Originally posted on CaringBridge~Thursday, April 23rd, 2009
I did not cry. The moment came when Heather died and I did not shed a tear. I felt numb, like I was having an out of body experience, and I was watching myself go through the motions. There were things to do and people to call, and it was not the time to begin to fall apart. I had just joined an elite club of grieving mothers. This was the club no one talked about or wanted to become a member of. From that moment on my life was getting a makeover that I did not ask for let alone consent to allowing it to happen. It was beyond my control and I was not given a choice. This was and is my life now. I am a grieving mother for the rest of my life.
I had known several mothers that had children who had died from my past, but honestly I did not think much about it or them at the time. I was young and that always happened to other people. Suddenly now I was the “other” person and it had happened to me. When I was pregnant with my first child, Jennifer, my boss’s daughter was killed in a car accident. I thought as time went on that she had lost her mind, that she had actually gone crazy. Of course years went by and I never saw her after I stopped working. Now of course I would like to talk to her. I kept wondering in my mind if I was going to be the “crazy” woman now that everyone wanted to avoid.
We had accomplished everything Christian had asked us to do that week. We went on Thursday afternoon to meet with him again, discuss last-minute details, give him all the photos, items for the remembrance table, and made the final payment. I had picked the necklaces and the memorial box from the catalog. It appeared the task of planning our daughter’s funeral was finished. We were meeting with Pastor Jim later that night. He was giving the “message.” I had also talked to Pastor Steve by phone and asked him to do the “this was Heather’s life” portion of the funeral service. We all wrote down memories and details about her and e-mailed them to him.
Jenn, Wendy, and I decided that we would speak at Heather’s funeral. I asked the girls to write down what they wanted to say. I did not want anyone to stand up there and begin sobbing while trying to speak. It is hard for the audience to sit through that kind of a funeral. I also asked that we all make copies and give them to Pastor Steve. When time came, he would give each of us a look, and we would say yes, we could, or no, we could not speak. A yes meant each one of us could read our own words. A no meant that we would not, and he was to read our words for us.
Then there was the business end of the funeral, what did this cost? Most families did not have an extra $5,000-$10,000 lying around in their bank account. I had very specific ideas about what I wanted for Heather’s funeral. This after all was the last event or party I would ever plan for her. Because I wanted a viewing with Heather in a casket, we had to purchase a casket at full regular price. Even though she was cremated we had to buy the casket and then it would be crushed and sold for scrap metal. I also wanted a beautiful obituary in the newspaper. I did not want her lumped into the columns with all the other notices. I wanted a photo and scrolls around it, very princess like. Of course I got what I wanted, but at a cost of $1200 for a one day obituary. While most would not have the means to do these things, we had a life insurance policy to cover most of the cost and the rest I would pay off over time. The total cost of her funeral was about $12,000 and did not include a burial if we decided to do that later.
Usually at funerals there were packets of flower seeds given to everyone in attendance, but I did not want to do that. It seemed to routine and ordinary. I looked at a TY Beanie Bunny named “Heather” and it hit me. I wanted everyone that came to her funeral to get a TY Beanie Heather Bunny. I looked up the corporate phone number for TY, called them and explained my situation. I asked if they could ship me 250 purple TY Beanie Heather Bunnies. The woman on the phone explained to me that they never sell to individual customers and I needed to have a business, but because of my special circumstances she would sell them to me at wholesale cost, waive rush delivery and have 250 bunnies at my door by Friday at the latest. I was thrilled to no end. They would be there in time for the final celebration on Saturday afternoon.
Thursday night, I had nothing to do, I guess, and so I began the task of packing Heather’s room. I decided to pack everything and wait; I would make choices about what I would keep and what I would give away at a much later time. Her room would be used for the baby and become Princess Pea’s (Snooks) room as soon as I could get it cleared out.