People warn you right after you lose a baby that other people will say things that hurt despite the best of intentions. There are TONS of things that are upsetting that make sense. For example, “I know one day you will have lots of beautiful children.” It’s someone sincerely hoping we one day have the baby to take home that we have always hoped for. However, it makes me want to scream, “I ALREADY HAD A BEAUTIFUL CHILD, HIS NAME IS ISAAC.” The littlest thing can trigger me. The thing that has triggered me the most lately, though, has been entirely unexpected. From the moment we were told that Isaac had died, people started asking us what kind of service we would have, where were we going to lay him to rest, and later where we planned to scatter his ashes.
We were absolutely not ready to answer that question moments after being told our baby was never going to come home with us like we had planned. The morning after Isaac was born, my husband and I knew one thing – we wanted to have Isaac cremated. It was an oddly easy call considering the circumstances. We honestly did not even have to discuss it for more than the briefest moment. I am not 100% certain how the Catholic religion handles cremation (and am not looking to do any research on the matter), but I do know that Judaism prohibits cremation. I am not especially religious and have actually been disappointed in how my religion deals with infant loss. Judaism doesn’t really do much for babies who do not survive at least 30 days. I know it’s a rule from a much different time and world where many more babies were lost, but it is obviously a rule developed by someone who never lost a baby. The bottom line is that we never had any doubts on the matter.
After Isaac’s autopsy, he was returned to the area and cremated. It was too hard for us to go pick him up ourselves, so my parents lovingly did so. He’s still in the tiny red velvet bag that he came home in. We have him inside the remembrance box the hospital gave us temporarily. People suggested that we put some of his ashes with the trees we plant, but we haven’t been able to part with him. He was such a tiny little baby, the bag we have is painfully small. So far the only plan is to wear a special necklace with the tiniest bit of him enclosed so I can carry him with me always. We need to do something with him besides leave him in a bag. He deserves so much better than that. It turns out finding an urn for a baby is really difficult.
On the whole service/funeral matter – I feel like everyone asks me. They don’t mean anything at all by it. Well perhaps they have expectations, but they don’t mean to upset us. At first, it was easy to say that we were simply going to honor him in a lot of varied ways. Now I am starting to worry that eventually I will regret not having had any traditional ceremony. Perhaps we are depriving others of a chance to say goodbye to our baby boy. We may feel the loss the most acutely, but it wasn’t only my husband and I that lost Isaac. I don’t want to deprive anyone, but then I panic because I don’t want to ever say goodbye to him. Plus, what if we pick some sort of ceremony or service and it feels wrong?
The truth is that I don’t know what to do. I know there isn’t a right answer. I also know that this isn’t supposed to be easy. The bottom line? People keep asking me this question and I find it so upsetting, but it is just because I realize I have no idea what the answer is.
3 thoughts on “The Dreaded Question”
It has been six months since we lost our baby Faith and she is still in that small velvet bag as well. My mom and I had gone to the funeral home together to get her ashes, and the funeral director showed us a little heart shaped box we could get for her ashes. My mom was ready to get it on the spot, but I insisted that we wait because I wanted my husband to be a part of that decision. We still haven’t gone back to get it though. We had a small prayer service with our family that came down after our loss. We held on to her for the service (my mom led it in our back woods), but weren’t ready to let her go yet. And I’m still not ready. I don’t know when we’ll spread her ashes, or where. I figure the right time and place will present itself. I like the idea of some of his ashes in a necklace. I wear a necklace every day that a dear friend sent me in memory of Faith with her name on it. I find myself playing with it every time I think of her and when I miss her. I hope that you find peace in this difficult decision. It is so hard to know what the best decision will be.
I am so sorry that you are also going through this. You are so strong to have gone and picked your sweet Faith up. It sounds like it was a beautiful service. I have been wearing a necklace with Isaac’s sign and birthstone on it. I’ve noticed that I’m calmer on days when I remember to put it on (sometimes I forget I have to eat meals, so a necklace is a big thing to remember right now). I think we just have to do what makes us feel the most connected to our little ones. That’s all we can do. I hope when the moment comes, it all becomes clear for you.
My thoughts are with you.
I don’t know that I was strong, it just felt like something I had to do. My mom had put on her pastor hat and had already done so much for us. I cried while there, and as we left. I’m glad that you have something to wear to remind you of Isaac. Something that may seem so small to others can be so meaningful.