Thursday, December 24, 2009

Livy's Funeral...

Well, we're home. We decided to bury Liv in our hometown, so we flew in literally long enough for her funeral and that's it. Being that it was around Christmas, we just weren't in the mood to be celebrating the holidays. We wanted to be alone and spend that time together, so we didn't spend any time there beyond the day of the funeral. I think we were in town for a max of 27 hours. It was kind of a crazy trip, but I'm glad we did it that way.

The funeral went well. I mean, as well as can be expected. Before the service, they gave James and I time alone with our little girl, but it was just too hard to see her like that. With the autopsy and week delay, she just wasn't in a state in which we wanted to remember her. I was glad though to see that the little outfit we had picked out for her fit her perfectly. It was a little Carter's pink/brown sleeper with bunnies on the feet. Something very similar to this...
It fit her well with the theme we had chosen for her room and the little saying written on it. I can't even remember now what it said, but it was sweet. Plus, she will forever be a sleeping baby at this point, so we thought a sleeper was the best way to go. When we saw it at BRU just days before we flew home, we immediately had to get it for Livy. So anyways, after the short time we spent saying our goodbyes and putting what we wanted into her casket (we wanted to put her blanket in there, but it was too large so we just put her teddy bear in with her), we left to wait for the service.

Not long after that, our pastor came to speak with us privately in the same room with Livy. He asked us who we lean on in times like this, and was glad to hear that we both said each other. In fact, he ended up using that in his service. After talking for a few, we prayed with Livy there with us and went back to the chapel. By this time, friends and family were arriving, so we spoke with everyone as they came up to see Liv and her pictures. It was nice to see everyone, but hard at the same time. More than anything, I'll never forget the few surprise guests that we didn't expect would come, but sure enough, they were there. That meant so much to us, and what few things that will be ingrained in our memory...that will be one of them.

With the service starting, my brother in law, Nathan, was kind enough to sing a song for his niece. He sang, "Your Hands" by JJ Heller. Such a beautiful song, and he did a perfect job singing it for Livy. After that, my 7 year old nephew, Ben, read Psalm 34:17-19 -- "The righteous cry out, and the LORD hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles. The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. A righteous man may have many troubles, but the LORD delivers him from them all." After cute Benny sat down, our pastor spoke. I don't really even remember what was said, as I was too focused staring at Liv and trying hard not to break down. I know they recommend for you to do so, but I just couldn't do it. I don't think James could either. I guess we're both too private with that part. What I do remember is hearing from friends and family that what was said was a good testimony of the relationship I have with James, as well as our faith. Part of me almost wishes I had a video of the service so I could go back and listen to it without the distraction of actually being there. I guess like everything else regarding this pregnancy...while it's a sad memory, it's one of the few that we've got so I don't want to forget it...

Once the service ended, we walked out behind our daughter and headed to the vehicles so that we could go to the graveside service. Once everyone was ready to go, we headed down to the cemetery. It was only a couple miles away, but the drive seemed like an eternity. When we got there, they had seats for James and I, and Liv there on a platform. It was heart-wrenching to sit and listen to our pastor speak, as we knew this was our final goodbye. This was it. All I remember from it was thinking I should've worn something warmer, as I was shaking from the cold. (Indiana was much different than Washington with all the snow and freezing weather, and I wasn't prepared for it.) My sisters had their hands on my shoulders, as they tried to bring some comfort during the service, and James and I just sat and stared at our daughter. When the service was over, we said good bye to those that came to the grave, and headed back to the church.

Our military support group at our home church had provided a meal for our family, so we stayed and spent time together during the meal. After that, we headed to my in laws for the rest of the evening with some of the remaining family. A few laughs were had among the many cries. My sisters and I ended up hanging out in one room talking about the day and everything Livy related while James was in the other room with the others. It was nice to have that time with everyone before heading back to our home in WA.

So now that we're back, we're going to try and soak up what little time we have left before James heads back to Afghanistan. I wish so badly they would have just let him stay back on Rear D. Oh well...this unit is far from compassionate so I guess I'm not surprised...

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