Sunday, February 8, 2015

my little angel

Nolan's funeral was on Friday. We had a short service at his grave which is located in the baby area of our city's Catholic cemetery. It was chilly outside, but the cemetery looked so beautiful with a dusting of snow on the grass. Our pastor Father Ed, who also worked with Dan and me for our marriage prep, read his beautiful and comforting reflection. My parents, godparents, and siblings drove into town just for the day even though they missed work and school, and my mom had to spend several hours in the car to pick up my sister from college on Thursday. Dan's parents made the long drive with his sister (who braved the trip and put together an awesome care package despite her broken collarbone), and Dan's brother flew in just for the day. Everyone made sacrifices just to support us on this difficult day, which was so meaningful. There were two beautiful flower arrangements with Nolan from my grandparents and from my parents and siblings (I wish I had taken photos, but I was a bit of a mess). Dan and I each took a white rose from the little bouquet we asked the funeral home to prepare. Leaving my little boy there at the end of the service was one of the hardest parts of the week. It was somewhat comforting that he is surrounded by babies with recent birthdays whose graves were decorated with little toys and balloons; he isn't alone.

cozy birdhouse | little angels

Our families came back to our house afterwards where we had lots of food, including some fancy pickles and sausages from Dan's brother, a big Edible Arrangement fruit basket from my group at work, and an angel food cake from my Aunt Ruthann. We've continued to receive cards, flowers, and gifts from people, including my friend Elena and her husband, a group of our friends from work, my manager and his wife, Dan's group at work, and his friend Kevin from college. My parents brought us a pretty Beleek cross and some money to buy a little memorial tree for our yard, and my godparents gave us a little Irish blessings angel. Our house looked so pretty for company with all the flowers. I don't know if or when I'll have another chance for our families to just sit together and chat, and I relished every moment. We talked about Nolan's birth and my recovery, but I also liked the distraction of discussing random stuff like Christopher's struggle to house train their little Wheaten Terrier, Watson. Emily posts lots of cute photos of him on facebook with the hashtag #wheatensofig, and Dan and I admitted that it took us way too long to figure out that meant "wheatens of instagram (ig)" and not "wheaten so fig." We were really confused trying to figure out if "fig" was some new slang term all the cool kids were using. (It's catching on with my family, I'm not going to stop trying to make "fig" happen).

I was exhausted by the end of the day and spent the evening laying on the couch with a small glass of wine, my first since September. Even that moment made me a little sad knowing that I shouldn't have been able to drink anything until at least June if everything had been normal with this pregnancy. All these "firsts" are just so hard.

My mom bought me a little book of "uplifting thoughts" that has a bible verse and short reflection for each day of the year. I know that these passages are meant to be broad so they can apply to lots of situations (kind of like a horoscope), but these are just so perfectly suited for how I'm feeling.

February 1st (Nolan's birthday): "Enjoy your precious life, but not as an end in itself. Think of heaven as your true home."

February 6th (Nolan's funeral): "Focus on the gift of life as best you can, and not the loss of life. It is possible to decide to be happy, even in the most terrible circumstances."

Not sure I'm ready to be happy, but the amount of time I spend feeling miserable seems to be lessening each day. My amazing husband and family help so, so much.

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