Posted by: irishdad | August 5, 2009

Notes on the funeral

Some memories from LittleGirl’s funeral and the days leading up to it.

  • Not too many memories of what went on between coming home from the hospital and the funeral. Each day brought a crop of cards in the post, we got so many cards and flowers from people that we ran out of surfaces to put them on.
  • Dressing the baby and saying goodbye to her was distilled trauma, the essence of sadness. An acquaintance who has buried a child herself and is a childcare professional came to help us dress the baby. We took some photos of her in her little suit, and then we had the unbearable task of giving her a final kiss and putting her into her little coffin. I won’t ever forget placing her in there and putting the cover on the box, screwing it shut with shining metal crosses.It’s just not right to have to do something like that.
  • Carrying her, in the white box, into the chapel at the hospital, where our families and some of the hospital staff were waiting. It was so quiet in that room. At least the chapel is small and as a result we were not rattling around in a large empty space.
  • The priest gave a warm heartfelt service. My wife had spent the previous evenings picking out nice prayers, we were touched that many of the staff we had encountered came to see Littlegirl off, taking a short break from their work.
  • Carrying the coffin out to the car was difficult to. I was tempted to strike out and march in through the hospital and leave by the main door. Give all the happy people a wake up call. I didn’t do it obviously, but sometimes wonder what would have happened.
  • My brother was driving my wife, Littlegirl and I to the cemetery. The three of us were in the back seat with the coffin between us. At one point we stopped at traffic lights and an electricity company van pulled up beside us. The driver looked in at me in my suit and kind of gave me a nod…then his eyes drifted from me to the coffin. I watched the recognition cross his face as he quickly looked away before taking off as the lights went green. We had a grim laugh at how shocked he must have been. A story for the lads back at the depot!
  • Reaching the cemetery, it started to rain, as it would for a child’s funeral. I remember how mucky the hole was, and how white the coffin. The man clambered down and turned to reach for the casket. I give it to him and he lays it down in the mud.After the prayers we huddle under umbrellas in the rain before walking away. Very cinematic.

    Back at the house our shoes are lined up by the front door, stained with mud.


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