Saturday, April 25, 2015

Saying Good-Bye

   I've been to very few funerals. I have an incredibly small circle of those close to me, and it is gut-wrenchingly difficult for me to lose anyone. The permanence of a burial has been impossible for me to face, to the point that I have been to so few I can count them on one hand. Saying a final good-bye to my son was unfathomably impossible. And yet beautiful.
   Asher was born at a private Catholic hospital, and we were told before his birth that they regard ALL life as sacred, so they(with an area funeral home) held burials for the families of those who lost babies for free. For those who have never been through this process, most don't realize that when a baby is born before 20 weeks, it is medically regarded as "pregnancy tissue" and is disposed of by the hospital. For the hospital, funeral home, and community to acknowledge our tiny children as human beings worthy of respect is enormous. Just incredibly important and indescribably wonderful. To most of the world, my son was too small to matter. To most who haven't been through this kind of experience(and some who have), he was tissue, and his birth was cramping and bleeding. But that's not true. He mattered. He was significant. He IS our son. To be GIVEN a service for him alongside the other sacred lives in our community who never drew a breath outside the womb was immeasurably important.
   The service was held at Mount Calvary cemetery in downtown Richmond. It was officiated by the Diocese of Richmond, and facilitated by Bliley Funeral Home and the Knights of Columbus. To them he mattered, and to us that was so meaningful.

There were so many families there. Too many. Some babies as young or younger than Asher. Some full term. A set of twins buried together. So much heartache. So many tiny white caskets, so many devastated families grieving the recent(more recent than ours) losses of their babies.

The procession, carrying, and placement of the caskets by the Knights of Columbus was incredibly somber and respectful. My husband and I both remarked to each other at the deeply passionate calling all these people must have to perform this service for the area families on a regular(every month or two) basis. 

The hardest thing about the entire service was the tangible nature of it all. The son I never got to hold in my arms was there, in a box, right in front of me, and still I could not hold him. Then I had to place that box in a hole in the ground, turn, and walk away from it. From the little tiny piece of him left here on Earth. I cannot describe the difficulty in that experience. 

We gave our kids the option of coming with us or going to a friend's house. The girls chose to go with us. Our oldest was painfully aware of all that was going on, and broke down crying as we walked away from the graveside. 

The tomb of the unborn, for all babies stillborn.

Later that day, a double rainbow danced around our backyard. It felt like a promise, just for us, of what's to come.

And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. Revelation 21:4

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