This blog post is part of a series that I began for telling our story. You can read the first post here.
I am thankful for how everything turned out with Jonah’s end, because it could have been very different. I gave birth to him fully encased in the amniotic sac, which never opened during labor. He was two pounds and tiny.
I did not want to hold him. Everything in me rejected even touching his body. But the nurse was brilliant. She cleaned him up and wrapped him in a blanket, put a hat on his head, and put him in my husband’s arms. No choice, no question, just made him hold our tiny son’s remains. And seeing that gave me the strength to hold him, too.
We spent a little time with him, holding him and talking softly. By now, it was late, and I was exhausted from the entire ordeal. This was a Catholic hospital, so a nun who served in the chaplaincy department came in and offered to give a blessing. At that point I didn’t care about the theology of what she was doing, I just wanted to sleep. I think she anointed his body? I don’t know. She was so soft-spoken that I kept drifting in and out of sleep.
Finally, it was time to let him go. I said my goodbyes and handed him to Travis, who had a much harder time letting go. I have never been more thankful for my mother-in-law than I was that day, because I was in no shape to talk him into doing what needed to be done. But his mom took over and convinced him to let the staff take away our son’s body.
We had him cremated. The urn was much smaller than I expected, a blue marble rectangular box. We brought his cremains home during Holy Week, and Travis put the urn in his crib in the nursery, which I had painted with stamped teddy bear stencils on the walls. A week or two later, we flew to Nebraska with him and had a small graveside service where we buried the urn. Whenever we went back to visit family, we would take a trip to the cemetery and bring flowers and decorations. At the funeral, a long-time friend of my family whispered in my ear, “He took the short cut,” reminding me our son was in heaven. I still appreciate hearing those words.
Next post coming Monday.