Silver’s Special Day

Hello again everyone. I have to apologize for why its been a while since I’ve uploaded and it all ties into my story regarding Silvers special day – her funeral. My old laptop decided to have a meltdown just before her funeral and I’ve had to fork out and buy a new one (which doesn’t want to work), along with new copies of all the software I had on my old one (Microsoft word and photoshop) along with trying to connect this one back to the printer so I could scan some photos and scan pics I have of Silver for the blog (yet to be uploaded)! Today I want to tell you all about how we planned and made Silvers day as special as we could considering it was such a hard thing to even comprehend.

I know I keep referring to it as her special day rather than her funeral and I have a very good reason for this. My baby girl will never get a wedding day, which is normally a girls “special big day” and in some ways I saw her funeral more as a wedding than a funeral. I wanted it to be a day to celebrate her life and know she was the most important person in the room. It was all about her. Perhaps in some ways this was a coping mechanism but I truly do feel this is the best way to see a child’s funeral. It is their last big moment and they deserve as much love and effort poured into it as if they were still here to be a part of it.

So one thing I want to touch on is how much people will pressure you into arranging a funeral as soon as possible. People see it as closure and a way of ending the chapter so they may move on. DO NOT listen to them! It is your baby and it is up to you to chose when. If you don’t feel ready straight away, then wait. Your little one is not going anywhere. The only thing I do urge you to do sooner rather than later is to dress your baby for the special day if you would like to. We had ordered a special premature size dress (still too big), some tights and a cardigan to keep her warm with Silvers special animal on (Elephant). After all she deserved to feel beautiful, the only problem is her post mortem was delayed due to weather, and this then took over a week before her body was released for us to go collect her from Newcastle. We took a while to plan the funeral so despite being kept cool the whole time her body did change in appearance, her mouth was now open, eyes sunken in and she was covered in bruises from the CPR they had performed in attempts to save her that night. It was a shock to see and part of us wished we hadn’t seen her in this way. One thing I must add though, is for some reason her little feet still looked completely normal, the only part of her that hadn’t changed.

In terms of actually planning the funeral we basically chose a local funeral director whom we knew and had been recommended. He collected Silver from our house the day after we had brought her home from Newcastle and we had an open discussion about planning the funeral. He provided us with brochures for caskets and recommended a celebrant to us which we later met and thought he was perfect. All in all though we didn’t really know how to plan a funeral. Of course, we knew we wanted an elephant casket so that was pretty easy to decide but we didn’t know how to make the day special or different. After all, she was special and deserved something as unique as herself. So, I took to google. There were many ideas that came up and we selected a few that we felt would best represent Silver.

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We decided to do “party bags”. After all, this was her first and only party. I didn’t want it to be a childish bag though, I wanted something elegant and respectful. So we made our own. We bought paper bags, stamps and ink from Hobbycraft. We tied a ribbon on each bag just for decoration and printed a silver S for her name on the bag followed by silver baby footprints and a heart and blue flowers which represented forget me not flowers. We also gave forget me not seeds as favors within the bags, so people could plant them in their garden and always remember our precious baby girl. We used some bags from my business as organza bags were quite pricey, and we added a paper label with a flower ring stamped on along with the text “forget me not”. In each bag we also added a candle for everyone to light in Silvers memory at home, we chose a scent which most represented Silver and we also included bubbles.

 

We had originally planned to blow bubbles at the crematorium but it turned out to be too cold and just didn’t feel like the right time. Instead people blew them at home and shared pictures with us so we could see they were blowing kisses to heaven for Silver. People also posted pictures online of them lighting Silvers candle too which was heart-warming at the end of a long day. We too lit two candles along with Silvers flowers, one to represent Silver and one for our miscarriage.

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This is actually where it ties in with why I now have a new laptop. I had planned on doing a lovely insert for each bag with an explanation of exactly what each thing was for and represented. But of course, the universe decided it didn’t want to play ball and my laptop which had been hit and miss already decided the day before her funeral was the day to completely break! I can’t tell you how stressful this was, I was so desperate to make her day special, it was my only chance. No one had a laptop with photoshop that I could borrow and I started to panic. So I did a lot of research and looking around at the shop and eventually bought a new laptop that day, along with all the software I would need to make a beautiful insert. Typical, I should have known it wouldn’t be that simple. It took forever to set up the laptop and then photoshop wouldn’t download apparently due to a virus… Long story short. I never got to do the insert I wanted and ended up doing a very simple one in Microsoft word instead. I did however come to terms and realise this was not the end of the world and found calm acceptance to be my friend.

Moving on, lets talk about flowers. We honestly didn’t know what to do about flowers, I’ve been to adult funerals and seen huge arrangements made into all different shapes before but we didn’t want something disproportionately big for such a small casket. The best advice I can give is do a bit of searching online but talk to your florist. Originally we had thought about doing an elephant in flowers but it would have been too big. So, we spoke with the florist who showed us examples and gave us a few options to think about. In the end we decided on a small round posy with mainly white flowers. We chose spray roses and a few other small white flowers as it was such a small arrangement and we also had 4 larger roses sprayed in Silver. Of course, it only made sense with a daughter called Silver Rose, but also it represented each of us as a family giving Silver a rose. One from me, one from Fabian, one from Beau and one from our miscarriage. I am so happy with the decisions we made regarding flowers and thought they were beautiful.

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Whilst we are talking about flowers I though I’d also mention that we pressed some of the flowers after the funeral. My parents, Fabian’s mum and a family friend got Silver some flowers too which we decided on the day would all go with her to be cremated however we brought our arrangement home and have pressed a select few. I am not sure yet if I plan on making a framed arrangement or setting them in resin as I have done previously with flowers from one of our wedding anniversaries but I am glad we will have yet another beautiful piece to honor Silver’s life. I think this is a truly lovely thing to do and urge you to look into this, I’m no expert but its pretty easy to do and you could always practice before hand. I simply pressed mine between heavy books, you don’t need any fancy equipment!

I will get on to talking about the emotional aspects soon but first I wanted to go through the logistics of actually planning a babies funeral. Another thing to consider is transport. Now if you really want to go all out you could have a horse and carriage. I almost considered it, after all she is a princess and deserves the best. The only reason we didn’t, despite the large cost was the fact she would be alone. Some people may have no problems with this but ever since she passed away everyone, especially professionals have spoken about her in such a way you would think she was still alive. Nurses would come into the room and ask how she was and talk to her. This was very comforting and we also spoke about her as if she was still alive when we were with her. So, on such a big day we didn’t want her to be alone on the short drive to the crematorium. We elected for the funeral director’s limousine, which could host 7 people. We decided it would be me, Fabian, Fabian’s mum and my parents.

I think I’ve told you enough about the logistics now so I’d like to actually share with you how the day panned out and how we felt and coped. We woke early that morning and tried to get ready whilst making the house presentable and looking after Beau. Of course, we woke up feeling sad but we were not yet crying. In some ways we had already come to terms with losing her 6 weeks prior, something I feel we would have reacted differently had we done this within the following days after her passing. I am actually very glad we left it as long as we did because the days following her death we spent treasuring time with her but they also felt like a painful blur of exhaustion and broken heartedness. I am glad we had the time to plan the funeral in a way we wanted and didn’t rush. Preparation wise all I had left to do was print the inserts for the favor bags and place them in each bag.

People started arriving around 11am, first my brother and his fiancée Pippa, followed by my parents and one of my mum’s friends who had kindly agreed to babysit Beau at the house while we attended the funeral. I’d asked my mum to order a few things for Beau so he could feel special this day too so he got a baby dolly (He keeps trying to play with mine and poke the eyes) so he could have a little baby to take care of still and some elephants with numbers on which of course were Silvers animal. Me and Beau shared a bowl of granola and yoghurt and shortly afterwards Fabians mum and the funeral director Adam arrived. We had gone to change Silvers outfit earlier that week so she was all ready for her special day.

We had opted for Silver to come back in her mosses basket and we would put her down in her casket. It was beautiful, more than I had ever imagined. I don’t know if you’ve ever heard the song If I Die Young by The Band Perry but there’s a lyric which inspired us “If I die young, bury me in satin, lay me down on a bed of roses”. So that’s exactly what we did, the funeral director Adam had ordered roses which they then carefully pulled the petals off so we had a tub of rose petals to fill her casket with. Beau even helped me and Fabian do this, he also threw some petals onto Silver in her mosses basket which was next to the casket which was adorable. Okay so he did try to steal some for himself too! (I pressed a couple of these). Fabian then scooped her tiny body up and we placed her down onto her petals. I might add here that all this time her face was covered with a cloth which had preserving liquid on, but also since she wasn’t looking her best we didn’t want Beau to see her like this.

One thing we regret is that we did not then take a picture of her laid in her casket with her toys. We gave her a teddy from the memory box, which we had a duplicate of and we bought her a little elephant. It was exactly the same as the elephant I had bought in my first trimester as a mascot for my morning sickness which came to most appointments with us once she was unwell. I had also bought some fancy letter writing paper and wrote a letter for her too. A copy of this was actually read out at the funeral and I have a second copy myself. I just wish we had taken a picture of this.

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We all went into the kitchen whilst the lid was put on as it was hard to know we wouldn’t see her again after this. It felt strange that we had been talking as if she was still alive yet we were going to put the lid on, I felt claustrophobic on her behalf. I distracted myself by cleaning cat litter and Fabian helped Adam affix the lid. Even seeing the lid on afterwards I was sad but not crying, as other family members were. We managed to take some last family photos together before it was eventually time to go. Me and Fabian were the last to get into the limo and we left Beau happy and blissfully unaware. We sat on the back seat, with Silver in between us both. We managed to have general chit chat on the way up to the crematorium even joking about the fact you don’t wear seat belts in the limo, and how it’s a way to generate more business. Yes, inappropriate I know, perhaps humour was our way of coping at the time.

We arrived at the crematorium to see our lovely celebrant who helped take flowers inside and arranged them before we got out and went to stand in the entryway just before the main room. By this time our parents were in tears yet me and Fabian were still pretty calm. Not that we weren’t upset but I think we had partly come to terms with the reality, especially after spending so much time with her after she passed. I was actually more bothered about the fact a woman who clearly worked there looked very miserably and grumpy at us. She never even offered a sympathetic smile and it made me quite angry really. I felt like perhaps she was judging us for being young parents, yet we are 24 and have been married almost 4 years! Nonetheless the first song played and we were instructed to walk down the aisle, Fabian carrying the casket whilst I held his arm. Well I don’t honestly know how either of us got down that aisle. You know people say men hide their emotions? Well Fabian was in hysterics. He later told me it set him off because it was the only time he would get to walk his little girl down an aisle. I held my head down as we walked down the aisle and Fabian set me off, I too was close to hysterics.

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We reached the table near our seats where we then placed Silver and got the opportunity to arrange the table how we wanted with the flowers and a picture frame we had provided with her photo. It was nice that we had chosen to have her sit so close to us, all these personal touches were what made it a beautiful service which prioritised our needs over other peoples. We then sat down with my parents sat next to us, Fabians mum sat with all her children and so it began. We knew how the service would be set out as we’d discussed it all with the celebrant. It was a lovely service although many times I was lost in my own thought. I spent a lot of the time trying to calm Fabian down, my dad even passed us his handkerchief for Fabian. We never let go of each other and just kept comforting the other person whilst we tried to enjoy hearing beautiful words spoken of our little girl.

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We had several songs along with a video clip played at intervals throughout the ceremony. I thought I’d let you know what these were although I will be detailing why we made those choices in a different post as I actually have a playlist of songs relevant to Silver and want to share all of them with you in more detail, some we didn’t feel appropriate for a funeral. We walked in to the song “My Baby” by Britney Spears. Our second song was a reflective piece, we chose to play “Guardian Angel” by Red Jumpsuit Aparatus. We then played my memorial video at the half way point. A lot of people had already seen this from Fabian sharing on Facebook but it was a guaranteed tear jerker. Feel free to check it out on YouTube and see some beautiful footage of my baby girl. Our 4th song was by Daughtry. A very emotive reflective piece which was directly relevant considering it was wrote about baby loss. The title was “Gone Too Soon”, pretty self-explanatory. Our last song was a final “farewell” although I must say I never saw the funeral as a way of saying goodbye. I won’t say goodbye because she is always with me. During the last song we had arranged for our guests to leave whilst we stayed for a moment to spend our last time with Silver. We played “Dear Daughter” by Halestorm.

In hindsight I wish we had asked people to leave after the song finished because barely anyone even got to hear the lyrics. As people walked out there were many people coming to us in tears to offer hugs. I think the hardest part is the people you don’t expect to cry are the blubbering messes! Me and Fabian then sat for a while, crying and cuddling before I kissed the casket and Fabian kissed his fingers before passing the kiss onto the casket. We let Adam know we were ready to go join everyone else outside and were received with hugs and many tears. I found this quite awkward because I didn’t know what to say and felt like most of the time I was trying to comfort other people. Or people would say they were so sorry and the only answer I could think of was “its okay…”. I’m fully aware that doesn’t even make sense but what was I supposed to say?

Now originally, we had chosen not to have anything like a funeral tea afterwards but we soon realised many people wanted one, after all some had traveled quite a distance and it felt strange asking them to leave straight away while we went home. So we decided we simply needed a venue to congregate. There is a pub just down the road from the crematorium which we booked. I had told Fabian several times to ensure no food was provided. After all, one thing I always said was certainly at my funeral let alone Silver’s no “death” would be served. This meant no animal products. It seemed contradictive to cry about a lost baby yet consume one or consume a product such as dairy which meant a baby was taken from its mother, just like mine was. We had originally considered hosting at our house where we could cater but there simply wouldn’t have been enough space nor did I want the added stress of organising food. So we simply booked a private room. One thing that upset me however and I have had to come to terms with is that the venue had spare food available and so as a kind gesture offered this to us free of charge. They of course thought they were being kind however it was the one thing I didn’t want at Silvers funeral. Especially when several people thought it was an appropriate time to make fun of us as there was nothing suitable for us to eat of course.

It still hurts to think about it being served however I do acknowledge no one was at fault and it was a genuine mistake. I hope I never need to consider this again in the future but I now know to be very specific and make everyone aware for any future funeral I may organize. It was however lovely to be able to socialise afterwards and see friends I hadn’t been able to see in a while since going through the difficult pregnancy. My parents, brother and his fiancé Pippa went back to our house early to relieve mum’s good friend from babysitting and eventually it was time to leave too. We proceeded back to the house to a very happy Beau. Fabians mum had bought some balloons with the idea of releasing them somewhere however for environmental reasons we decided to bring them inside and Beau found much enjoyment from them!

Slowly but surely everyone left and we were exhausted! We were in PJs super early that night and simply snuggled on the sofa together enjoying quality time as we tried to process the events of the day; too tired to cry anymore.

Planning a baby’s funeral is a very painful and personal experience. I am sure ours was different to everyone else’s but perhaps if you are in the process of planning a funeral this might have given you some ideas of how to make it that little bit unique. The most important thing if anything I hope people take from this blog is to please do this your own way! It is a day for your child and the parents. It does not matter what grandparents, family members or friends want. Do it in your own time and do it your own way. Planning this funeral reminded me of our wedding, everyone wanted to tell us how they would like it and what they thought we should do. I made mistakes planning my wedding that I regret, so this time we made damn sure no one told us what to do. It is your way of celebrating your child’s existence and you should do it however you feel would best represent and honour them along with what will best help you personally grieve.

If we had done the funeral sooner I would have most certainly had an open casket. I don’t care if it upset people, which I was told not to do because of this reason, it was my baby girl and I didn’t want her closed off in a box. I had wanted her to be part of her special day. We only decided the night before that it would not be open and this was only due to how awful she looked since we had left it so long that even we didn’t feel comfortable looking at her anymore and knew it wasn’t our little girl. It was her soul we fell in love with, not her body.

I am hoping to possibly get a ring with Silvers ashes however they are quite pricey so need to arrange our finances first! We have yet to decide what Fabian would like done with the ashes but there is so many different options I urge you to do an online search if you chose cremation. We had talked about cremation tattoos where some of the ashes are added to the ink however there is no proof yet of whether this is safe or not so we may just get tattoos without involving a potential health risk!

Sending much love from a grieving mum out to anybody who is or ever has had to plan their child funeral.

Until next time,

Holly x