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.