Tuesday, August 25, 2009

A Visit to Remember

Here is a little bit more about the week of Eliana's due-date:

On Saturday, August 15th, we continued commemorating Eliana's week by going to her grave. She is buried an hour away from our home, so we haven't gotten to go as often as we would like. I am so glad about our choice for her burial, though. My Dad died when I was six, and we had her buried with him. A piece of my heart is in heaven with both of these two people who I love so deeply, and long to be reunited with. I believe they are together in heaven, so nothing made more sense than for their bodies to be buried together on earth.

Right now we only have a small temporary marker provided by our funeral home. It will be a while before we can save up enough money to buy Eliana's marker, but one of the things we did that day was to meet in the office to discuss pricing and options. I really wished I could have had a marker there by her due-date, but I thought it would feel good to at least take a step in that direction.

While we were there, though, it just struck me how surreal the whole thing was. What were we doing here? Why was I standing in the middle of a graveyard with my husband and two little boys, when I was supposed to be in the hospital just getting to know the face of my new baby girl? It just didn't make sense that I was worrying over saving money to buy a piece of granite, when I should be blissfully unaware of the cares of the world while I watch my daughter have her first bath, and wrap her up in her soft pink blankets. At times it hits me in this way and I can't even cry, I just feel hazy, disoriented, and out of time and reality. After three months I expected to be past the denial part of this, but there are still many days where it is just hard to imagine that this has really happened to us. This isn't how it's supposed to be...

In spite of these thoughts, we still had a good time of remembrance as a family. After placing some flowers in my Dad's vase, we walked around and let our boys run. For the first time, I was actually struck by the beauty of the area. The grave is right underneath a tree that is native to our state. My father-in-law told me on the day of the burial that it is the "tree of heaven." They are very rare and delicate, just like Eliana.

This section of the cemetary is called the Garden of the Good Shepherd. Toward the back stands a statue of Jesus, holding a little baby lamb, with two bigger lambs standing at His side. Our two boys ran up to the statue and each sat on one of the bigger lambs, laughing and playing. My husband and I just gazed at them sitting there, tears filling our eyes, as we both thought of our three little lambs, one in Jesus' arms, and two who we pray will walk all their days on earth by His side. We held each other as he prayed, thanking God for the gift of our three little lambs, and asking Him to take care of each of them. We know He has them in the palm of His hand--all three, along with our sweet baby we lost in 2003, greatly loved, even though we knew for such a short time we were pregnant.

As they sat there, the boys broke out into boistrous renditions of Go Tell It On the Mountain, and Jesus Loves Me. We all sat there singing together, and could almost sense the saints of heaven, joining in one song of praise to Jesus.

Later that night I returned with my sister. We sat by Eliana's grave at sunset and she placed little pink roses one by one around the temporary marker as we talked and cried together. It started to sprinkle and get dark, but still we sat, remembering her, and speculating about heaven. While sad, it is so meaningful to catch a glimpse of someone else sharing in our heartache. It's a gift to know how much my sister loves Eliana and misses her, and to see how deeply she too has been touched by her life. While spending the day at the cemetary was the last way I would have chosen to spend August 15th of this year, it turned out to be a day we can always look back on, of remembering and loving our baby girl, and thanking God for her.


  1. It makes me so sad to know that you lost your dad when you were six years old. I'm so sorry. I love that Eliana is buried with him (though, I hate that she's buried at all, she should be here, in your arms). It's been five months since my loss and I still have moments of denial and anger. In fact, I'd say I'm more depressed now than I was in the beginning. Maybe because I was just so numb the first few months. Hang in there!

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