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Friday, 30 May 2014

Grace's Farewell

It's been 4 weeks since my daughter died, 4 weeks since she was born and 2 weeks since we said farewell to her body. The world seems like a different place. An epic transformation has taken place and it hurts that the world carries on just the same, and yet it should.

For a day that I never wanted to happen and never want to happen again, we had a wonderful, wonderful day. The service was exactly what we wanted. We decided we did not want to be passive in our daughter's farewell and designed the service and participated. Our lovely friend Loretta Hopkins sang beautifully for us and we were honoured by friends who read and prayed for us. Over the next couple of weeks I will post the readings and poems that comprised the service. Father Christian preached the most compassionate yet real sermon I've ever heard at funeral and wore a stole decorated with children's hand and footprints.

Everyone participated in a ritual of farewell by lighting a candle and placing it on the altar. It was beautiful.  Despite the lumps in our throats, we proudly read the Eulogy, asserting our decision not to give up on the joy of living in the midst of grief. However, the moment that moved us the most, that we will never forget, is this:



I kinda forgot that everyone was going to join in but when everyone did it felt like there had been a collective decision to really go for it. It felt like we were lifted on a wave of love and support like I had never known. Thank you to all who were there.

At the graveside we sung together and then my father-in-law and I lowered Grace in a white willow basket into the ground. We sang Amazing Grace again while covering her in a blanket of white roses. And then something happened that may never be seen at a burial again. In a tribute to bedtime ballet that we do with Alannah (something Grace experienced during her womb life), Siobhan handed out cuddly toys to everyone in attendance and we all danced with them whilst humming the Blue Danube Waltz. It was hilarious and brought smiles amidst the sadness.  In a final act of farewell everybody threw some earth in the grave and myself and a few others filled it in and place flowers around it.
We retired to a local pub with a beautiful garden and fantastic play area. Our final tribute was to eat, drink, laugh and cry with friends and family until the sun began to set.

In the last week I have returned to work which was exhausting but I survived. Siobhan has donated 3.9 litres of breast milk to Guys and St Thomas' hospital. Our sadness is finding new ways to settle in now that the organisation of the funeral is done but we have been so overwhelmed with the pictures, moments and thoughts that people have been posting under the hashtag #amomentforgrace. The amount of posts have been phenomenal. We have also been overwhelmed by your genouristy. In one week you have raised over £1600 for Sands and just under £1000 for the United Kingdom Association of Milk Banks.

So we want to say thank you.
Thank you for every card
Thank you for every Facebook post or tweet
Thank you for very email and private message
Thank you for very flower and plant and tree
Thank you for everything you did at the funeral including just being there
Thank you for every donation
Thank you for every tear on our behalf.

Thank you


And now as we step into a world that feels changed, I leave you with a few pictures of Grace's final resting place.

 




You can still donate to our charities by clicking on the images below - 
UKAMB logoSands, the stillbirth and neonatal death charity 

2 comments:

Maggi Green said...

Dear Siobhan and David,
I am so sorry to hear your terrible news and glad that you have had many family and people you love to share in your grief and acknowledge Grace's existence.

Every thing I have started to write to you to express my sympathy and understanding feels like stones in my mouth so I will just say that I care and that I am sorry I never knew Grace. Still hope to meet Alana one day!

Lots of love and strength to deal with your loss.

Maggi (who used to live next door)

Maggi Green said...

Dear Siobhan and David,
I am so sorry to hear your terrible news and glad that you have had many family and people you love to share in your grief and acknowledge Grace's existence.

Every thing I have started to write to you to express my sympathy and understanding feels like stones in my mouth so I will just say that I care and that I am sorry I never knew Grace. Still hope to meet Alana one day!

Lots of love and strength to deal with your loss.

Maggi (who used to live next door)