Thursday, October 13, 2011

Funeral and Weeks Following

There will be pretty frequent posts until I get everyone updated on the events of April. Then I won't bother you so much :)

The days following Emily's birth were blurry. A lot of events have been mashed together in my mind. I tried to write in my journal as often as possible to keep my days and feelings straight. Plus I knew I wouldn't remember everything I felt and thought later, so I tried to write it all down.

I think a lot of people expected me to be feeling a little more than I was letting on. The only way I know how to describe it, is, I was still in shock. Reality had not set in. My brother came from South Carolina and spent the week with us, which I very much appreciated. He always makes me happy when he is around. My closest friend also flew in and hardly left my side. Justin took some shifts off work and for the next week or two, I had family and friends around me constantly and did not have to worry about bills or work or anything. It almost felt like a fun family gathering. Until the harsh reality set in and I was reminded why everyone was at my house. Oh yeah. Emily is gone. I'm not pregnant anymore. And I would cry. I know this will sound silly, but I tried hard not to cry in front of family and friends. I even feel silly crying in front of Justin. So I put on a semi-normal face and tried to reassure everyone that I was doing ok, when inside I was terrified of when they would leave and I would be left alone with my thoughts.

Emily was born on a Tuesday, her funeral was set for that Saturday, the 23rd. We wanted to give my brother and Justin's parents time to get into town. My mother made Emily a white dress to be buried in and crocheted her a little hat as well. The dress was made from the scraps of the material from my wedding dress that my mother had also made. It was also the same style as my wedding dress. Justin and I took a picture holding the dress before we took it to the funeral home. If I can get a copy from my mom I will post it.

While we were in the hospital the topic of cemeteries came up. Some cemeteries will let you bury your infant for free. My father had passed a way not quite a year and a half earlier and was buried in a cemetery that charges to bury infants. While I was still drugged up and out of it I had originally said I didn't care where she was buried, that we could pick one that was free. But my husband, being the smart man he is, knew I would care later. He said we wanted her buried by my dad. And he was right. I am so glad she is buried by my dad. It's nice knowing she's not alone out there.

The day before the funeral was a little crazy. I had thought all the arrangements were set. The funeral had called and told us Emily was ready for viewing if family wanted to come see her. I did not feel strong enough or prepared enough, so I chose not to go. (Once again with the guilt...) My mother took my little sister, and came back a little flustered. Apparently the casket was too small for Emily and it was just....wrong. After much discussion, my best friend and brother went to the funeral home to talk to the directors and find out what could be done. It was quite the process, but we eventually got the larger casket and got her situated. The whole process grated on my nerves greatly. I just wanted to yell "leave her alone!" I hated that we couldn't just let her be and had to keep handling her. But thanks to my wonderful family members and best friend, all was worked out.

Like I said earlier, I did not go to see her in the funeral home. At the time I didn't feel like I could handle it. I was scared. I didn't know what I would feel when I saw her and I did not feel prepared. So I didn't go. I look back now and wish I had sucked it up and spent more time with her while I could've. I was her mother. I should have been the one dressing her and by her side. Instead I was a coward and stayed away. But again, that is for a later post...

Emily's funeral was Saturday morning at 10 am. It was a very small, simple graveside service with just my immediate family and a few select members of my church ward, like my bishop. I woke up that morning completely and utterly terrified. I woke up crying and cried all morning as I was getting ready. I spent all morning trying to build up the courage to walk out my front door and get in the car. I did not feel strong enough for what was about to happen. I was going to bury my daughter. I couldn't do it. The whole morning felt like an out-of-body experience. I tried to detach myself as much as possible just to get through it. It was time to leave, so I got in the car and cried the whole way to the cemetery. I had to keep reminding myself to breathe. In. Out. In. Out.

We pull up to the cemetery and I see her little casket set up on table by the grave with some flowers. I lost it. I had not seen Emily since I left her at the hospital, and I had not seen the casket. Seeing the small casket and knowing she was in there was more than I could handle. We were the last ones to arrive, everyone else was already there, standing a ways off from where everything was set up. They saw us get out of the car and it's like they froze, they just stared at us. I was bawling already and the service hadn't even started. I feel sorry for my family who was standing around, probably having no idea what to do or what say to me.

The service was brief. Justin's brother Jason, had written us a poem about Emily. It was beautiful. We had my brother read it at the service since Jason was in New Mexico. I would like to close this post with his poem.

Emily LaNae Jensen

An angel, sent from heaven,

To her family here on earth.

We don't always know his reasons,

But we surely know her worth.

She came and got her body

To gain eternal life.

Even though we can't comprehend

Her parents' pain and strife.

We have knowledge of the Father,

and his eternal plan.

We know that he won't give us more

Than we can handle as mortal man.

The nineteenth day of April

Given to her family here.

And they sadly gave her back

And put aside their fear.

She was too perfect for this world

And had no need to bear

All the sadness and imperfections

In a world with little care.

Heavenly Feather loves her

And she is by his side.

Helping send comfort and cheer

To those of us who cry.

So remember this day

As we lay baby Emily to rest.

She was taken back to heaven

And because of her we all are blessed.

Thanks Jason. And thanks for reading.


  1. Jessica, No need to feel silly about crying. It is needed to help you heal. You are a strong and amazing person for telling your story. your daughter is beautiful.

  2. Tears. Again. I hate that you have any regrets or guilt about your time and involvement with Emily! You gave her a body, the only thing she wanted! You know I know that ;) I was on the brink of tears this whole post, but they OVERFLOWED when I read Jason's poem. WOW. Tell him how special that is to another mother of a baby angel.

  3. That was so nice that your husband got her buried next to your dad. Such a wonderful poem.