No mother should have to bury her baby. Even more, she shouldn’t have to plan her baby’s funeral with the little one still wiggling around inside her. It was definitely sobering.
I didn’t think too much about planning it until a few weeks before Hadassah was actually born. A sweet mother contacted my close friend, wanting to help in any way she could. She had lost her own baby a few years back.
I wasn’t sure how our visit would go when we set up a time to talk, but I needed some company after spending hours each day alone with my thoughts. I opened my door that evening to a warm, smiling face.
Kelly did most of the talking for a while, recounting her story from eight years ago. She talked about the pictures they took and things they did to remember their sweet boy. When she grew quiet, I hoped she didn’t think she was intruding.
“May I ask what you did for the funeral?” I had wondered if I should take a few more steps for this likely outcome — before grief overwhelmed me.
Kelly mentioned keepsakes they buried their baby with, the ceremony, and even a meal afterward. She also stressed pictures and remembrance tokens like her baby’s footprint and locks of hair. While I wished I didn’t need these ideas, I knew I would want to remember Hadassah forever.
Kelly spent several hours giving her wisdom and advice. “I don’t want you to think I’m giving up on your baby. I’m still praying for a miracle.”
I was praying too. But I had to face reality.
Over the next week after our talk, I called around to several funeral homes and researched headstones and photographers. I spent several hours talking to one funeral home that never give me a direct answer for pricing. I felt like I was haggling the agent.
Time after time, I would hang up the phone with tears hot on my cheeks and an enormous lump in my throat. Frustrated, I would bury my head in a pillow and sob. I didn’t want price to matter; I didn’t even want to be planning my baby’s funeral.
“I could call for you, Sweetie.” Kenny rocked me in his arms when he came home.
I just shook my head. “You’re at work all day. I have more time than you do.” I also knew how I wanted her funeral to go.
I finally chose the place Kelly had talked about burying her baby. The coast’s sparkling water rippled just across the street from the memorial park, and an open sky stretched freely over its green acres. The section of the memorial park I liked was also just for babies. I felt close to the other parents who had gone through the same thing. Hadassah would be buried in the Garden of Angels.
“Isn’t that the place that didn’t give you a straight answer?” Kenny asked.
“Yeah, but I like the area,” I said. The funeral home also housed a well-kept chapel where I wanted a private viewing to take place before the funeral. While I wasn’t impressed with the customer service, I knew I would remember the day fondly knowing that I had done our sweet baby justice.
I clutched my stomach at work a few days later.
“Are you okay?” I had been talking to one of my coworkers.
“Yeah, I’ve just been having Braxton-Hicks a lot lately.” My coworker raised her eyebrows. “It’s okay; they don’t hurt yet. I just feel tight.” Little did I know how soon it would be.
by Sarah George