Sunday, July 25
The last milestone
One year ago, after a tough morning, we arrived at the funeral home to say goodbye to Connor here on Earth.
I wasn't ready to say goodbye.
I suppose that's about the most obvious thing that I could say- but I wasn't ready.
Seeing him for the first time- dressed in clothes that we picked out, but couldn't put on him, wrapped in a blanket that belonged to his brother- was so very hard. You're never fully prepared to see someone at a funeral, but I was clueless as to what to expect in seeing my own baby. His had so much bleeding and bruising on his head I was terrified what he would look like- but he was perfect. So tiny, so beautiful, my baby.
After Johnny and I saw him in his tiny casket, the funeral director- who in a very odd coincidence was someone Johnny had gone to elementary school with years ago, someone who just recently had dealt with the stillbirth of his own baby girl- began to close the lid. He cautioned us that no one would want to see a baby in a casket, it was just too wrong. But we persisted and kept the lid open. I couldn't bear the thought of standing around while my baby was locked in a box. I needed the comfort of seeing his precious features.
People began to arrive- some expected, some very unexpected- but all so greatly appreciated. Connor was so very tiny in his box- many people bypassed the front not even knowing that he was there with us. When they realized he was with us, everyone who viewed him told us how incredibly perfect and beautiful he was. And he was.
The funeral passed, we stayed as strong as we could be. But we were watched closely. Wherever we were I felt the eyes on my back, on my face, scrutinizing me for the moment I would crumble. But we didn't. We held together. Johnny spoke out words.
We were so lucky that, despite the tragedy before us, we had a miracle waiting back in the hospital for us. A miracle who had just reached 28 weeks. The miracle that I am convinced is the only reason I am still function right now.
At the end, Johnny and I were once again alone with our baby. Our first son. To say goodbye to him for this lifetime. I can't even express the agony in my heart the moment we had to shut the lid, to say goodbye. But we did it. Somehow we did it.
And as stumbled out of the funeral hall clutching a few possessions- Connor's photos, his turtle, a blanket- my parents were waiting across the street. Not to talk to us- but to make sure I was okay. They knew I wasn't, that I wouldn't be, but I was walking and breathing.
And really, what more could have been expected at that moment?
We visited our miracle, the bright spot in the eternal darkness and then my family and I went to dinner. All in dark colors, those around us might have suspected where we were coming from. But there is no way they knew just how horrible it was. Or that at that moment I was begging everything and everyone who would listen that I wouldn't have to go through another funeral like this one. That I needed my miracle baby to stay alive. To get bigger and healthier and to come home to mommy and daddy. Because I felt so broken, so hurt, that I wasn't sure I could handle anymore without him.
One year ago. How I ache to see his face again. To kiss his forehead. To tell him how very much he is loved.
I love you, sweet boy.