Sunday, January 27, 2013

"An angel in the book of life wrote down our baby's birth, and whispered as she closed the book, 
"Too beautiful for Earth."

We buried Jonah this past Friday. I wish I could tell you how beautiful it was. Giving birth to Jonah was beautiful, burring him was not.

As the pastor read scriptures and the undertaker stood by with a pile of dirt, I glanced around at the other headstones of babies whose birthdays were the same as the day of their deaths. As I read the names I thought how sad it was, then I realized that was the reality I was living.

The church itself was beautiful. About 10 years ago when Brian and I were searching for a spot to get married we found ourselves at little Catholic church on the outskirts of Boulder in a pasture surrounded by the foothills. The pink stucco exterior and quaint setting was perfect and we could not think of a more beautiful setting to say, “ I do." Naively we assumed we could get married anywhere we chose but learned that nuptuials at the church were reserved for confirmed Catholics.  While I did consider converting we eventually choose another spot ½ mile up the road that also overlooked this beautiful spot.

Ten years later we learned that this church had a special place for babies like ours. A baby garden for children who were released to heaven before their births. We went back and forth on whether or not we should have him cremated or buried somewhere where we could also be buried someday (yes, they give you pamphlets of area mortuaries while you are waiting to give birth) but in the end we found comfort knowing that he would be with other babies in a church that reminded us of happier times.

We read scriptures, listened to songs, and Brian and I each read letters we had written to our son. Brian painted a beautiful blue box with white puffy clouds with Jonah’s name written in yellow for him to lay in. On the outside of the box he wrote the scripture “fearfuly and wonderfully made” and on the inside Matthew 19:14, “Let the children come to me..for the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to such as these.”

The day before we went to the craft store and bought “little boy” stickers that are usually reserved for scrapbooking your child’s life, not for being put on their casket. The stickers read, “Our little angel,” “you are my sunshine, “perfect prince” and “our little boy.” We also stuck on stickers of teddy bears, bottles, and bats and gloves. Earthly childhood toys our baby would never know. He was buried with a tiny blue bible, a little stuffed lamb, and some cards that said, “I love you” as well as the letters we wrote to him.

We each shoveled some soil over his plot (a sound that will forever haunt me) and watched as he was lowered into the ground. No, nothing about that moment was beautiful.

Brian and I had picked out four white balloons for with blue ribbon to be released into the sky. They were to signify each of us, but Brian said they also could represent the four children we have called our own. We were planning on releasing them individually but could not untie the knot. Untangling it became frustrating and it occurred to us that perhaps it would be more meaningful if they went up together as even in death we cannot be separated.

After the service we went to go get smoothies. While I will never know if Jonah would like his crusts cut off of his PB&J or if he preferred pepperoni or just cheese on his pizza, I did know that he loved smoothies and wanted one every single day he was with me. So that’s what we did, we drank smoothies in honor of him. A week ago when I came home from the hospital looking at all the foods that Brian had stocked in our fridge to satisfy my  “cravings” were unbearable to look at. A week later as hard as it is I want those things because they are my connection to him.

As we sat there drinking our smoothies we looked at the pictures from the service. Blinded by the sun’s light when we released the balloons we were just aiming the camera and shooting, hoping that some would turn out. When we viewed the photos of the balloons we immediately saw a sign from God.

Now I will admit I am the girl who thinks she sees images in her grilled cheese. A few months ago I was certain that Darth Vader had appeared on my toast. A few weeks ago Brian tried to play joke on me by using butter to make the shape of the Lombardi trophy on the grilled cheese he was making knowing that I would take it as a sign about the Broncos' super bowl aspirations (neither the grilled Lombardi or the Broncos hopes came to fruition) but what we saw in the clouds was more than our emotions trying to concoct an image for comfort… no, we saw a dove, in fact we saw several doves….

If you look closely you can see the balloons by the dove's nose (but there are only three visible, at this point one of the balloons disappeared and instead we see a dove.)
Outline of dove

Belly of a dove (the balloons floating by the wings)

Yes, I am sure if you look at the clouds long enough you can see just about anything so call it what you will, but we are going to choose to believe that this was a little boy saying, “it’s going to be alright mommy & daddy- I am home now and I am free.”

 And that is beautiful.

Jen & CO. 


The Boncoddo's Blog said...

Sending love and prayers today and always. I cannot even begin to fathom your grief but want to thank you for sharing your story and Jonah's story. Praying you find peace.

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