Wednesday, January 20, 2010

feel the love...

Wow. That's the only word that comes to mind when I think of the passing of my baby girl, and the days to follow. I never knew that Clif and I had so many people that love and care for us. We were overwhelmed by all the visits in the hospital, the cards, flowers, phone calls...e-mails. We even had a family of complete strangers come to the hospital on my second night there. They were such a blessing. They had a mentally challenged little girl (after they had been told that they would not have children and now have 2-3) that was such a blessing to my heart, I can't even begin to tell you.
The day of Lilly's funeral, I was oddly at peace. Clif and I woke up early that morning, and started to get ready for the service. Clif helped me bathe (this was only 4 days after the fact and I was still in great pain) and get dressed, grabbed something to eat to keep myself from getting sick, and we were on our way.
We arrived at the funeral home around 9:30. All of my family was already there waiting for us, and a family friend that I've known for years. I felt so loved and supported.
The staff at the funeral home were amazing. Truly wonderful people that left and imprint on my life that they will never know. They were such a blessing to us in our time of need.
Especially the sweet lady that prepared Lilly's body. She took extra care of my baby...she being a mother herself, knew just what to do. She even went out and bought baby lotion so Lilly would smell like a "baby". So thoughtful.
Think all that's great? Here comes the overwhelming part. Our Lillian, who never breathed a breath this side of Heaven had somewhere between 500-700 people show up for her viewing/funeral. I was so taken back! I couldn't believe it. People that I hadn't talked to in years, or seen in even longer!. People that I would have never dreamed of...they were all there! They poured through the doors from the very start of the viewing right up until time for the service to start.
That day at the hospital, the first person (other than family) that was at the hospital was Pastor Greg. I've known him for many years, and always had the most respect for him. He's always been so kind to my family and I. And always thought a lot of Clif. When I saw that he was the first person there for me, I knew that he would have a part in my little girls funeral.
My father is also a pastor, so he and Pastor Greg took care of the service. Another pastor friend of mine and my husbands sang two songs during the service. One that he chose that was so fitting,and then of course, Jesus Loves Me....which the congregation joined in singing as well. It was beautiful. Everything. Amazing. Everyone.
After the service, Clif and I asked our family to say their "last goodbyes" to Lilly, and then to leave just the two of us alone with her one last time. I didn't want to leave that room, I wanted to stay there all day. But I couldn't, all the people waiting...wondering what was going on....we said our last tearful goodbyes, and left.
Then came what felt like the longest car ride EVER. The ride to the cemetery, where we would put my baby's precious body in the ground. Though she wasn't in that body, it was still one of the hardest things I will ever do in this life. The line had to be a mile or more long. Police Officers stopped intersections and saluted...some with the look on their faces as if they knew what had happened...and maybe they did.
Finally, we arrived where we would leave our baby girl. Friends, family, coworkers....they all gathered around. Next came something that I was SO proud of Clif for - he carried her casket. It was so hard watching him do that, watching him carry her to the place where we would leave her.... I walked beside him, carrying the spray that would be left on her casket. Never again would we see our baby, outside of Heaven. It was heartbreaking.
And then when I thought there couldn't be anything else left... our church family provided a HUGE dinner and invited EVERYONE at the service to come back to our church and eat. They were amazing. My friend Rita, and her parents - which I've known all my life - put it all together, though they never would take credit. They even decorated. It was beautiful...
If I lived a million years, I never could express my gratitude. We are so blessed...


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