I want to write this blog for me, for sorting thoughts, easing feelings and hopefully for healing – although I must say the idea of ever being healed seems ridiculous right now. I don’t feel ready to write about the happy times through pregnancy, the trauma of losing my baby or the experience of giving birth to a beautiful, perfectly formed but deafeningly silent, baby girl. So I’m starting with goodbye, with an ending, with a funeral.
Isobel Olivia’s little life was celebrated and her body laid to rest on 30th June 2015. This was the date that Simon and I, our family and friends had been eagerly awaiting for months – her due date. How do you begin to comprehend having a funeral for your daughter who had so so little time to live?
We decided to have a Humanist funeral, neither Simon or I were religious before Isobel died and we have no inclination to clutch to delusions now, as comforting as they may be. No doubt I’ll rant about the religious platitudes we’ve suffered another time! Noel the celebrant spoke of how our only immortality is the influence we have on others, and the memories we leave in the hearts of people who love us. This to me is so much more profound than imagining a fairy tale world of happily ever after with a god who took us away from our loved ones in the first place! We wanted to emphasise the happiness that Isobel’s existence had brought us and the love that had already grown around our precious baby though she hadn’t yet been born, I think Noel did this perfectly. The poems we chose were heartbreakingly perfect.
We also had music – Blur’s ‘Tender’for the entrance, Ed Sheeran’s ‘Photograph’ for the reflection and ‘Angels’ by The XX for the exit. Angels was our wedding entrance song, when baby was there but keeping her little presence a joyous secret. Photograph had been whirling in my head since finding out Isobel would be stillborn and the words were almost perfect. Tender was suggested by Isobel’s auntie and was so apt.
In a bizarre way I enjoyed Isobel’s funeral. I’m sure enjoyed isn’t the right word. It was beautiful, the sentiment was perfect and I appreciated that so many of our family and friends gathered to show us support but also how Isobel had touched their lives and how many people cared she was gone. Her little coffin was the smallest I’ve ever seen and the saddest thing in the world. Seeing it lowered to the ground was so painful I felt like I would vomit and the sound of the roses being thrown down to it is a sound I can’t imagine I will ever forget. And still as Simon held me I continued to breathe and my heart kept beating, like living was easy. What could have caused Isobel’s heart to stop when mine beats happily, even when I’m in agony, even when I don’t want it to beat anymore?