The Funeral

February 13, 2014  •  Leave a Comment

We sat on an airplane for 18 hours.  We endured turbulence like none other.  It was the worst plane ride of my life.  It was a trip I didn't want to take, to a place I didn't want to go.  We were scattered across the plane; me and the girls towards the back, Gerald and Izayah sat up front.  We landed in San Francisco and we sat and waited for our next flight.  The layover was long, the kids did well.  We landed in Salt Lake and we sat and waited for our next flight.  The layover was long, the kids did well.  We landed in Great Falls all that remained was a 25 minute car ride.  

I took my sleeping pills.  I did not sleep.  

We got out of bed and the planning began.  First we met the priest who would burry our daughter as a favor to my parents as we were not practicing Catholics.  I was left with a planning guide and options.  Do we want this verse or this verse?  Do we want this one or this one?  Verse A or B?  I didn't want to be selecting bible verses.  The funeral home called.  I needed to write the obituary….I needed to write the obituary, the obituary for our daughter, our daughter whose eye color I don't even know, our daughter I never heard laugh, never saw smile, never comforted, I needed to write the obituary for a child I never knew.  

I took my sleeping pills, more than the night before.  I did not sleep.

We got out of bed.  I began to read the cards that were starting to come in.  I began to design a thank you card to mail out.  We got in the car and drove to the city.  We had to visit the funeral home and discuss our options.  We needed to go next door and select our daughters final resting place.  We had to decide what we wanted her name plate to read, did we want a crucifix, we took a tour of the mausoleum.  They had an entire section just for babies and children.

I took my sleeping pills, more than the night before.  I did not sleep.  

Family was arriving, flowers were arriving, cards kept coming.  Emails via the paper that posted her obituary were coming.  People I never in a million years thought we would hear from were sending their love.  People I knew would be there were calling to say they couldn't make it.  I began to wonder who would be at her funeral.  I didn't care.  Music needed to be selected.  

The night before her funeral we finished the CD for the funeral.  We went over the details of the funeral.  I worked on her memory box so we could have it displayed at the funeral.  Clothes all ironed.  This was it.  

We walked in the wrong door.  Walking down the wrong hallway, turning down the wrong hallway, trying to find my baby.  Trying to find my baby that came across the ocean on her own, under an airplane, in a box.  I hadn't seen her since they wheeled her out of the hospital room.  I turned the corner and there she was.  It was such a tiny little box.  So tiny, covered in white lace-it was prettier than I had expected.  Surrounded by flowers and a picture her uncle had drawn.  I sat down on the floor and I cried.  I cried. I cried.  I am so sorry are still the only words I could say.  It was a closed casket-I would not be able to see her one last time.  I would not be able to touch her one last time.  I sat down.  

I have no idea what the priest said.  He is Polish with a very heavy accent.  I am sure whatever it was it had great meaning and was very uplifting.  The kids had each written a paragraph to read.  One of them read their's, one did not.  I think, I don't remember, I do not know.  I did not cry.  I was strong for my family.  I was strong for whomever was sitting behind me.  I stood up as my brother and brother-in-law walked past with her little casket.  I turned out of my pew and my eyes met Trevor.  I cried.  I cried and I thought oh my god, Trevor is here.  Why did that make me loose it-I never had him on my list of people I'm sure will be there and yet there he was.  Next to him stood his brother-I saw no one else.  

We all walked to her final resting place, to the hole in a wall she would be placed.  Words were said.  People began the procession out.  I hugged complete strangers that day.  People I had never met, that came because they knew my parents.  I hugged people I had known most my life, grandparents of friends from school.  Old family friends were there, people I had known briefly through my parents were there.  Friends from school were not there.  Friends from work were not there.  My friends, MY FRIENDS were not there.  My daughter died and my friends had no time to spare.  Jody, Jenni, and Trevor, where was everyone else.  Why, right now, did it matter?  

We headed to the reception.  I did not want to be there.  The location was demeaning to my child and her memory.  My mom was trying to help, she did her best and all I could think was why, why this place, what in the world would make anyone think this was okay.  I didn't want to eat, I didn't want to talk about it.  I didn't want to be there.  I wanted to be gone-I wanted for a minute to think I was in Montana for a vacation to visit friends.  I didn't know what I wanted, I didn't know where I wanted to be.  

I spent 9 months preparing for a baby.  I spent 13 days preparing to burry her.  Now what I was supposed to do.  The baby came and went, the funeral began and ended.  There I stood, clueless.  

The clothes we wore to the funeral didn't get packed.  They were not coming back to Japan with us.  We boxed up the shadow box and drawing, dropped them off at the post office.  I photographed all the flowers and threw them away.  Thank you notes were sent out.  We got on the plane and we flew all day and night across the ocean.  Our friend picked us up at the airport and drove us home.  We walked in the house and an "Its a Girl" balloon that had not lost all its air greeted us.  The swing sat in the corner, still untouched.  Our new normal was supposed to start now, I wasn't ready for that.  

My daughter was supposed to be born on February 18th.  I was told she was dead on February 22.  I delivered her on February 23.  I buried her on March 6.  


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