We decided to have two showings. Roger had told us that that may be hard on us. Two showings and a funeral is a lot to go through. We felt we truly needed to do it though. We had so many people coming from out of town, out of state for that matter! We didn’t want anyone who wanted to be there to miss it.
I have a brother and a sister who live in Texas. I mainly see them for big events, happy events. I remember when they came for our wedding. Their presence always made it seem so real. I remember being giddy , like wow, I’m really getting married tomorrow. When they showed up this time it was painful. I was happy to see them but it made the situation real. The night before the first showing I went into the nursery to grab Nash’s favorite toys. My friend Shawn helped. I cried the whole time. It’s surreal to say the least , picking out toys that I usually pack in his diaper bag . Now I’m picking them out for his funeral. Shawn pointed to the diaper genie and asked me if I wanted her to empty it. This is where you almost become a little crazy. I knew obviously that I should tell her yes but part of me wanted to keep everything. Every little bit of proof that he was here. I told her yes but please do it when I’m not watching. After that I learned quick your mind does things sometimes that your heart doesn’t have the strength to do. I knew I had a “go as crazy as you want card” and no one would judge me for anything. I still however somehow knew to do these things against what my heart was saying.When we arrived at the funeral home for the first showing, I still felt that same feeling. I was happy to be where Nash was. It actually became a routine of mine to go to the casket and kiss him. I would tell him what was going to happen that day and I made sure Todd and I were the last ones out so we could kiss him goodnight and say we would be back tomorrow. I found myself going back to the casket in the middle of the day just to let him know I was still there. Roger met us at the door and said I’m gonna take the two of you in alone first. He knew seeing everything would be hard and he was right. When we walked in Nash’s small casket was at the front of the room. Tons of pictures on the picture boards. Pictures of all of us smiling. There were so many flowers. Todd and I started reading who they were all from. There was a seating area in the back with the DVD playing. The DVD had pictures of Nash,Todd and I playing in a loop to our songs. It would stop at times to play videos of Nash that we had taken. I would be talking to someone and I would hear Nash’s laugh….that loud screech in because he couldn’t full out belly laugh yet. It took me off guard every time and I would look and it was the video. I love that video but it’s something I still can not sit down and watch. Once we had our wits about us Roger let our friends and family come in. This would be the first of three very long and draining days.I
You don’t realize what you are capable of doing until you are in the situation yourself. Just months before Nash passed my friend lost her baby boy almost the exact same way I did and at the same age. I remember squeezing Nash and telling Todd he would have to admit me to a mental institution if anything happened to him. I meant it too. I knew I would die! I told my friend, I don’t know how you are being so strong. I wouldn’t be able to do it if I were you. Looking back now I feel horrible for saying those words to her. People said this to me so many times at the showings and funeral. You take it almost like an insult. Like you obviously can’t love your baby as much as I love mine. Because you are able to stand and occasionally smile and I would be in bed dying. Of course they didn’t mean it like this. I knew because I had said those words myself. What they would be better off saying is ” it’s a good thing your outside doesn’t reflect what you are feeling on the inside” or ” you are doing a wonderful job faking it!” Well we are talking about what you should and shouldn’t do. HEAVY PETTING IS NEVER ALLOWED!!! Please do not rub or stroke my face when talking to me… If you give me a hug make it no longer than a couple seconds. Lingering and back rubbing for long periods of time, Well it’s just plane awkward and uncomfortable. If you hold my hand , just give it a little squeeze flash a small smile and stop. I’m not saying any of this to be rude. I did all these things and more at funerals. I know now the things I will never do again. This goes without saying and most people who read this will probably be surprised that people asked, but never at a funeral or showing ask the mother or the father how their baby died. There are plenty of people to ask that are not so close to the subject. If we want to give out the information willingly we will. Wait for our cue. I was shocked at people I had never even met before that would come up and give me a five minute hug rubbing my back the whole time, than pet my face. Tell me how strong I was, if their son died they would die too. Hold my hand, look at me while still holding my hand….. without even an introduction and say how did he die?!?!? Just so we are all clear. You should now be able to read that sentence, wince and find about five inappropriate things that were said and done here. Again not saying this to be rude and for the most part people were truly wonderful. Todd and I are very attentive to each other. During all of this I just had to meet eyes with him across the room. He would come and take me away from where I was. He would laugh and say are they petting you again. It almost became like our refuge to go hide. Todd went outside to the parking lot and had a beer. Who was I to judge, he could do anything he wanted in my opinion. We started joking, I said you have to take a drink every time someone hugs you . He laughed and said than you have to take a drink every time someone says I’m sorry . We started laughing. You have to have these moments in my opinion. To get through it. If you don’t remove yourself from the pain every once in a while I truly believe you could go crazy. Todd was my rock in all this. It’s crazy that I absolutely know he feels the same way I do. His heart is broken beyond any repair. Men however are the best “fakers.” They feel it is there job to be strong. Thank god too because the only reason I could keep it together sometimes was because he was faking it so well for me.
I was so caught up in my own grief, that it took me two whole days to realize, when I would case the room and not see Todd. He was most likely hiding in a room crying away from everyone else. We became very good at checking on each other. If you think having a baby brings you closer, losing a baby can unite you even more. It’s like we are at war with the universe and all we have is each other. In the end what I’m trying to say here is that if you could die of a broken heart we would both have died the day our Nash did. That the fact that we are standing and occasionally smiling is because unfortunately your body doesn’t just shut down when you feel it should. The world doesn’t just stop because it has stopped for us.