Two weeks ago today was my son's funeral. A day that I truly dreaded... dreaded for many reasons, but one being that once a funeral is over, people move on. People's lives continue and somehow your expected to get back on your feet, pull up your big girl panties and move on. Funerals feel like the end, like 'its done'. It felt like the final chapter of Dex's book. No more words will ever be written in his story. I hate that. I just HATE it. I know his story would have been awesome.
As far as funerals go, Declan's was great. Pastor Dennis stopped by on the 15th and Nate and I talked about what we wanted and how we envisioned the day going. We talked music, Scripture, and sermon. Pastor listened to everything we wanted and took notes. We told him we wanted it to feel personal and somehow include Noah as much as possible. I tell you, planning a funeral for your own child is hard. Nate and I had only ever been to an adult funeral... and the majority of those were for grandparents and in a sense, a celebration of a life well lived. Due to Dex's age, not many people had had a chance to meet Declan and I wanted people to leave feeling that they personally knew our son. We wanted to celebrate his life, yet it's really hard to celebrate a life taken way to early. As I look back on the funeral I think Pastor Dennis fulfilled those wishes and then some.
When 11am came and it was time for the visitation, both Nate and I took a deep breath and said, 'here we go'. The line of visitors was consistent... there was SO many people and both Nate and I were overwhelmed with the support we were receiving. Somehow I imagined the visitation being unbearable, I actually wondered if I would even be able to make it through the whole thing, but bizarrely, I was fine. Nate and I had cried so much and had gone through such an emotional few days that there were very few tears to be had at the visitation. I told Nate I was worried people were going to think we were heartless and cold because we weren't puddles... but truly, even with our breaking hearts, there were no tears.
Walking down the aisle at the church was hard, I couldn't even bear to put my head up. I had the blanket that Declan slept with in my arms... a little comfort for an unbearable event. Pastor Dennis had an amazing message and he did a great job personalizing his sermon to Declan and my family. He talked directly to Noah about still being able to teach Dex to play the Wii in Heaven. He told Noah, 'If you think the Wii is cool here on earth, imagine how great the Wii is in Heaven.... I think it will be extreme!' Noah sat there and hung on every word Pastor was saying. When Declan's slide show played, it was another tear-jerker. Nate, Noah and myself all held hands and cried. When we got up to follow Dex's casket out, I again couldn't even look up, I was overtaken by my sorrow. I wish now that I would have looked up to see our family and friends... to see those who were walking beside us and holding us up.
When we got to the cemetery, Pastor Dennis told us that Declan had the longest processional he had ever seen. He also told us he had never had so many people at the internment ... as he started speaking, he asked the people to come in closer, as they did a circle was formed around us and Declan's burial site. Pastor said, "Nate and Holle, take a look at your circle of support." It was overwhelming... the feelings of support and love far exceeded our expectations!
There were over three hundred people there to show their support and love for our family. We had over 50 flowers/plants sent to the church. Everything was beautiful. As a mother, I couldn't have ever truly imagined a funeral for one of my children, but the day turned out as good as I could have wished for.