Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Nothing says funeral like rain

We planned James' burial for Friday August 2nd. We invited our immediate families and few friends. Let me just say that planning a funeral for your baby is pretty much depressing, but it managed to be a beautiful affair, despite the rain.

It has not rained here in over a month and so I couldn't imagine that the weather report was correct in predicting scattered thunderstorms for the day of James' funeral. I asked for others to pray for good weather, all I wanted was a little sunshine to make the day seem less sad. I couldn't sleep the night before focusing all my thoughts on the rain outside my window. Really?!? I thought. Maybe it is getting it all out now at 3am so that it will just be overcast for our 9am service. But the rain didn't stop and Max woke up early and luckily we didn't have to entertain anyone and could just focus on getting ourselves physically, emotionally, and spiritually ready.

I also stressed the week before trying to find a dress for the funeral. I don't like the color black, I never have really and I certainly did not want to wear it to James' funeral. I searched and searched and stressed and eventually told Kyle that maybe I would just go naked. But I found a dress that fit how I was feeling perfectly and things started falling into place.

The night before the funeral though I told Kyle that I wasn't going. I couldn't do it. I couldn't face the reality that all the real outward manifestations of James' life were coming to a close. This would be the last thing and would people expect that after we buried him that all the sorrow and pain would just float away and our lives could get back to normal. I realize that this might seem ridiculous to think and I know that no one really expects us to move on quickly or that the pain of this trial doesn't linger  but sometimes I look around and wonder if anyone really gets it.

So we go to the cemetery and there are tents and luckily there was a still a fuzzy blanket in the back of my car so that I can keep warm and we sing Nearer My God To Thee and our family friend/old institute teacher speaks and says exactly what Kyle and I need to hear. He said that God would right all the wrongs of this world and our joy would be so immense when that day comes. It softened my heart. Then I spoke, I spoke of James' influence and the impact that I hope he would have on all those who knew him. I hope that people live good lives for his sake. To make good choices, to choose the right when it isn't easy, to be a kind person. Then Kyle spoke and said things that he says often to me, reminding me of God's love of his infinite wisdom and the growth that is already taking place in our marriage, our family, ourselves.

He then dedicated James' grave. That it would be a holy place, a safe place and that we would see James again.

Then we sang I know That My Redeemer Lives and we took some photos beside James' casket and Kyle looked at me and asked, "Are we supposed to smile?" It was a legitimate question and now I look at these pictures and see that my smile is forced a bit, but just a bit. Because in all reality during the hardest, most real moments of facing this trial there has been such a peace and such a comfort that I have been able to truly smile amidst it. I know that James is not lost and that he will forever be mine and so even though funerals for babies are kinda the worst, I can still smile and remember the blessings promised to me and my family and yes, we can smile.

Ultimately the rain was fitting, I reminded myself of what rain does. It washes and cleanses and gives nourishment to the earth and it could do the same for us. We are starting a new normal now and a rain shower was a good start.


  1. "in a quiet place is hidden sorrow that the eye can't see..." So thankful you found the dress that prepared you for this special day. My eyes are full of tears for all those feelings. I will continue to hold your family in my prayers and heart over the days, and months to come and look forward to a proper hug in September!

  2. Heartfelt and beautifully written. Thank you for sharing this with those of us who can't be there. The flower spray is so beautiful and your family even more so. Know that you are in our thoughts and that all of us in Yakima are praying for you and your family. God bless you in the coming days, weeks and months.

  3. Your sorrow is our sorrow. We're thinking of you and keeping your great family in our prayers.

  4. It breaks my heart to see that tiny little casket. I'm so grateful for all your thoughts the past few weeks on how you have tried to grasp loosing James. I'm also sad we couldn't be there to cry with you. You all look beautiful and my testimony has been strengthened by hearing your powerful testament that you, Kyle, Max and James will all be together someday. Love you!

  5. I so appreciate you sharing these intimate feelings and experiences with us because it really has changed me. I've thought about you all a lot these last couple weeks and James is helping me to be a better Mom because he reminds me how precious my children's lives are and he reminds me of our purpose here. And looking at these pictures I'm reminded and so grateful for eternal families. Since first reading about James I've played with my children more and become more thankful to Heavenly Father for the good and the bad that come with this earth life experience. Thank you for being a reminder of God's love for all of us. I can see how much he must truly love and appreciate your family and the example you all are to us. :) Lots of love Gina!

  6. Dear Sweet Gina and family. We send our thoughts and prayers your way. No one can tell you how long to feel your grief, but by all means feel what you feel. I beleive the fact you have expressed yourselves so well will help your healing. We lost a baby between Jessica & Heather, but it was early in the pregnancy, so I don't pretend to compare, but know the loss and the peace that is ours now. Peace will come. You trust in the Lord to give you the comfort when no one else can or is able to. Love one another. We love you and yours, Jeanie & Bob Tomlinson