I will always remember the first day of Autumn in 2016. It was October 12th, a Wednesday. As we drove back from picking up 25 white balloons for your balloon release, I will always remember staring out that car window and noticing that the tree's looked empty. Their leaves had left them and instead were dancing on the roads and playing with the cars as they came driving by. It wasn't the official first day of Autumn but to me it always will be. It was the day that I was SO aware of my surroundings. It was the day we said goodbye, the day of your funeral.
No one could prepare us for having to plan your funeral. The funeral home were so supportive but almost blase about giving us the catalogue to look through to pick your coffin. It was something that they had planned numerous times but for us, so completely alien. At that appointment we picked your tiny coffin, flowers and the type of service among other things. I didn't really know what we were doing but all I did know was that I had to try my hardest to make you proud. To do your short life justice and make it the most precious day that I could.
We decided on a cream coffin. It felt innocent and fitting for you and I always loved how babies looked in neutral clothing. We picked flowers for you made into an arrangement of a heart (a symbol which will always be yours) with a teddy sat on top, called Bramble. He watched over you that morning, whilst you were driven from the funeral home to ours and now he sits in our living room with Charlie Bear, a donation from Aching Arms.
Strangely, I had been okay leading up to the funeral. Of course I had moments of grippling despair but on the whole I *think* I was coping. I had things to do for you and I had things to plan. Its since the funeral that its really gotten hard for there is a massive difference between HAVING to do something for you and CHOOSING to do something for you. But that day I was okay, until I sat in that limousine. As soon as I sat down, I strained my neck to look back at your coffin but I could hardly see it. I just knew that you were there and I felt an overwhelming sense of panic. We started to drive to the crematorium which was only a 5 minute drive, if that but the tears started to build up behind my eyes. I didn't want to do this. I just wanted to take you home.
As we drove in to the crematorium, the tears fell as I saw the 25 wonderful friends and family who had come to share your day. It was SO real, it WAS happening and I just wasn't ready. The reality stung and it felt like your birth all over again. I just didn't want to do this.
One of the hardest things was picking music to have played at your funeral. I just kept thinking, how on earth do I pick music for my dead baby girl? I had no idea what was appropriate or what music I wouldn't mind forever being yours from that day on. In the end we opted for 'Fix You' by Coldplay as we carried your little coffin in to the chapel. I had listened to that song a lot during the 5 weeks that we struggled to keep you with us. All I wanted to do was fix you and if you listen to the words they are just so relevant to how I felt.
I wasn't sure that I was going to carry your coffin. We only ever planned for Daddy to but at that split second of him lifting you up I knew I had to hold you too, I needed to do this for you. From somewhere we developed an innate strength inside and as your parents we just wanted to do things for you ourselves.
During the service your Daddy bravely read a reading. He was so composed and I was so proud of him. He really has looked over you from the very beginning, making sure that everything has been done properly. Every scan, every care we gave whilst you were with us and even when you passed away he watched over every single detail. He really is the best Daddy to you and your sister and I am so proud of the love he showed that day.
I read a poem that I had written. I knew I wouldn't be brave enough to write you a letter and read it out so I shared my feelings in the form of a poem. I didn't expect that to be so hard to do but I actually sobbed throughout it all and needed your Daddy with me. I don't think I have ever been so exposed to so many people but I didn't care as I just needed to do it for you.
As everyone left the chapel we stayed behind for a few moments to be alone with you. We had the second piece of music playing, 'A Thousand Years' by Christina Perri. This was almost our first dance song at our wedding so it already meant a lot to us and it was important to me to part with your coffin with the words that we love you, more than anything else. Leaving you there was the hardest thing I have ever had to do. I had to leave you at the hospital and again at the funeral home but this was just as hard. Leaving you will always be the most unnatural thing I have ever had to do.
After the service we went down to your 'spot' and let off 25 balloons. There is something quite comforting about watching those balloons fly off in to the sky and knowing that they represented our love for you. I gave out little seeds packs that I had made in your memory too. More than anything they gave me something to do in the lead up to your funeral. I didn't have you to mother and so I threw what energy I had into making those instead.
That evening we picked up your sister from the childminder and gave her the biggest cuddle. We decided not to have her at the funeral as we didn't want her to see us all sad but we have photo's and she will know exactly what happened. Once she had gone to bed we opened a bottle of our wedding pressco and made a toast to you, our daughter.
Your funeral was a beautiful day and I hope we did you proud, my darling. I wish we would have years of planning birthday's rather than remembrances but I am blessed that we could at least give you a special day and have so many people to share it with.
We love you forever x
Though the seconds, hours and days will pass
We make our promise to you
We will love you until our souls reunite
As our bodies yearn to do
Time is brief and your life was short
But your delicate beauty shone
You touched our hearts, you showed us love
Darling, your angel memory lives on
Through the seasons and the flowing waves
We will look for our little heart
The leaves that dance and the galloping tides
Unspoken bond, we're not apart
Now we know, the true meaning of love
An exhausted heart, a piece of it gone
But no regrets, you will keep it safe
Darling, your angel memory lives on.
On the 7th September 2016 at 25 weeks gestation, Holly was born, still after a battle with complete heart block.