So now is the hard part…planning my son’s funeral.
Nicole…you can do this. Take a breath.
Like most parents, when you have a beautiful healthy baby, your first thought isn’t to get your child life insurance. You never anticipate the idea or possibility of having to bury your child. At least, I most certainly didn’t. Although I had amazing health insurance at the time and I wasn’t swamped with medical bills, I had no life insurance for my son. Let me remind you that we lived in Marietta, GA at the time. I knew that I did not want to bury my son in Georgia because I also knew that I did not want to continue to live in Georgia pretty quickly after Shaun passed away. So here I was, a woman who just lost her son; who had no savings; no life insurance for her son; and no idea of how or the steps of planning a funeral. Let that sink in for a second. Completely lost in treacherous pain, but forced to push through each day and plan a home going for her son.
Well I’m going to tell you how…nothing but God! I am not saying that as an endorsement in this case. I am saying that in complete astonishment, amazement, and awe of how God showed up in my life. About two days ( I think) after Shaun passed away, I went back to my job with my co-workers giving me that “look” and expressing their deepest sympathy and condolences. I walked to my HR office to tell them that I need time off (of course) and that I need to transfer back to Ohio. She (I love you Maja) was more than supportive in helping me with that transition and offered to do something for me that was so unorthodox and unheard of when it comes to employee relations. She prayed for me and cried with me. No joke, after we finished crying together and she prayed over me, she opened the door and my fellow co-workers were lined up, no kidding, outside her door coming in with monetary donations to help me bury my son. People gave me checks, cash, and love and despite how I felt about Him at the time, I knew God did not leave me alone.
The human resources manager and her assistant came to my house to visit and help me with plans of going home. Broken and barely able to make eye contact with anyone, I had to begin planning my transition to go back to Ohio. I put in a transfer. They came by to discuss the details of my transfer and helped me with the beginning stages of securing more funding and planning my son’s funeral. Although I am sketchy on the details of how things came together but what I remember is Target gave me $500 and those two amazing women helped me find a funeral home that was willing to fly my baby’s body from Georgia to Ohio. I believe they even had a hand in helping me connect with a church in Marietta who actually paid for a portion of the funeral. Again, God was there.
As I painfully packed up our home, packed up my son’s room, and said my goodbye’s, I was headed back to Ohio in January where the bitter cold that was once 500 miles away became all too familiar as it what I was feeling in my heart.
Here is what I remember. Sadness. Extreme and utter sadness. Not from those who were there, but from myself. The father of my son and I arrived together and walked to the church opening with my head held low. Sad. For a moment, I felt a lift of sadness as I was greeted by my three brothers, grandfather, and parents. I am sure there were others there but I cannot remember. As my grandfather took his hand and gently lifted my face just enough to where I could see him he asked me, “Are you ready?”, he took my left arm and he along with my army of family and close friends began walking with me into the church and the altar to say goodbye to my son.
Give me a minute.
I just remember not seeing anyone. No really, my head was low the entire time. I still cannot account for anyone that was there. I know my mom, brothers, father of my son, and one of my closest friends at the time were there, but I seriously had no idea of who came. I couldn’t make eye contact, I couldn’t look at anyone, and I couldn’t breathe. I was shredded into pieces and counted on anyone and everyone to hold me together. Finally, I saw him. He was as peaceful and sweet looking as the day he was born. Swaddled tightly in the blanket that was given to us and dressed in the pajamas that his father and I carefully picked out for him, he looked at peace. His casket was pure white with beautiful embroidery designed on the outside. It was nice casket. Every second that I was sitting in that pew was as if someone gave me morphine and I was just high floating in outer space. People walked by to cry and pray over me; people said how sorry they were; and people even brought flowers. None of that mattered because I could not believe I was burying my baby. Before we left the church, I walked back up to my son and whispered something very sacred and special to him that I have and never will tell anyone. They were words only for he and I. After I said what I said to him, I started to become angry at this entity of whose house I was in that I am now questioning its very existence.
What did I do that was so horrible to deserve this torture? How and why did God allow me to carry this beautiful baby with no issues, only to take him away from me in 4 months? What kind of God did I allow myself to believe in? Is this a joke?
This is what I thought at the time.
We go to the grave sight where I said my final goodbye and laid him to rest for the last time. I remember holding onto the casket unwilling and unable to let go. My mom had to pull me off. It was horrible. As soon as I got in the car and not a second sooner, it was if the Pacific Ocean was at my front door and when I opened the pain came flooding in.
What started as a simple story, has now turned into a series. Next, week I will continue this story in hopes that it will provide hope to someone else. To read the beginning of this this story, click here.