Saturday, May 10, 2008

Hope’s Viewing

Events from Friday May 9

Today was the day for Hope's viewing. Brady went to daycare today; there was no need for him to go to this part; he will go to the funeral tomorrow. We took Becca with us to the funeral. Since Laurie is nursing, she really needs to go with us, but it was also good to have her present. She is the shining beacon in this dark valley and people got a chance to both mourn Hope's loss and get a sneak peak at our new arrival. For the most part, we only let family hold Becca today. There will be plenty of chances for people to hold her later, when she is a little older and not as vulnerable to getting sick.

We took the morning to relax—as much as one can in this kind of situation. There were still some final plans to confirm for today and tomorrow.

At 2 PM we went to Duda Ruck's Funeral Home for the viewing. The immediately family gathered an hour ahead of afternoon viewing, which ran from 3-5 PM. Laurie's mom, my mom and dad, my brother and sister-in-law and my two nieces were there to support us.

There was a decent turnout for the afternoon viewing. Quite a few were there from Lodge Forest UMC where Laurie serves as pastor, as well as a number of Laurie's pastoral colleagues. Two of my colleagues from work also visited, which was very nice of them. Thanks Debbi and Maura! It meant a lot to see you all. Sharon, one of the nurses from the NICU at Franklin Square, came and she held Becca for a while to free us up. She wasn't family, but we figure after caring for Hope and Becca (and Brady two years ago!) she earned the right to hold our daughter during this difficult time.

For the most part, people respected our desire not to have too many flowers at the funeral home. We had a few very nice arrangements in the room, but not too many. Dundalk Florist did a nice job decorating the casket with beautiful and fragrant flowers per our request. I like to think of them as the lingering fragrance Hope's life has left on our lives, but at the same time I realize that no amount of flowers and fragrance make this situation pleasant or pretty. We're dealing with our infant daughter's death here; it's about the worse situation you can imagine.

Between the afternoon and evening viewing, we came home briefly. We had to pick Brady up from daycare and grab a quick dinner before heading back over to the funeral home. Brady is getting a little short-changed on attention from Mom and Dad right now, but hopefully when these days are behind us, we can spend some more focused time with our son.

The evening session probably had a bit smaller crowd than the afternoon viewing. More members of Lodge Forest visited, as did several more of Laurie's colleagues, and three of the guys from my men's group from Cedar Ridge. It was good to be surrounded by family and friends today but by the end of the evening I feel tired. For an introvert, this kind of situation is something of a nightmare. Every visitor wants to hug you, which I need right now, but at the same time it's hard for me to be the center of attention. I certainly would give anything to not be the center of attention for this reason tonight.

After everyone left, Laurie and I had a few minutes alone with Hope before we headed home to put Brady to bed and put ourselves to bed. We have another busy day tomorrow with the funeral and burial. The journey is difficult but I feel God keeps giving us what we need to get through each day.

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