How do you plan a baby’s memorial when you were planning on having a lifetime?
When I first found out I was pregnant for Miranda there were a million ideas and questions that went through my head. When am I due? Will I use the midwife again? Will it be a boy or a girl? How will we rearrange the carseats? How will we rearrange the bedrooms? Will Nate adjust to being an older sibling? Will Vince and I be able to handle a sixth child?
What never crossed my mind was that I’d have to plan her funeral and memorial.
We assumed we had a lifetime ahead of us. We just never realized that her lifetime would only be 28 days.
Day 4 of Capture Your Grief: Share your child’s memorial.
In the final week of her life it became very clear that things were not likely to improve barring an absolute miracle. I remember saying to my sister, “We’re either going to be planning one massive dedication ceremony to welcome her home, or we’ll be planning an incredible memorial service to celebrate her brief life.”
We had to plan the memorial.
We were heartbroken over her loss, but we knew there was so much to celebrate in spite of her death. God had been so gracious and merciful to us during her days. How would we use this service to communicate that to family members and those that walked the month of her life with us?
We wanted her memorial to be a celebration, defined by all that was still good, not the darkness of death.
A worship service was planned. We had decided to plan everything to happen on the next weekend after her passing. We needed that extra week as a family. Our other children had been spending only half days with us for the month Miranda was in the hospital, we needed a week to just be alone together. We chose a weekend to allow family from out of town the opportunity to join us.
As we heard from all the people who were planning on attending we were overwhelmed. We needed to rent a hall for the reception dinner because our small church wouldn’t be able to hold everyone for the meal. The afternoon of the memorial as our pastor approached us to let us know they needed to play the slideshow again because cars were still coming in and we were stunned, the church was already full and more friends were arriving.
What an amazing honor to our daughter’s life.
In her memorial service we sang songs of worship that were meaningful to Vince and I. Songs that spoke of how our hearts felt with thankfulness to God for holding us through this storm. We asked our pastor to preach a message of hope. We wanted everyone in attendance to know that we had not lost hope in Miranda’s death, but that the God who called her home had already provided a way for us to be reunited with her in Heaven. He had sacrificed His Son to bridge the divide between earth and Eternity.
Our pianist and friend played and sang Blessings, a song that holds so much meaning.
We were surrounded by family and friends and we invited them all to come and share a meal with us. During the dinner we laughed and we cried and we enjoyed the company of those around us.
More people attended Miranda’s memorial than those that attended our wedding just 10 years prior. It was an absolutely beautiful day and perfect celebration of our sweet daughter.
For us, the loss of her life brought sadness, but also joy. We know that our days here are not the end.
We look longingly forward to the day we leave this broken world for the glory of Heaven.
**Capture Your Grief is a 31 day photo challenge created by CarlyMarie. For each day of the month during October (Pregnancy/Infant Loss Awareness) bereaved parents are encouraged to share their journey through photographs as a way to share the healing process. I am participating in this series and will resume sharing our homeschool journey, recipes, and life in general in November. Thank you for your thoughtful understanding while I share my heart this month.**