I was still at the hospital when they asked me… “will you choose cremation?” The question left a ringing in my ears. I felt panic rising in my chest. My tears instantly spilled over. My baby’s perfect little body was to be reduced to ashes…..
It was the morning of Christmas Eve when I was discharged from the hospital. Our unused carseat had already been returned to our house and tucked away into the nursery. The short drive home was agonizing. He was supposed to be here. He should be coming with us. This can’t be real life. Everything felt out of place. We walked in the door to see our Christmas tree, complete with Lincoln’s first ornament: a tiny framed ultrasound photo with, “Miracle in the Making” scrawled along the bottom. His tiny stocking was hanging on the wall… waiting for him…ready for him…
Because of the holidays, we had to wait a few days to go to the funeral home. The task was looming over me like a dark shadow. My mom and my brother tried to brighten up the house. They brought to us a Christmas morning, filling the house with last-minute gifts and festive food. My precious nephews came and hugged my fragile body as tightly as they dared. Already, I was able to smile. It was half-hearted, but I could feel their love bringing me joy. Joy didn’t feel right, but I was grateful for it. I spent the rest of the day sleeping, my body completely exhausted from all it had been through.
The weekend passed and the time had come. I stiffly got into the car and went to the funeral home. I sat at a table and filled out paperwork that I never thought I’d see. I checked boxes and put my initials next to items that I now have no real memory of. We were taken to a small room with gloomy gray carpet. It was filled with display urns so we could choose how to bring our son home. Everything looked sullen. They all reminded me of something an elderly couple might pick out, after living a long life together. There were a couple of tiny, marble urns, made specifically for children. They were shaped like building blocks; the kind that my little boy would never play with. Nothing felt right. We left the room and looked through catalogs. Finally, after multiple stacks and a full hour, we found a simple cherry wood box with classy, modern font. We put in the order.
It took just over two weeks. Every day I was waiting for my phone to ring. I was preparing myself; but when I got the call that it was time to pick him up, I was instantly nervous. It wasn’t what I thought it would be. In my mind, it seemed grand, but it was as simple as a signature. We drove in silence, waiting to open the bag until we were home. It was so light. My 6lb 13 oz son now weighed less than a pound. We never could’ve imagined that this was how we’d bring him home. My husband and I held each other and cried. We held that tiny box and sobbed. As painful as that moment was, I wouldn’t change our decision. Both of us frequently spend time with this little urn. We stop and run our fingers along the top of the wood, whispering, “I love you” and “Goodnight, sweet baby.” Lincoln belongs at home with us; even if it’s not in the way that we always dreamed.