Work is pretty busy (lots of people are quitting and then others are sick or taking vacations and I'm the only one left. Which is fun. NOT.) Anyway, I popped online yesterday to take a break, planning on telling everyone about our wonderful and fun weekend (Everyone! We had a fun and wonderful weekend!). I did some blog reading first, and over at Ask Moxie she had a post asking for people who have lost an infant if they could help out with a study.
I'm all about helping others where I can, and definitely when it comes to helping people deal with the loss of a child. There was this whole disclaimer for who you could contact if these questions were too triggering for you - and I basically just scanned over that section. Because really. What harm could a ten minute survey have?!
Well. The woman is 'investigating the availability and impact of bereavement options and ritual on parents who have experienced the death of an infant' so the questions centered on burial and support and ceremonies and what you did/didn't do. Wow. That is apparently a very sensitive topic, because once asked, I was transported right back to the days after Nora died. I distinctly remembered calling my minister and leaving a message. I was crying and just kept repeating, "I don't know what to do. I don't know what to do." (just typing that is making me cry right now). I thank my lucky stars that I started attending that church just a year before, because our minister did swoop in and take charge. And when people were giving me options. Do I want a casket? A cremation? A cemetery burial? Do we have a family plot? What kind of service do you want? What prayers? What songs?
I'd never been through the death of a close family member, but I will assume when a death is expected (or at least on the horizon - Aaron and I have talked to each other about what we would like in a round about way) you have an idea of what you want. Like my mother. She wants a full on burial. With the church service, very specific songs, I even know what she wants on her gravestone. But when a baby dies? It's just SO unexpected, you just almost can't think about it. I for some reason felt very deeply that she should NOT be in a casket in a cemetary. To me, I just didn't think that was where my baby belonged. As for the service, I mostly let my mom and my minister drive that, with the one request that the song "Saying Goodbye" from the Muppets and the Ode to Joy were played.
But the pain and confusion and even the unexpected expenses of a funeral, it was all totally overwhelming, and remembering it kicked me in the gut yesterday. I do hope by filling out that survey I help her help others, but I don't even know what I mean by 'help'. It's a brutal time, and I wish no one had to experience it. If I find someone close to me going through it? I will just stand close and help however I can.