It has been one year ago today that friends and family gathered to say goodbye to you. God had given me so much strength for that day. The memories I have of the visitation are so sweet. As we have hit the one year anniversary of your death, God has been so good to us, letting me be calm and at peace. I can’t thank him enough.
The Visitation: I remember picking out your outfit. At first I wanted you in all white, but then changed my mind to your Easter dress. Well the Easter dress didn’t fit your swollen little body. So we looked through a bin of clothes that were once to big for you. We found the perfect dress that was blue and coral with a floral print. It was beautiful just like you. The funeral home later called to tell us that they also needed a hat to cover your head and a sweater to cover your little arms. You had been poked and prodded so much that I am assuming they wanted to hide bruises.
We had asked the funeral home to lay you in the casket the way you always slept, butt up in the air. When you were in the hospital, there were so many cords and tubes hooked up to you that you couldn’t lay on your belly. You would roll around and try to get comfortable but everything kept getting in the way. So we wanted your final resting to be with your knees tucked under you and butt up. It always made us laugh.
As we walked into the funeral home, I was so nervous and anxious. I wanted to see you so badly but didn’t know what to expect. Your dad and I walked in hand and hand, trying to give each other strength and support. As we walked up to you, the funeral director warned us that they couldn’t get you situated the way we asked. You had to be laid on your back instead of curled into a ball on your belly. But then I saw you. You looked so beautiful that nothing else mattered. Not all, but a lot of your swelling went down. Your dress was perfect and you looked so peaceful. I couldn’t get over how good you looked. It brought instant relief and joy to my broken heart.
Your casket was to be closed after us family members said our goodbyes. We had a beautiful casket cover with your picture in it to place on top of your closed casket. The colors of flowers were lavenders, corals and whites. It was beautiful. You had looked so different in your final hours at the hospital that I didn’t want anyone to remember you like that or to see how badly your body was beat. But you looked like an angel laying there, so perfect and beautiful that I instantly asked if we could keep the casket open. I wanted everyone to see my beautiful little girl. I was so proud of you. I’m not sure why those words kept going through my head, but I was so proud of you. Proud of what? I’m not sure.
As people lined up to say their final goodbyes and show us support, I would lead people over to see you. I wanted everyone to see you. I would say, “Come see my beautiful little girl.” I acted like a proud momma showing off a prize. I know it seems quite ironic and some might have thought I was on the verge of losing it, but it gave me so much peace to show them my little girl. I would follow my first comment with, “She has big plans for us” as I would rub your little hand. I didn’t know what plans they would be, but I knew you came into this world for a reason and I was the one lucky enough to be called your mom.
The line wrapped around the building. Everyone came to see my little angel and it touched my heart so deeply. We knew it would be a long night, but it never felt like it. The more people that wanted to see you, the happier I was. I never grew tired of standing or telling your story over and over. There are key people that I remember greeting through line. One was my best friend Becky. She came right over to you and sank her head down on the edge of your tiny casket. She cried like any best friend would.
That evening when it was finally time to say goodnight, I gave you a sweet kiss and said that I would see you again in the morning. We laid our “God Wink” peony in your casket and it felt like we were just tucking you in for the night. I still was in such awe of your beauty. I couldn’t thank the funeral directors enough for making you shine.
Every night I picture Jesus tucking you in and you smiling your toothless grin at him. But tonight as I think back to a year ago, I am remembering so clearly that last time I tucked you in to your final bed. I can’t say I’ll see you in the morning, but I will see you again. Goodnight sweet girl, Mommy is so proud of you.