After we released the balloons, we headed back into the funeral home. I couldn’t get to Nash fast enough. I grabbed him out of the casket, sobbing. I sat on the couch, rocking Nash with Todd at my side. The three of us alone in this big empty room. Nash had always made a room feel so full of life when he was in it. That smile, that dimple, that laugh. People saying “awww” when they saw him. Now it seemed so lonely, empty. It was the first time I felt that way since before he was born. I couldn’t stop kissing him. Looking at him. Trying to memorize every part of him. I knew this would not only be the last time we held him, but also the last time his physical body would even exist before he was taken to be cremated. I can’t put into words the absolute life-choking feeling of that moment. I felt his hands, his toes. I traced every inch of his body with my hand and then just held him close and rocked him. We told him how much we would miss him and that we would remember everything about him and how much joy he brought to us. Somehow, and to this day I don’t know how, we were able to put him back in the casket and walk away. Even now writing about this, I can’t stop crying at the thought of it. As we walked away, I got to the door and took one last look back. Nash in a casket surrounded by flowers and pictures of the three of us. The three of us in happier times. I went into a state of inconsolable grief…..
Everyone headed to the VFW for the dinner that followed. How was I going to eat dinner with all these people just minutes after holding Nash for the last time? As we walked in, I could no longer fake smiles, or even have a conversation with anyone. I just sat at a table and stared at the floor crying. I remember thinking horrible things. I remember when Nash would hit each new month and how sad I was it was going by so fast. Now it seemed like life would go on forever. How was I going to go on living knowing I would never see that smile again? Never snuggle up to him…never hold him again…never rescue him when he cried… never hear him say mommy or daddy. My mind would not shut off. Todd and my sister Melissa were trying to get me to eat. Tricia was next to me with her hand on my back. I just wanted to die. I prayed for it. Take me now because death seems a whole hell of a lot better than the life I am now left with. People were approaching me for hugs and I did nothing but sit there and stare at the floor, not talking to anyone. Todd got up grabbed my hand and took me outside. When we reached the parking lot, he turned and looked at me and said I know this is hard but these people have done a lot for us. All you have to do is get through this one last day and than you can cry and stay in bed as long as you want. He said I love you, let’s just go back in there and do this! He said it with a lot of love and sensitivity, but also a firmness, like get your shit together. It felt like one of those pep talks coaches give athletes in sports movies before they go out and win the championship. I realized then how hard it was for him to deal with his own pain when I was so visibly shaken. To this day I have to tell myself to snap out of it when I get to lost in my emotions. I managed to go back in and smile, hug people and thank them for coming. Todd smiled at me across the room while I was thanking people for coming. I could see this look in his eyes. That he was proud of me, that we could do this, but the only way we could do it was together. I felt a closeness with him in that moment I had never felt before. That he 100% was in this with me. Like it was a battle to the death and we were not going to give in with out a fight. I felt empowered. We were Nash’s parents and were forever untied in that!