Monday, November 30, 2009

Sleep in Heavenly Peace

Olivia's memorial service was on Friday, November 27th, at the funeral home. She was laid to rest at one of the Catholic cemeteries, next to my grandparents' plot - Livie's Great Grandpa Ed is already there, and her Great Grandma 'Nore will be there someday. The service was absolutely beautiful. We had never been to, much less planned, a service for an infant before so we didn't really have any idea what we were doing, but I think it turned out perfectly. We feel like it honored Olivia in a very sweet way, and while people were certainly teary, I really think it celebrated her little life and her beauty rather than mourn her death - which was exactly the way we wanted it. We don't get to plan Olivia's birthday parties, or any of those special things that parents usually get to put together for their kids, so we wanted to make sure that every detail of the one thing we were able to plan (that no parent should have to..) was perfect.

Our pastor, Mike, lead her service at the Chapel, and then we crossed the street to the cemetary for the commital ceremony which was done by Father Shane, the priest from my grandma's church. Both of these men are family friends as well as our pastor/priest, and they both spoke about Olivia beautifully. There was a very personal feel to the whole thing - Mike had visited us in the hospital and had gotten to meet Olivia.  I need to ask him for a list of all the scriptures and prayers that he read, because they were amazing. The funeral home gave us a DVD of the service, so I 'spose I could get them from that, but I don't think I'm up to watching it, or will be any time soon. Actually, I don't know if we'll ever watch it, but it's nice to have just in case.
For Olivia's flowers, We ordered a beautiful spray full of pink roses, carnations (i think?), hydrangeas, baby's breath, and pink ribbon. The florists put a big, adorable, soft pink teddy bear on it, and at the cemetary, Father Shane brought her to me and told me to think of Olivia everytime I hold her. we have slept with her every night since. There were also two big flower arrangements that matched the spray for her casket and sat in two pretty white urns on either side of the front of the chapel. We also ordered boutonnieres and corsages for Kurt and I, and for our dads, moms, sisters, and for my grandma. They were made of pink roses, and the same ribbon used in the flower arrangements. Kurt and I also wore angel wing pins that my mom found for us.  Everything was simple, pretty, and sweet...and very pink, which was perfect for our little girl.

Kurt came up with the idea to wear pink for Livie - he wore a pink shirt and a pink tie with his suit, and I wore a dark grey dress with a pink and grey sweater.

Kurt put a lot of time and effort into a slideshow of pictures of Olivia. He worked really hard on it, and it turned out perfectly. The pictures were set to "Somewhere Over the Rainbow", sung by Faith Hill. He did such a great job. Livie is lucky to have such a sweet daddy. We could only pick a handful of pictures for this one, so the plan is to make a longer one with a lot more detail. Maybe we'll get it put on Youtube and then I can post it here.

The songs we chose were [click to listen] Homesick by Mercy Me (We chose the album version, this one is the accoustic), and Glory Baby by Watermark. They are THE perfect songs for Olivia and for what we feel about her. We have found a lot of comfort through listening to them - their lyrics have really helped us to stay positive.

This is the outfit that we bought for Olivia to wear. We had planned on having her wrapped in this froggy blanket that I registered for, but her casket was so tiny, there was no room! She looked SO perfect and beautiful in it.

Kurt's good friend Taylor from his unit in the Marine Corps and his fiance Brittnie flew in for Olivia's funeral on Wednesday. We are so thankful for them. They have been SUCH amazing friends to us. I Know that having Taylor here really helped Kurt get through those few days. They stayed with Kurt's family, so they spent Thanksgiving with us as well. If this is any indication of what a great guy Taylor is, when he heard the news he didn't ask if we wanted him to come into town, he just said "I'll be there Wednesday". He dropped everything and flew all the way from San Diego. Brit was supposed to go home to Utah for Thanksgiving, and she changed all of her plans to be with us too. They were/are a great support, and I'm so glad they were here to spend the Holiday with us and come to Livie's memorial.

We set this table up outside of the chapel, full of Olivia's things. Kurt got me the white angel bear on thanksgiving night - when you wind her up, she plays "Silent Night". She reminded us of Livie right away. Pictures of Olivia, a family picture, her tiger and froggy, the book we read to her in the transition room, her foot and handprint, the molds that the chaplain from Children's made of Livie's hand and foot, the bag that the nurses packed of all of Olivia's "hospital things", the blanket Olivia was wrapped in, and the quilt my sister made for her, the 3 hats she wore in the NICU, the holy water from her baptism, a framed scrapbook page that the NICU nurses made for her, the "O" from the letters that I painted for her room that spell out "Olivia", the pink outfit that she wore, a framed portion of Psalm 139 that was given to us at one of our baby showers, a Willow Tree statue of a mom, dad, and little baby that my Aunt Allison gave to us in the hospital, and one of the blankets from Olivia's crib bedding. Whew! I think that about covers it.

These are the bookmarks that I made for her funeral. I made them on the computer (obviously..), and we had them printed and laminated at office max... I did the edges, Brit cut the ribbon and my mom tied all the bows. I wanted people to have more of a keepsake to remember Olivia rather than just a paper program. They turned out prettier than I thought they were going to.


Back... (That's her foot and handprint on the bottom)

Both of Olivia's Grandpas were her pall bearers, even though her little casket was so tiny and light that she probably only needed one person to carry her. It was so sweet to watch how carefully they lifted and walked with her. It was obvious to everyone who watched that they loved their granddaughter!


At the cemetary, Father Shane blessed the ground that Olivia was to be buried in, and then Mike said a couple of prayers as well. Then, we passed around a bag of pink baby roses, and everyone placed one on her casket. Kurt and I stood there for a long time after everyone else walked away, just loving and missing our baby girl.

Afterwards, there was a lunch for family at my Grandma's house. A friend of Kurt's mom provided food and desert for us. It was nice to relax and spend time with our families.

My mom took this picture of Kurt and I with Olivia before her service. I think it's beautiful. We did take some pictures of Liv in her casket, but I won't post them here. We are just going to put them in an envelope I think and put them away - even though she looked beautiful, she didn't quite look like HER.. and we don't want to remember her that way. We just didn't want to not take one, and then wish in 20 years that we had. This one is the closest I'll probably come to posting one of those on this blog. I don't like the idea of someone being able to google us and find a picture of our dead baby.

Kurt and I were totally blown away by the number of people who attended Olivia's service. We hadn't talked to many people to let them know when it was going to be, and neither had our parents. There was a much bigger turn out than we had been expecting! It made me so happy - yet another indication that Olivia's life had a huge impact for such a little girl. We are so blessed to have so many people that care about us.

It was such a beautiful day for such a beautiful little girl. We are at peace when we think about Olivia - we love her so much, and we know she is in Heaven waiting for us, where we WILL be with her again. Now, we have our own little guardian angel.

Thanks again to all of you who have been thinking of and praying for us. You have no idea how much it means.



Nlvaden said...

I am so sorry that you are going through this. From the looks of it, you two planned a beautiful service. She is with God now and really is your very own guardian angel. I know she has touched my life already and I don't even know who you are (Other than from the bump).

Anonymous said...

I found your blog on the nest. I just wanted to tell you that your grace and strength through this experience is absolutely amazing. I am in awe of how lovingly and carefully you have preserved all of these memories of your beautiful daughter. You truly honored her. It is so obvious how big of an impression she has made on your lives. I hope God grants you peace in the coming days

Anonymous said...

She is so beautiful. I guarantee angels welcomed her with open arms and are showing her the love she deserves and needs until you all meet with her again. Please,live every moment,breathe every breath,knowing your angel is smiling at you and loving her mommy,daddy and family every moment. Even though she is not physically with you all right now, she is definitely loved and missed, I can tell. Love and live on for her knowing she is not forgotten!

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