Walking With You was created to help support those who have lost a child. Together we share our stories, helpful information, scriptures, encouraging words, prayer requests, and more. If you haven’t joined us yet, and would like to, you are more than welcome. Please visit Kelly’s post to visit to check out the other blogs that have been written. This week, we are sharing about saying good-bye and experiencing the memorial service or funeral if applicable.
In my previous Walking With You post I mentioned that before finding out the news about Hudson I was googling to research what might be wrong. Before coming across the story that made me rush to the doctor’s office I came across a story that I believe was pretty recent in the news. It was about a woman whose baby died while she was in the hospital and the story at the time said the hospital threw her baby away. I was mortified – no baby should just be thrown away. So, flash forward to me in the doctor’s office after hearing the news and deciding on a vaginal delivery and we are on our way out the door. I remembered the story and thought, there is no way what happened to that lady in NJ is going to happen to me. I turned to my doctor and asked if we could take our baby with us. She told me yes of course, that we will want to spend some time with him, take pictures, hold him and that he was going to be the most beautiful baby we have ever seen.
When we got home from the doctor’s office we retreated to our room (we have been staying at my parent’s house while trying to find a place to live) and my dad started making arrangements. Our first thought was cremation – we didn’t know what the policies were in our situation. That idea did not seem to suit my family and not that their opinion changed our mind, but we decided on a burial. My family already owned a few plots in the cemetery where my grandfather is resting, as well as other family and my great aunt. It’s a memorial garden and it’s where my dad already has a place for him and my mom as well as a few other spots. John and I told my dad we would like to use one of the plots temporarily until we find our plots (something I had never considered doing at such an early age until now). So, my dad began making all the arrangements with the funeral home and cemetery – it’s what he does during situations like this. He was extremely helpful in making calls, screening calls, and getting all the details taken care of for us. We made arrangements for a friend of mine that is a pastor at our church to do the ceremony – he even came to visit us in the hospital.
Next we went to the hospital and after our stay the funeral home came to pick up Hudson. When John and I got home we had time for showers and then we left to go to the funeral home in order to make the rest of the arrangements. We gave the information for the obituaries and well, most of the details are blurry, but the funeral home was absolutely wonderful. The director was kind compassionate and just amazing to work with. We delivered Hudson on January 16, 2009 and the funeral was set for January 22, 2009. We asked in the obituary for the graveside service to be private – limited to only family and a few others. I remember during some point between delivery and the funeral John and I shopping for clothes for me and for a blanket for Hudson. We had a blanket that my mom made for him, but it was what he was wrapped in and we couldn’t part with it. Shopping was a disaster that day – I couldn’t find a single thing to wear to my son’s funeral and I refused to wear black. I wanted white pants (I was going to ignore the no white after labor day rule) and something blue. I started crying on the way home because I couldn’t find anything. We did stop at one more place and found a precious blue baby blanket that we took to the funeral home for Hudson to be wrapped in.
Later that day my mom and I went to the florist to pick out an arrangement for the casket, and a few other flowers. John and I had asked that friends and family send donations to the March of Dimes in lieu of flowers, but we wanted to have a few arrangements there. Later I went back to order 4 red roses (one for John, his mom, my mom, and me) and 4 yellow roses. I remember wanting bright colors; nothing that symbolized sadness.
John’s family came into town the night before and we visited with them for awhile. The pastor, a guy my age that I knew in high school, came to meet with all of us to go over the message and details for the service – Lyle was absolutely amazing. I remember during this day feeling the worst physical pain I have ever felt in my life. My milk started coming in and I couldn’t find any relief. I sat with ice packs on my chest, used cabbage leaves – tried everything. My sister-in-law was my saving grace that night. She, my brother, and my cousin came in from Atlanta and she brought me a pump to give me a little bit of relief. Pumping just that small amount gave me so much relief and took so much pain away. When we were in the hospital I asked what to do about my milk and I had intended in donating, but in the long scheme of things I knew that would be too hard and just another reminder of what I had lost.
The morning of Hudson’s funeral came and I finally settled on a pair of gray pants, a blue sweater, and my winter white coat. John and I were the first to arrive and our funeral director already had everything set up. We saw Hudson’s tiny baby blue coffin and a few flower arrangements and we brought along a few other things to display as well – a framed memory certificate with his monogram on it and a picture of our sweet little boy. We stood around the area and visited with those that had come and then we began the service. My dear friend Deidre sang – she has the most amazing voice you could ever hear. When she sings she moves you, bringing you to tears or giving you goosebumps. Some attendants thought a CD was playing until they looked and saw her. I don’t remember the order of the service, but I know that she sang “Held” by Natalie Grant and that Lyle spoke about our son – please read more of his message in this post, and then Deidre sang “Jesus Love Me”.
John and I placed our red roses on Hudson’s coffin and then our mothers placed theirs as well. When the service was over we invited everyone to my sister’s house for a meal that the church was providing for us. We stood there in our spots while everyone came to pay their condolences and give hugs. I remember one friend telling me it was okay to grieve and then almost falling apart in another friend’s arms. Publicly grieving is so hard – I only know to show happiness. After everyone left we waited for Hudson’s coffin to be lowered and we were given the chance to do the first shovel and then we sat and watched Hudson as well as our dreams of him be buried further into the ground.
After leaving John and I went on to my sister’s house to visit with everyone and I brought Hudson’s scrapbook and baby book that I made sure to finish as much as I could to show everyone. It was important to me that they see how much we were planning for Hudson and how we were documenting him as he grew. John and I knew that the day of Hudson’s funeral would be one of the hardest days during this entire event. We got through it with by having such an amazing group of friends and family walking with us each step of the way.