4 years ago tonight I was dreading the burial of our daughter, Callie. We left the hospital on Friday, the day she was born and the next few days were a blur. Saturday we had to go pick out an outfit for her to be buried in and go to the funeral home to make arrangements. I cannot tell you the pain of having just given birth, walking through a store (they didn't have a wheelchair) and heading back to the baby department--still looking pregnant. We looked for quite awhile and finally decided on a little pink and purple plaid dress that had a sweater with it. We took it along with the other things we had chosen to be buried with her and went to the funeral home. We made all the necessary decisions and signed all the papers and then went to see her casket. We thought we would be seeing her. I thought I would at least get to see her on the day we buried her. We learned that day that we wouldn't get to see her again. Once she was in the casket it couldn't be opened. I would never get to see her in the dress. And we had to narrow down what we wanted to go with her.....it wouldn't all fit. More heart break. So we chose an "I love Daddy bib", her pink silly buddy and in her hand she held a ceramic heart that fits in the middle of a larger heart that I kept. I remember just sitting in our car, crying together. This was it.
On her birthday, it has always been hard to come up with a term to define the day. Celebrate always seemed too happy to me. However, the dictionary definition of celebrate seems quite fitting. "To observe with ceremonies of respect; To make widely known" That is obviously condensed but that is what stuck out to me. So, we did celebrate her birthday.
This year, we had decided to take the kids to a neat park downtown. There is a carousel, a splash pad, walking bridge and tons of open space. We want to have fun with the kids but also take the day to tell more of Callie's story. So we went to dinner at Cheeburger Cheeburger (one of our favorite burger places) and then went to ride the carousel. We took some time walking around and then went to the water's edge. It may sound easy but it was quite an adventure getting all of us out there on the rocks! Corban ended up in the water quite a few times. Once we were out there we took the roses that we had given the kids and plucked off the petals. As we sang "Happy Birthday" to Callie we threw our petals in the water. We explained that we were doing this for sissy in Heaven. We ended the night with ice cream at an old fashioned soda shop.
During our bedtime routine, I was in Corban's bed reading and praying with him. I explained that he had 2 sissys. One in Heaven. One here. He looked kind of confused and pointed to sissy in her crib. "Sissy?" "Yes, you have one sissy here with you and one in Heaven. You have 2 sissys." "2 sissys?" "Yes." "2 sissys. Me have 2 sissys."
This just made me smile. He will continue to get it piece by piece. But for now we will continue to have our celebration of Callie's life. It was a beautiful time together as a family celebrating the little girl who made me a Mom and has shaped the Mom I am today.