was beautiful. I believe that the tear that came from her eye was definitely symbolic. Maybe you don't know the exact meaning of it now, but you will someday.

Big hugs to you.

NewYearMum2.blogspot.com said...

Dear Tiffany... my heart breaks for you and what you're going through. Each memory must be so hard and you're so right in saying "you are choosing to let a piece of your heart walk around outside your body"... and is so unbearable to have that piece away from you. I've been thinking of you all week and sending you my love xoxo

LauraJane said...

I am sobbing. You are such a wonderful mother, you really and truly are. I know it must have been so difficult for you, and for Dave and your family. And you're absolutely right, that part of your heart will always be will Ellie, as a piece of hers is with you.

And the tear? Wow.
xox

B. Wilson said...

I know just how hard those photos are to look at. Nothing can possibly be more heartbreaking than leaving your deceased child behind.

I love what you said about a mother giving a piece of her heart to a child. And what if that piece of heart isn't walking around (anymore)? Gosh I understand. It's definitely worth the risk, but ever the more painful than any of us could've ever grasped.

You are an incredible, incredible mother.

Solange, Nik and Caitlin said...

I am so very sorry for the loss of your daughter. I am still crying while writing this and can't even begin to imagine your pain.

Macuil said...

Ohh Tiffany, my heart breaks for you. What a great mommy you are! YOU make Ellie so proud! Thinking you you sweet Ellie!

Kelly said...

I very rarely cry when I read blog posts. I get emotional, but don't cry. This made me cry. You are so brave. Once Adam passed, I didn't want to see his body anymore. The hospital kept telling us we would have to identify his body at the funeral home, and I never wanted to. I didn't, and I can't even remember if Jim did. You are a wonderful mother. Thank you so much for sharing such personal photos with us. You are amazing. Love you.

Rebecca said...

Oh sweet Mama...I am so terribly sorry for your loss. Your love for your daughter shines like the warm October sun through your words...so warm and beautiful and comforting and true. She is so lucky to have you.

Thank you so much for sharing her with us. I just love looking at that sweet happy face!

May love and light be with you always,
Rebecca

Erin said...

Thank you for bravely sharing these heartbreaking photos. Somehow you find the words to describe the unspeakable. I am so sorry for your loss. I hope with the passing of this first anniversary, you will find healing and peace.

ccc said...

I can only think of one word to say--unfair.

Rachel said...

Thank you for sharing these intimate moments with all of us.

Ashley said...

So very heartbreaking. Reading this post takes me right back to my last days with Erik. Thinking of you always Tiffany!!!!

Harlowe said...

I'm trying not to cry since I'm at work (and failing). It's so hard to think that that is Ellie in there, it just doesn't make sense. Thank you for sharing these pictures, thinking of you all in this hard time.

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