Monday, November 23, 2009


So, I have taken a little sabbatical from blogging these last couple of weeks, because our lives have been so busy. The cool part is, some of the busyness has related to remembering Eliana, so while I haven't gotten to write about her, I have had other opportunities to think of her lately.

Last week the funeral home we worked with had a special ceremony for the families of children lost this year. It is really an amazing and touching thing that they do. They have a children's garden on their grounds full of metal statues they call garden dancers. Each one depicts either a boy or girl and has a child's name cut out of the metal. I first noticed these in 2007 when I attended a funeral there for another baby at our church, and I wondered about them. Never would I have guessed that I would soon know all to well what they signify.

We received an invitation in the mail to come to a memory ceremony, so we decided to participate. It was at 2 PM, naptime for our youngest, so my husband carried him in on his shoulder, and I was relieved to see when we entered they had big frosted butterfly cookies available to help keep my oldest entertained, and to give our younger son if he woke up during the ceremony. They had a neat program, led by a women who had lost her baby boy in 2005, with a poetry reading, candle lighting, and beautiful violin and harp music. It was emotional to be back in the same place again, where we had her service, but also peaceful to be able to return, and realize that some healing has taken place since we were there in May. At the close of the ceremony, we were told to go outside and get our little dancer.

We went out into the children's garden, and began looking at all the names on the dancers. At first I didn't see ours, but a woman helped point her out to us, and there she was, dancing in the sun, with Eliana written beautifully across her dress. It was so special to see her standing there with all the other kids looking so pretty and joyful, and to know we would be bringing her home.

I think it's such an act of love that the funeral home does this for each family. It was all started by the family of the woman who led the ceremony, to memorialize their son Allan, and bring comfort to all the families who would come through those doors after them sharing similar losses. One thing that has been so precious for me to see through all of this, is how so many people work through their grief by loving and reaching out to others, and turn the love they have for their child into something beautiful to touch the lives around them. I've seen that through so many of you through your blogs, and others in real life.

We took the dancer home in the car and put her underneath a tree at the side of our house. Right away the boys wanted to stand with her and get their picture taken. I felt so glad to have something so beautiful as a memorial, with her name on it, especially since we haven't been able to afford a grave marker for her yet. It's been bothering me for a while that we haven't been able to create a place just for her yet, besides the momentos set up in our house, so I'm really glad this can be the beginning of setting up a special spot in our own yard.

At the same time, it hurt so much to be bringing home a metal statue bearing the name Eliana, when all we wanted was to bring home our little girl, and to watch her blossom and grow and dance in the sun-light. Somehow the reality of all we are missing hit home all over again, and the pain of leaving the hospital with empty arms.

Bittersweet is definitely the word for our little garden dancer. I feel so blessed to have been given this special gift, and yet so deeply sad to have only a hard cold statue to represent the soft, lovable baby I want so much to be holding. And yet, here she is, with her cute little bouncy pony-tail, arms stretched toward the sky with her little heart balloon, and a smile on her face, with the most beautiful name in the world. Always a part of our family, always a part of our souls--Eliana.


  1. Wow. The ceremony, the butterfly cookies, the dancer. All so very beautiful. What a neat thing. I wish we had something like that here in SD. Hope you are feeling well! Hugs!

  2. What an awesome ceremony that they do. I love the little dancer. What a wonderful gift that they give. A sweet and painful reminder.

  3. Jess, what a beautiful way to remember your babies! That is incredibly sweet that the funeral home does this for families. I can imagine how it must have a painful reminder for you.

    Something you said here triggered my memory. I remember being about 18-19 about 6 years ago and attending a funeral for another baby in our church. I remember all of it. It's crazy that a few years later, here I am and never even imagined that one day I would know that mother's pain.

    We are better for having known our angel babies. :)