Today marks one month since Claire’s birth. It feels like so much has happened since then that it can’t possibly have been only a month. As I mentioned in my last post, the timing of everything really was for the best, not only for myself and Claire (physically), but also because it allowed us to be with more family since we got to be in Tennessee over the holidays when everyone else was visiting home, too. That has truly been such a blessing and comfort.
I don’t think I mentioned it in my last post, but when Claire was born, I could distinctly feel her unique spirit. There are no words that I know of to describe how it felt, so I won’t try to explain it. But I can promise you that it was very real. At one point after her birth, my husband had been holding her and then gave her back to me to hold, and as soon as she was in my arms again I couldn’t feel her spirit any more and I knew she was gone. The reason I’m writing about that experience now is because there have been several distinct moments since Claire died that I have felt her presence with me. Not very many or for very long, but I know that her spirit lives and that she knows how much I love her. What more could I ask for in this situation?
For the first little while after Claire’s death, I would feel almost angry when people would say, “I’m sorry for your loss.” I know that they just wanted to express sympathy and quite frankly didn’t know what else to say (and who could blame them?), so of course I didn’t really get upset with anyone. But that phrase would just irk me. Referring to Claire’s separation from us as a “loss” just felt so incredibly inadequate that it was almost insulting. And I never felt like she was lost — everything we are is contained in our spirits and our bodies, and I knew where her spirit and body were. She was never “lost.” The phrase doesn’t really bother me any more, but I still don’t much care for it, honestly.
Before Claire’s funeral, we went to the funeral home and got to see Claire one last time. We tucked her in with the blanket I made for her and put the bracelet my husband made for her on her wrist. Duckie gave her her sister bear (we actually didn’t try to have her do that, Duckie just saw that we had Claire’s bear and wanted to make sure that Claire had it, so she picked it up and gave it to her).
The bracelet my husband made for Claire. It says, “I am loved.”
The funeral was beautiful. We ended up deciding to have it just be a family affair. It was a really nice, sunny day and not too cold considering it was December. My father and Nana shared some thoughts that were touching and instead of singing (who can even sing at funerals?), we played a beautiful song that my husband came across while we were planning the funeral. After the service, we all went to my Nana’s and Papa’s house and had dinner and just enjoyed time together as a family.
Display I made for Claire’s funeral and Claire’s casket.
I’ve been so touched by the love and prayers that have been extended to my family. I’ve heard people say that they’ve felt the prayers others have said for them, and I honestly never knew what that really meant. But now I definitely do. I knew people were praying for us ever since we first found out that Claire had anencephaly, but I never really felt those prayers until after her birth and death. But I definitely felt them then, so strong, along with so much love and comfort from Heaven.
It’s been so wonderful to be in Tennessee with my family these last few weeks. We’ve been able to play and laugh and just feel normal. Of course things will never be “back to normal,” but we have a new “normal” now that includes our love for Claire. I feel like we’ve been so blessed and taken care of. And even though it’s only been a month, I definitely feel like we’re doing pretty well. I still have random moments where I just feel so sad, but by and large I do feel happy and peaceful.
When we first found out about Claire’s condition, I read some other people’s blogs who had similar situations, and some people said that through their experience they realized who really cared and who didn’t. I remember thinking that that seemed odd to me. Like, I already know who really cares about me, right? Well, I admit I was wrong. I wasn’t really surprised at all by the people who didn’t call/write/whatever, but I was really overwhelmed with how many more people than I expected did show their love and concern for us. Some people who I hadn’t talked to in several years contacted us just to let us know they were thinking about us. In one of my past posts, I’ve shared how I often feel discouraged with how bad the world is and all the people who choose to do bad things; but as weird as it may be, this experience has actually restored some of my faith in humanity simply because so many of you have clearly shown that you care about other people. So thank you, thank you to everyone who truly cares about more than themselves. You have no idea what your messages/cards/prayers/flowers/calls/etc. have meant to me.
I could make a whole other post about what I wish I’d known before giving birth to Claire or about planning a funeral or just about random other things I’ve learned throughout this experience, but I’m not going to do that simply because it feels too disjointed and likely uninteresting to most people. But if anyone reading this is ever in a similar situation (or is just really curious), feel free to contact me and I’d be happy to give you the tips I’d have liked to have.