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Saying Goodbye

Planning Lily's funeral was the hardest thing I'd ever had to do. With no previous experience, I had no idea where to begin, it was totally overwhelming. Yet I was determined to hold a service that I would feel proud of in my baby girls honour, a service that captured the essence of our family, our journey, and our deep love for Lily.

I have always displayed an inestimable capacity for getting obsessed with details, ( my friends who read this will no doubt be nodding their heads, and smiling ) and this was the ultimate test of my ability to get something done to a timeline that had to be met.

We had twelve days to work it out, heavy with the rawness and debilitating effects of grief we set to.

Patrick, Lily's Daddy, and I began searching our hearts and the internet for guidance.

We knew we wanted to share photographs with our family and friends who had not met Lily after her birth. We wanted to celebrate Lily's journey, through our pregnancy and her birth. We wanted our friends to witness Lily's presence tangibly. I gathered together photographs taken throughout our pregnancy, photographs taken in hospital, and ones taken of Lily after she was born. Patrick found a Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep (NILMDTS) photographer who would do some post production work on the images of Lily so that we would have some beautiful photos of her. Huge thanks to Chava who gave her services free and did a wonderful job with-in a very tight timeframe. We emailed her Jpeg images and she emailed them back to us re-touched.

We had a piece of hardboard that I covered with irridescent paper given to me by a friend left over from her wedding, I got prints made, and then spent time arranging them onto the board, whilst listening to some sweet music, with candles burning and essential oils of Rose, Chamomile and Lavander in the air. It was special time, it felt sacred, a Mother doing all that she could for her baby girl in heaven.

When I look back now, it seems that this time of preparation for Lily's funeral was about doing all that I could for her: I couldn't hold her, feed her, dress her, or gaze into her eyes, but I could find a way to express my longing for all of this through making her funeral a beautiful celebration of her little life. My empty arms found loving work to do.

 

 

Planning a funeral for a baby

Planning a funeral

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We gathered quotes that were meaningful to us, printed them out at home, and with friends we spent an afternoon sticking them onto coloured card. These were scattered on the tables along with hearts and stars and rose petals for the gathering after Lily's funeral service.

We chose a natural willow crib basket for Lily to be carried in, and a simple little wreath of Calla Lilies. A dear friend brought a pink balloon for us to release after the srevice.

We designed an order of service based loosly on a template from the internet.

We chose a picture we had taken while Lily was at home with us for the front.

We found a poem we liked that reflected our thoughts and feelings.

We chose music that expressed perfectly our mood and vision. Because sadly there is not a long life to remember at a baby's service, we found it felt right for us to include lots of music to convey our story. A Hundred Thousand Angels by Bliss to be played as people arrived and settled for the service. This is a hauntingly beautiful song that I have loved forever, now it is to be my angels song. ( Not a dry eye in the place I have to say )

We asked two of our dear friends, who also happen to be Interfaith Ministers, if they would honour us and Lily by conducting parts of the service. We are eternally grateful to them both for the way they beautifully held the space for us, guided us and loved us.

Between their loving words we played an Earth Blessing Prayer and an incredibly moving American Indian Blessing. Then we also asked our dearest Clint if he would speak about his experiences of Lily during my pregnancy. 

Lily's Nanna was to read a special poem and both Patrick and I wrote something to share.

We found an unusual version of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star to be played as we left the service, though Patrick joked that he wanted Nellie The Elephant!!! Yes we had moments of laughter while we planned our little ones day, I was very glad of these as they punctured the intensely raw dam of pain I was existing within.

I wrote a letter to Lily telling her everything I wanted to say to my baby girl, this we put in her crib, along with a shell collected by my Nephews from the beach near where they lived in Scotland, and her teddy.

Friends helped so much on the day; Chris who handled the music, Helen and Jenny who took photographs, Susanna and Freya who held the service, Clint who spoke so beautifully, Jean who brought food to our home that morning, Margaret who gave us the venue and food for everyone afterwards, and everyone who came and showed their love and caring, we felt truly blessed to receive such support. Thank you everyone.

 

Lily's Crib

Remembrance Book