Saying goodbye to Bow

Friday we had the services for Elias. I think that it wasn’t quite as hard on Jon as it was on me. I just lost it when I got there and saw him in that casket.

I keep wanting to call it a box because, really, that’s kind of what a child’s casket looks like, a plastic box or tote. If you’re reading this, I hope that you never have to know that firsthand.

It didn’t help that the makeup they had used on him was starting to dry out and he looked as though his face was dirty. They fixed it straight away. I watched the man do it. I honestly wanted to take it away and do it myself but I figured they might frown on that.

I did take a picture. I’ve never been one to do such things at funerals, but I thought I owed it to Henry, who definitely would not remember anything, and Noah, who might not remember a lot.

At first, Noah wanted nothing to do with Elias. Later, Noah would take breaks from his buzzing around the place to stop and talk to him. At one point, he pulled a chair up to the casket to talk to Bow.

I had previously made a disc of Bow’s life in pictures. Once they started playing, I found myself watching the pictures. It was easier than looking at his lifeless body. That is already permanently etched inside my mind just like the picture of the way he was when I first found him last Sunday. Those scenes will stay with me always.

Admittedly, I was very concerned about the music I compiled to play at the visitation. I was afraid that people wouldn’t get it, that they would think it was disrespectful somehow. I wasn’t going to do it originally, just let the mortuary pick out music. Then I realized that I couldn’t do that. I couldn’t just stand by passively as people we didn’t even know – granted very kind and caring people – just randomly chose music for my son’s memorial. So I pored over various lists and songs for I don’t even know how long Tuesday until I came up with what, I thought, was the perfect list.

The music, in alphabetical order:
Enya – “A Day Without Rain” (instrumental)
Five for Fighting – “All I Know”
Sarah McLachlan – “Angel”
Alison Krauss – “Baby Mine”
The Williams Brothers – “Can’t Cry Hard Enough”
Celine Dion – “Fly”
Meat Loaf – “Forever Young”
The Dixie Chicks – “Godspeed (Sweet Dreams)”
Jeff Buckley – “Hallelujah”
Anastacia – “How Come the World Won’t Stop”
Eva Cassidy – “I Know You By Heart”
Chris Cornell – “I Promise It’s Not Goodbye”
Sarah McLachlan – “I Will Remember You”
Enya – “If I Could Be Where You Are”
The Beatles – “In My Life”
Billy Joel – “Lullabye (Goodnight My Angel)”
The Muppets – “Mah Na Mah Na”
Metallica – “Nothing Else Matters”
Apocalyptica – “Nothing Else Matters” (instrumental)
Diamond Rio – “One More Day”
James Blunt – “Tears and Rain”
Eric Clapton – “Tears in Heaven”
Faith Hill – “There You’ll Be”
Josh Groban – “To Where You Are”
Enya – “Trains and Winter Rains”
Randy Newman – “We Belong Together”
Kenny Chesney – “Who You’d Be Today”
Randy Newman – “You’ve Got a Friend in Me”

All of those songs reminded me in some way of Bow or our situation. I think most of those songs are pretty self-explanatory. The Muppet and Toy Story songs are because he loved both the Muppets and Toy Story movies.

The minister did a good job of the service. I am so glad because one of my biggest fears for the funeral was that one of my last memories would be that of a horrid service. I’ve been to funerals like that, and they’ve always bothered me. I firmly believe that the respect you show a loved one after they’re gone is important – provided, of course, that they are deserving of that respect in the first place. And Elias certainly was.

The strangest thing was that, after the minister was finished and they cued the music back up, the song that played was “Can’t Cry Hard Enough”. Needless to say I lost it. I’m not sure that any of the other songs would have affected me in quite that manner, but that one just hit me so hard.

It was important for Jon to have Elias baptized before he was buried so we did.

Next, Jon and I closed the casket and carried him out to the hearse. We then went to the cemetery and, after a short prayer and a few words, said our forever goodbyes.

We buried Bow with his extremely well-loved – and tattered – train blanket, Ceili Fey’s Koko (Chuggington train) that was very much beloved by him, a telescope she had made for him, and his night-night cow. Papa George (my father) and Connie laid a pink bear next to him. Uncle Jason, Aunt Allie, and their children, Kaitlyn and Daniel, put in a Thomas train and some train pictures the kids had colored.

Before we left, I took a rose from the spray on the casket. One of my sisters is pressing it for me. Jon and I want a shadow box containing the rose, the lock of hair and scrap of blanket that we took.

I never thought I would bury a child.

We love you, Bow.

15 thoughts on “Saying goodbye to Bow”

  1. You, your family and Elias are in my thoughts. Your words make me cry and I am so sad for the pain you are in and the loss, really there are no words. Just know that this person that you don't even know is thinking of you.Carolyn

  2. I am sorry for your loss. You clearly are a great mother! Stay strongLove from Oregon,The Jackson FamilyErin, Travis, Jake and Hailey and PaytonXoxo

  3. I am so sorry – I too remember the white plastic box. I also remember not being able to watch them put earth in the hole, which for some reason left it open ended to me – weird as that sounds. I didn't want to walk away and let two strange men with shovels bury my baby, I wanted to do it myself. It's hard to explain, this feeling.My heart is with you, mama, and with your husband and family. It's so life changing, burying a child. It's not the end of life, but man, does it change you. Bless you and bless him and bless all of you. If you need me, you know where to find me. xxx

  4. I hate that you and your family have to experience this but I'm very proud of you for being strong and sharing your story. I also cried but it just doesn't seem fair at all. He is always gonna be with you… looking down on all of you. I just hope this doesn't sound stupid or be taken wrong. I just want you to know I think of you and don't even know you. Keeping you in my prayers. When things settle down, I would like to get with you. So please keep in touch. Love ya claudia

  5. I'm sorry. It is very hard. I am glad the funeral was as you wanted it. I think that can be very important. Sometimes people think that can be a little thing, and what matters is that they are dead. Actually, I find the opposite is true for me – the things that you can control some how seem even more important to get right. I wanted to speak at my daughter's funeral, and that was hugely important to me. I did it – and it went well – even though well meaning folk kept trying to talk me out of it. I love the songs you've selected. Anyone who doesn't get it – well, boo hoo to them Big hug x

  6. My deepest condolences. I am hoping to connect with you soon. I have several meals for you, and if you'd like, I am available with hugs, a loving ear, and I have chocolate. I am so, so sorry Amanda. You, your husband, and your little ones are all on my heart.

  7. I do not know you, but a Facebook friend posted your story the other day. I can't even express how sorry I am for what you are going through. I can't imagine the pain you are in right now. I am reading about your precious boy and crying my eyes out. I am praying for you, as are so many others. Please remember all the love and care you gave Elias during his life and focus on the happy memories you have of him. I am so very sorry. I wish there was something I could do or say to make this pain go away for you. Your angel Elias will forever be in my thoughts.

  8. i happened on your blog from another blog. My heart breaks for you. I am so sorry for the loss of your precious boy. Words are not adequate…

  9. Again, I am so incredibly sorry for your loss. I keep reading this post, over and over again…And I hug my kids tighter every single day because of Elias. Even after 4 miscarriages, I cannot imagine the loss of a child who has lived…My heart is broken for you, and I am praying diligently for your family. I know this doesn't mean much, and probably doesn't begin to touch the pain you're experiencing. Just please know there are people who care and are praying for you all during this difficult time. Hugs!

  10. Ughhh….my heart breaks for you and I can't help but sit here feeling so selfish as I cry hysterically over your post. You are so strong to sit here and write all of this and get it out and off of your chest. I admire you and all I can do is pray…pray hard…that somehow this gets easier for you. I am sooo sooo soo sorry for you and your family and just wish I could hug all of you even though we don't know each other. I don't know why this happened to you but it is horrible and I just wish you peace and comfort.

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