Saturday, June 19, 2010

Memorial Service

Dear Jacob,

Yesterday was an incredibly hard day for me and Daddy as we held your memorial service. I took the train to Oakville in the morning and Grandma picked me up at the GO station. We went to the funeral home first because I really wanted your ashes to be with me as long as possible. I went in and told a woman that I was there to pick up my son's ashes. I was feeling sort of numb right then, but as soon as she left to get them, I started crying. I should never have had to pick up your ashes, you were too young to die. You shouldn't have died.

I was expecting them to come in a small cardboard box and I wasn't expecting alot of ashes because they told us before that you were so small that there might not be any. She came back in with a large green velvet bag. She opened the bag and pulled out a cute little urn.

She opened it and your ashes were in a small sandwich-type bag done up with a twist tie. There was probably 1/2 cup of ashes in there. I know they aren't all you, they couldn't possibly be, but I was so glad to have something that as long as a tiny part of you was in there, I was satisfied. I think that Rev. Mike called them (He has done alot of liaising with them on our behalf - which was so so nice of him) because after we went to sign the papers at the funeral home and they said we might not get any ashes, I called him and he knew I was upset that we might not have anything to bury. He said that we would figure it out if that happened. I am almost positive that he called them and told them to just give me something. When I called on Thursday to find out if your ashes were back from the crematorium, they mentioned that they had spoken to him that day. I had to sign some paper in order to take you. It was so hard to see your name there and my name there listed as "Mother".

Every time someone refers to me as a Mother it makes me happy and sad. I have wanted to be a Mom for so long...years and years and tears. I finally am, but my baby is gone. It just is not fair. I say that alot these days.

As I walked out of the funeral home, the funeral director walked with me. She asked if I was okay, but I could only nod because there was a lump in my throat that I couldn't get rid of and I was on the verge of crying. She asked if you were my first and said she knew that it was really hard. I appreciated that she walked out with me.

Grandma and I drove to Aunty Laurie's house then and we stayed there for an hour before we went to the church to pick out a place for you in the Memorial Gardens beside the church. Ben is such a good distraction. He is such a nice kid and seeing him running around and healthy really helps me. It makes me sad too because he will never do that with you, but your poor little leg may have prevented you from doing that and we just don't know how much pain you would have been in.  Mom gave me a necklace she ordered. I love the necklace. It is a heart locket with a picture of a butterfly on the front and in the top left corner it looks like a pair of wings. Angel wings I like to think. On the back she had
"Jacob 06-01-10" engraved on it.

At the church, Shirley took us out to the gardens and showed us 2 areas that were available. I was trying to decide which one would be best for you. Maybe it is silly, but I wanted a peaceful but not secluded spot that gets both sun and shade because I never want you to be too cold, too hot or lonely. I wondered where Sam M. is buried and Mom asked Shirley where/if there are other babies buried there. She said that Sam is buried under the tree in the centre and we asked if there were any spots available there. There were so I said that I wanted you there with another child. Laurie also pointed out that because you would be in the center of the gardens, you would be surrounded by others who were buried there before and they would "protect" you. I just love the spot we chose.  I could barely talk when choosing a place, I was so sad that my much wanted baby had come to this. Shirley talked to me, but I could usually only nod because I was barely holding it together.

We got Ben a frozen yogurt from across the road. I carried him while Laurie carried the yogurt and he made me smile as always. Whenever he wanted another spoonful, he would say "mine" and we would tell him to say "more please" which he did. He had purple all over his face so I asked for a purple kiss and he thought that was alot of fun. Then we went to the Sunlight Grill and I just ate some of Grandma and Laurie's food because there was no way I could have finished a full meal. I eat such small meals now (when I eat them). Ben was a great distraction again. How can I not smile when he hugs me or does something really cute. But I always have the underlying sadness that I will never see you do these things Jacob. That we will never have you and Ben together playing. That you can't attend each other's birthday parties, have sleepovers, go on family trips together, go to the park together, be close as you both grow up and then stay close as grown ups. I will always look at Ben and imagine what you would have been like at his age.

Laurie went home and Mom and I went to pick up another necklace that she ordered, another heart with your name on the back. It is also heart shaped and has the picture of a heart on it. It looks like either a leaf or something piercing the heart on the front. She asked which one I wanted and I decided on the butterfly one. It was so nice of her to go to all the trouble, looking all over for necklace for me. And I am really glad that she is wearing one as well.

We all love you alot Jacob. I really really hope that you know that, that you could feel that when everyone was holding you after you were born. I was looking at the pictures the other day (I look at them everyday) and everyone was in tears when they were holding you because you couldn't stay with us.

After spending some time at Mom's house while she picked out what to wear at the memorial and I patted the cats for awhile and went on the computer, we went back to Laurie's and she was baking ginger cookies and blueberry crisp. The cookies were good and the crumble was for us to eat after the service.

I held your urn as much as I could, which was most of the day. I hated to put it down since I would only have "you" in it for so long. I had to look at some papers for the condo, which was the last thing I felt like doing, so I spent some time in the computer room at Laurie's with your urn on my lap while I did it. I often stopped and opened it and looked at your ashes. I also put a few in a sandwich bag because I just can't give everything of you away.

The day seemed really long. I just wanted it to be 6pm already so that we could start your service, but I also wanted the day to be longer because I didn't want to give your ashes away.

Ben was playing with his baby doll and pushing it around in the stroller. He would stop and kiss the doll's head or hand. I had your urn with me of course and showed it to him and said that Jacob is in there. He repeated your name and looked very solemn. A little bit before that we were in the house and out of nowhere Ben said "poor Jacob" (he had been saying it a week after you were born since we said it to him, but that was almost 2 weeks ago so it was touching that he remembered), which made me even a bit sadder, but I am glad that he knows your name. He will always know that he had a cousin named Jacob who is watching over him now.

Ted got there and I could tell that he was feeling really down, but he just said that the traffic was bad and it was really hot. I knew he was upset though, how could he not be? His son was being buried that day.
We went to the church shortly after. Mom, Laurie, Andy and Ben walked around downtown a bit. Daddy and I went into the garden and I showed him the spot that I chose and he liked it, which I was really glad he did. We stood around there and sat on the bench, reminiscing how we had our wedding pictures there and wondering how it was that we were now burying our son there. It is still unbelievable most of the time.

Grandpa, Aunty Jessie and Uncle Dave came in the gardens and we showed them your urn and ashes and where you were going to be buried. I showed Jessie the poem I was going to read and asked if she could take over if I couldn't finish it. She read the poem and got teary-eyed. Rev. Mike arrived and said that he was just going to do something inside and would come out to start the service. By then Laurie, Andy, Mom and Ben were back.

The birds were chirping and it was sunny with a nice gentle breeze. The weather couldn't have been better. We gathered on the South-East edge of the garden and the service began. I held your urn until it was time to bury your ashes. At the beginning of the service, Ted was on my left and had his arm around me the whole time. Mom came over on my right and did the same thing. I really needed that support. Standing was difficult. I would also feel your Aunts put their hands on my back or shoulder throughout the service. I loved the support. The whole time Mike was speaking, I clutched your urn front of me against my abdomen, where you should still be. I also rubbed the top and traced the flowers on it with my fingers and thumb. I guess I felt like I was caressing you. My hands were shaking a bit too. At one point Daddy reached over and held on to your urn too. I wish I could remember everything Mike said, but I don't. We are going to get a copy of the service from him. He began by saying that he cannot possibly imagine how we feel having lost you (I always like it when someone says that - I hate it when someone who hasn't lost their child or who had a really early miscarriage says they know exactly what I am going through - did they give birth to their dead child?). Mike read a verse about David, whose son was really sick for 7 days - he fasted, prayed etc during the illness and wouldn't speak to anyone. When his son died, he got up, started eating and acting normal again. His servants wondered why he was doing that now and he basically said that nothing would bring his son back, he tried everything he could to keep his son alive while there was still a chance, he did his best for his son the whole time he had him. Nothing would bring his son back to him, he would only see him again when God called him home. Mike said that he hopes that I one day have the peace of knowing that I did everything that I could for you while I still could, that it wasn't my fault that you died and that he knows that we would have given our lives if it meant that you could have stayed. Somedays I do have that peace and other days I don't. But I thought that the verse that he read was very appropriate. It was funny he chose that one. He asked on Wednesday if I had any verses I wanted included. I searched all day Thursday but couldn't decide on one, but I did see that one and wondered if I should request it. I am not so great at making decisions these days though, so I just asked him to choose something.  He also read a few other verses, I don't recall them right now, my they were very good for the circumstances and did give me some comfort.

When it was time to bury your ashes, Mike asked if we wanted him to do it or if we wanted to. I said that we wanted to. We carefully stepped over the hedges, avoiding any flowers, and Mike uncovered the hole. Ted put in the first half of the ashes and I put in the second half, with shaking hands while I was crying. Mike asked if I was okay and rubbed my arm. Then I put the first 2 shovels of dirt in the whole and then Ted did one or two. Mike did the rest.

I think he said some more words and then asked me to do my reading. I couldn't even start at first because I was crying so much. I probably took 30 seconds before I could speak. Here is what I read:

You never said you're leaving
You never said goodbye
You were gone before I knew it
And only God knows why.

A million times I needed you
A million times I cried
If love alone could have saved you
You never would have died.

In life I loved your dearly
In death I love you still
In my heart you hold a place
That nobody could ever fill.

It broke my hear to lose you
But you didn't go alone
For part of me went with you
The day God took you home.

I sobbed while I was reading that. I'm surprised I even got through it, but I had to do it for my son, I wanted to do it for my son. I could hear everyone else crying while I read it too. I really liked knowing that they were touched by it.

Grandma then read the poem that she wrote and did such a good job. I love the poem, I love that she wrote it and that she overcame her fear of reading it and did a really good job. Here it is:

Dear Jacob:

I wish I could have seen you smile
I wish you could have stayed with us awhile
Healthy and happy, living many years
Loved and delighted in, now we're in tears.

Your life on earth over too soon
God called our angel home, early in June

Jacob we will forget you never
And pray you know we'll love you forever

We all long to hear you say
Don't worry Mom and Dad, everything is okay.

I cried alot when she read that.

Mike said some more words and then the service was over.

He shook Grandpa, Daddy and Uncle Dave's hands and hugged all of the women. I thanked him for all of the help that he has given us. He visited me in the hospital 3 times and liaised with the funeral home alot of our behalf. And Daddy and I aren't even official members of the congregation (but Grandma and Grandpa are and we did get married there and go there sometimes). He stood around with us for awhile and then said that he would give us some time alone. At one point, Ben came running over to me with his arms wide open. I scooped him up and got a nice hug and kiss from him. I love that moment.

I loved the moment of finding out I was pregnant, of feeling you kick, of seeing a bump on the left side of my abdomen when I lay down (you just loved being on that side), of rubbing my belly all the time and thinking with amazement that my baby was in there), of hearing your heartbeat and of seeing you moving all around on the ultrasound. I was/am so proud of you Jacob. Those are some of the favorite memories of my entire life. I hope I always remember them. I miss you so much and they are a big portion of what I have left of you.

Daddy got the camera and he took pictures of your burial spot.

You are buried under the tree, in the lower left side.

Uncle Dave came and put his arm around me. I think he needed to hug as much as I did. I always knew he was a nice guy, but I have really seen the sweet side of him come out because of you. Our family has always been close, but you have brought us even closer together. You have a lasting legacy. We stayed for about 20 minutes and as we left the gardens, I said "I love you Jacob, goodbye" but then I changed it to "goodbye for now". I will go back and visit you there all the time and you are ALWAYS in the heart and my thoughts.

We ran into Mike on the sidewalk and Mom asked about the wedding at the church tomorrow. Turns out it is someone from NHL so there are about 4-5 NHL players who will be there, including one Hollywood star. On the drive home we were trying to figure out who that would be because Mike couldn't really say. We figure either Carrie Underwood, Elisha Cuthbert or Hilary Duff since they are all dating or engaged to NHL players. It may seem funny that we were talking about that as we drove away from your memorial, but I think we just wanted to talk about something other than the overwhelming sadness that we all felt. Even then, I wasn't totally concentrating on the conversation. I wonder if I will ever totally concentrate on a conversation again that isn't about you.

We went back to Aunty Laurie's and got pizza from Mario's and ate the blueberry crisp for dessert. Aunty Jessie gave us a picture frame that is just for ultrasound pictures. I just love it. I really wanted to display one of your pictures and didn't know how I would find a frame that was the right size. They frame came with a bunch of wording you can change , like" Baby Boy, Baby on the Way, Love at First Sight". She opened it and took out the ones that would be painful to see, like "Baby on the Way, Coming Soon".  I out in the one that says "Love at First Sight". Daddy and Ben were joking around with their food while they ate. It was cute, but I wanted him to be doing that with you. I took some pictures and video of Ben. He wanted to see them after so I was going through the pictures on the camera and then came across 3 of me from the day I found out that you died. I forgot that I even took pictures that morning. I was trying to decide what shoes to wear with my outfit (that seems so trivial now) so I took 3 pictures of myself in the mirror to see which ones look best.

When I saw those pictures, I felt so sad. The last 3 pictures that I have of myself when I was still pregnant with you. I look happy in those pictures. I don't have a sadness in my eyes. Little did I know that 3 hours after those pictures were taken, my world would come crashing down. I'm glad I have them though. I treasure every picture that I have with you in it.

We left Laurie's just before 9pm. We were exhausted. Crying all the time makes me really tired Jacob, it just exhausts me. I slept pretty well, but had a dream that I was on a tour bus in Europe or something. Daddy and I had decided to go away now that the memorial service was done. Sitting in the seat in front of mine was a woman with a baby- probably 6 months old or so. I guess I was allergic to something because I kept blowing my nose and she started to get annoyed. I said sorry, but I was allergic to something. She kept complaining and I finally said to her "Listen, my baby boy died 3 weeks ago, I'm not blowing my nose to annoy you, so give me a break". She was speechless and left me alone. I think she came to apologize later. Anyway, that was a weird dream, but the first one that I have had about telling someone that I lost you.

Daddy just got up and had a bad night. He said that his mind wouldn't stop, all he could think about was you and how sad all of this is. His heart was beating really fast and it feels like there is a weight on his chest. I know exactly how he feels. He has been so strong for me. Now that I am a little stronger, I think that he is able to start allowing his feelings about losing you to come to the surface. It broke my heart all over again to see how sad he is today. I guess that is how he felt watching me for the last 3 weeks. Wow, almost 3 weeks. In two days, it will be 3 weeks since we found out that we lost you. This has been a nightmare.

I love you baby, I hate that you aren't with me. I just want you back.

Love forever and always,



Violet1122 said...

I'm new to your blog - and I'm so sorry for the loss of your Jacob. The poems you shared from the memorial service really touched me. Thank you for sharing those.

The garden is a beautiful place, I can tell even from the pictures. I know exactly what you mean about wanting everything for your baby to be perfect.

There is nothing I can say to make things better. But please know I am out there thinking of you, of Jacob, and praying for you.

Kristin said...

I am so proud of you for having the strength to make it through such a difficult day and for reading that beautiful poem to Jacob. The garden he is buried in is beautiful. Thanks for sharing photos so we can all picture it.

Love you sweetie!