In just two short weeks I will be hosting Thanksgiving again for some immediate family and friends who have become family over the years. Immediately behind that will be Abbey's 9th birthday party and then ofcourse Christmas..then my anniversary season will be looming in the distance. My life is such a whirlwind after Thanksgiving I barely have time to stop and think about anything, it could be why so many things hit me closer to Josie's date.
I haven't been to the cemetery since Memorial Day... I keep myself busy enough that I don't have a lot of guilt about it, its also fairly far away from my house. I didn't feel that I had a lot of choice in picking out her spot, or even that she would be in a casket and be buried. I remember during her funeral being torn between staring at the casket and staring ahead, because the longer I looked at the casket the more I thought that I might completely lose my mind, run over to it and try to take her out and hold her again. I remember thinking over and over again, even though I knew she was gone from this world, "my baby is in a box, my baby is in a box, she can't be there, she can't breathe, she needs me I have to get her," Then the crazy would subside for a moment and I would remember that she was truly and really gone, not breathing, with our without me and I had to just sit there and listen to a priest that I had never met talk about whatever they talk about at funeral mass. It truly wasn't tailored to losing a child, I don't have a clue what he even said to be honest. I remember the petitions reading because I helped write most of it and the response was "We remember Josie."
All of this is coming back into my mind because of a conversation I was having with a friend, very casually about our parents passing away in the future and the cost of funerals and etc. She said something like "maybe I can just turn them into trees with their ashes, seems like an awesome tribute, but maybe that's expensive too." I thought of my Granny, who was adamant her whole life about not wanting a funeral, visitation or to "spend eternity in a box." My aunt remembered this and when she died slightly unexpectedly, made sure she was cremated, there was no visitation, only a memorial service and her ashes have been distributed and scattered. I even have some of them, and used a small portion to make a memory glass charm, that I attached to my bouquet at my wedding, so that Granny was with me all day. I also attached Josie's locket picture to my bouquet but it wasn't the same. I instantly regretted that she wasn't cremated as well, that I didn't have a piece of her with me not only on my wedding day but for always. Her being buried, permanently, in one spot put me in several predicaments. I had opportunities to move after her death, and the thought of leaving her behind destroyed me. I just couldn't do it. I think about how I don't get to her spot often enough and how much I wish that she was with me, in a charm, in an urn, in my home. I would have loved to make her ashes a seed pod and grow a tree to remember her by, having seeds from the tree scatter everywhere, so that parts of her could bring more trees and further the circle of life. To me, its a much better memorial that a spot that I didn't have much choice in, or a burial method I did't have a lot of say so in. I suppose I could have, but it just happened so fast, she wasn't gone 24 hours before I had to decide all of these things, it just felt so rushed. Of all my regrets I think this might be the worst.
Regret is an awful feeling and it can consume you if you let it. Its likely the driving force behind "The Butterfly Effect" because everyone has something they wish they could change or un-do; say something when they didn't, shut up when they didn't, go one place but not another. Is why I despise "everything happens for a reason." I want to throat punch people who say that. (My apologies if you're reading this and you say that, its more of a figurative throat punch.) I think that things just happen, sometimes they are lucky and sometimes they aren't. Most of the time you make a decision and just hope to God its the right one. Other times, you aren't sure you made a decision but something has to happen, so you go along with the plane or the vibe or whatever of someone else, never knowing regret will pop up 5-10 years later sometimes.
I just had to get this out, so that I can try to move on and not let these regrets consume me. I remind myself that Josie knows she was loved, she knows I wanted her desperately and that I did the best that I could. One thing I will never regret is having her and loving her. In only 9 days on this earth she showed me love I didn't know I was capable of, for that I will be forever grateful.
Oh Brandi.... I can't imagine how hard it was to have to make all those decisions. Nothing can prepare you for any of that. I lost my father 5 years ago... with little warning and that was so incredibly difficult. I can't begin to comprehend what it feels like to have to make those decisions for a child.
You said two things that resonated with me.. and I think you have to hold on to those two things... 1. Josie knows how very loved she is.. no matter where she is laid to rest. Her time with you, while never long enough... was full of only love. And 2. Feeling these feelings, and getting them out is healing for you.. or at the very least helpful. It's allowing you to move forward and not be consumed by feelings that really only continue to hurt you.
I'm glad you came to Share and were able to write this, feel it and continue moving forward.. always with Josie in your heart.
It's so unfathomable to have all of those decisions being thrown your way. I can relate to that and also the going along with what someone else suggests because you're still processing or someone takes over. I have regrets about not having a funeral service. I try not to beat myself up about it, but the guilt is still there. I echo Karri. She felt love and will always be in your heart wherever your life takes you. Writing and just sharing is healing. Late last night, I unloaded some tears as Thanksgiving approaches and the triggers, memories, and family hurt is everywhere.
Sending you strength and some extra hands when it's time to set, serve, and clear the table:)
Hi Brandi, this is so beautiful and honest and moving. Thank you for sharing. I feel you on those regrets. They can consume you for the rest of your life. And I can only imagine how traumatic that funeral must have been. But no one could've done a better job than you did of making the decisions that needed to be made at the time, in the best way you could. And yes, Josie will always know that she was profoundly loved and cherished by her mother. That is by far the most important thing of all, and that's also the thing that you did absolutely right. I'll be thinking of you and keeping your spirit of gratitude in mind through the holidays.
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