I do not recall many specific memories that day on Tuesday, February 5, 2013, when we found out that Emily had died. I do not remember the weather, or what I listened to on the radio that morning on that drive to my regularly scheduled appointment. I wish I did on some level. But, I do remember sitting in the doctor’s office after we had found out that Emily did not have a heartbeat, and repeatedly just saying, “This just feels like a dream. Like that I am going to wake up. But, I know that it’s real.”
With my mom and husband there, we just sat. And our doctor would come in and out of the room that we were in, between appointments. She was very patient with me, with us. I just could not believe what had just happened. And then I wondered, when did this happen? How did I miss it? How did I not know that my baby died inside of me? And then I would be swept back to the present moment, with our doctor asking what we would like to do. I did not want to make any decisions. I wasn’t sure that I could. I did not know what was all entailed. This was my first time ever going down this road, that I did not want to be on. But I had no choice.
I remember calling out to God and Jesus in that moment when I found out that Emily died. I was alone. And I did not want to be. I know that God was with me in that moment, and even before. I actually read the book, “Proof of Heaven,” two days before we were delivered the devastating news. That was Super Bowl Sunday. Super Bowl Sunday now looks different to me, a year later. I went to bed that night, and finished the whole book from front to back, something I do not think I have ever done before. I even had to put the book down a few times when the author talked about death. After I read the book though, I thought, heaven is a wonderful place. Here, this man, whom was an atheist, before his near death experience, did not want to come back to Earth. How powerful is that. The author, Dr. Eben Alexander, said that he was filled with an incredible love there. Someday I am going to write him a letter to let him know how much he helped in those initial days of finding out that our Emily had gone onto Heaven. And there is a part of me, that believes God was preparing me. I remember talking about “Proof of Heaven” a lot in that room with my mom, husband, and doctor, in those still moments.
Almost every day leading up to delivering Emily, I went in to have an ultrasound done. Some would say denial. But, I just could not imagine taking my baby out of me, the one that I was supposed to protect and keep safe, until their due date. It just did not make sense, and I could not process it. I just wanted to be sure, that she was gone. I was also hopeful that maybe they made a mistake, although I just knew she was gone. And on Thursday, February 7th, two days after we found out, the doctor doing the ultrasound said, “Your baby now has fluid around the brain.” It was hearing those words, I thought, “Yes, our baby is gone.” It hurt so bad. And then from there, we had already arranged a meeting with the cemetery to talk about options. It was painful to walk out to the baby section, and pick out our baby’s plot while Emily was still inside of me. (I am crying as I type this. It still is very vivid and real, even a year later.) I remember feeling a little guilty doing this, but I knew we had to, and that our days were going to be filled with a lot to do. We had never planned a funeral before, but all that knew about death and burying said that the sooner you do it, the better for your grieving. So, I said if we can do it, we will do it next week.
A year later, I still have my moments of, “Did all of that just happen? Did Emily really die?” It will be for seconds, or even a split second that these random thoughts appear in my head. I asked another bereaved mother if this ever happened to her, since the death of her baby boy. She said, “Absolutely.” They lost in 2011. I don’t think that thought every escapes you. That you have a baby or child that died. When you drop your child off to college, you want to check out everything around them to make sure that they are safe, and in a good place. While I know that Emily is safe and in a good place, I did not get to check it out first. Children are supposed to bury their parents, not parents burying their children. I remember hearing those words growing up, but never did I know what that really felt like. It is the worst pain a parent could or can feel. However, on the other end, I did feel a sense of peace when we laid Emily’s body to rest on Friday, February 15th, a week after we had her. I knew that she was with God, and that I would see her again someday. I have learned quite a bit about life, in this fast, but very slow year. I just stopped by this morning to visit Emily, and I thanked her for all that she has taught me. I said, “But, I wish that it did not take you dying, to learn these lessons.” And I gave a kiss to her body (I kiss my hand and touch her headstone or the ground where she is buried) , and then I blew a kiss to her in Heaven, her soul. I do this every time before I leave her.