I'm not going to lie; Holly didn't look distressing, but she did look a little changed, and truthfully, she no longer looked like "herself." As my partner said, she just looked more "distant"... However, I am really glad we went. I suppose accepting that she's really gone is part of the process, and looking at her today, I knew that she was really gone. In some ways, that makes it easier to let go.
If you had lived...
They say that some things are just not meant to be,
But nevertheless, you were special to me.
You were my hopes, and my future plans,
I imagined my world in your tiny hands.
In my thoughts, I had held you,
Pictured who you might be,
And I felt that I knew you,
Though you never knew me.
For weeks, you provided my secret smile,
And I'm proud that I carried you 'round, for a while.
I like to believe you are safe, up above,
But if you had lived - you would have been loved.
- Her teddy bear (we were given two in a memory box by SANDS when we left the hospital. One stays with her, and the other we kept).
- Her blankets (hand-knitted, and again, given to us by SANDS).
- Her brother's tiny baby clothes (I have kept the ones that she wore in hospital, but provided another set for the funeral directors to dress her in).
- My hand written poem, which I placed in the casket with her, for her and her sister, along with a note that I've photographed so I can remember what I wrote to them in years to come.
On Friday, she will have a holly wreath for her casket (made by my Mum before Christmas, to hang on the door... it contains ivy, too). I have managed to keep it fresh, and will replenish it with a rose to match her floral arrangements, which I'm doing myself.
Above photo taken in the hospital (not at the funeral directors),
of Holly Rose with her little bear.
I really hope that nobody finds these photos distressing. It isn't my intention to upset anyone. Perhaps it may seem strange to share images of her casket, and talk openly about her death, and her funeral arrangements. Part of the reason I share these things is not just for my own benefit (although for some reason, I do find it comforting to write about her, say her name, and share her photos), but also by putting this blog in the public domain, there will (sadly) be other parents in a similar position... Parents who never expected to find themselves arranging a funeral, or choosing a casket in which to bury or cremate their child. Who probably never considered whether or not they would want to view their baby at the funeral directors. (I know this to be true, because until a few weeks ago, I was one of them). Perhaps somebody somewhere, may find these posts helpful when making their own difficult decisions, and for that reason, I am putting my thoughts out there.