Twenty-Four inches and some pink balloons

So on with Ireland’s story…..

We decided to plan a funeral for our precious daughter. We met with our pastor (RG).  To say he’s a pastor isn’t doing him justice….he lives his faith… he walks his faith…. he loves Jesus with all of his heart.  Plus he rides a Harley…..how cool is that?

This man is family to us, he was our high school youth pastor, he married us, was at the hospital when our boys were born, praying over them and for us.  He was with us when Cooper had his tonsils out, when Mac had his tonsils out, and when Moose had his tonsils out…..faulty genetics? I think so! :)  He was there when our marriage was suffering, he prayed with Kevin, encouraged him, and helped him (and by default me) he has allowed us to be human and has loved us regardless.  He was there the morning that Ireland was born, praying with us and grieving our loss with us….

When we met with “RG” the day after Ireland was born, he affirmed what we had already known, that Ireland no matter how short her life, was worth remembering, celebrating and honoring.  So he filled us in on the the hopes he had for her service. Things he wanted to say, and affirm.  To say I was excited to hear his message would be a lie, I hated the fact that we were sitting here planning a funeral for our baby, but I was curious to see how he was going to weave his thoughts together and bring us the comfort we were desperately needing.

We made our way to the funeral home after our meeting with “RG”, that was the single handedly most difficult 45 minutes I have ever had to endure.  We picked a casket. 24 inches long, white, with a quilted white blanket edged in white satin….24 inches.  So incredibly tiny.  We wanted to lay her with my grandpa, nestled right on top of where he is buried, along a row of cottonwood trees, in a country cemetery. A nice place to rest.

I wanted to do a viewing so that her brothers could meet her and say good-bye.  Kevin and I thought that the hospital experience might be too scary for them, so we waited until the viewing to let them see her.  We also decided to ask a dear friend of ours come and take pictures for us, ones that I knew that I would treasure forever.  She came and shared her talents with us, so that we could always have our sweet Ireland’s memory close by.

Her service was on a Saturday morning, and I was amazed at how many of our friends and loved-ones were there with us, honoring a girl, that most of them had never met.  I looked back through the guest book and was stunned by the number of people that came.  I was honored, humbled and mostly just speechless that people were walking through this and hurting with us.

Her service was beautiful, “RG” did our sweet Ireland proud.  Our super-talented friend “BB” played his guitar and sang for her, he sang songs that were perfect tribute to our tiny, one pound girl. The last one he sang, was the one that just moved me. A simple chorus of “Jesus Loves Me” sung by a man with a guitar,  a man who loves Jesus with his whole heart, and who has a daughter of his own that he adores.  He knew that song would be hard for him to sing,  but he sang it like a daddy would sing to his child, with a tenderness that only a parent could know.  It was as if that song was written just for us.  For Ireland.

 

I wanted to let some balloons go after her burial and so I got 24 pink, purple and white balloons to release.  We didn’t realize that her burial would take over an hour to accomplish.  What should have been a simple good-bye ended up being quite an adventure…..

 

Imagine if you will a hearse that is carrying our daughter, carrying her out to her final resting place….imagine the funeral worker that was driving that hearse… imagine her pulling into the cemetery with just enough time to get everything set up before the family arrives….imagine her getting out of the car, shutting the door, and as the door slams realizing that the door is locked and the keys are in the ignition.

 

Oh yes my friends,that is what happened.  The funeral worker, locked our baby in the hearse with the keys in the ignition…..so there we were in a country cemetery 30-minutes east of town. The funeral lady called her co-worker, who happened to be in a town 40-minutes west of town….which if you do the math means that they were a total of 70-minutes away……

 

Long story short, a sheriff came….jimmied the lock….got stuck in the snow…..had to be pushed out of snow…..and all through this adventure I was laughing….yes broken-hearted, bereft, but laughing to beat all….We don’t get any mischief moments with our little girl, so honestly if this was God’s way of saying, “Jess, Ireland’s here with me, and we’re having a good-time, Why don’t you laugh with us?” I figured I could laugh along too.

 

Plus it makes for really good dramatic effect! :)

 

Ooooh the balloons, we finally did let them go, and as they were floating away, one pink balloon stuck in the tree.  I think that balloon was just for me.  From my girl.  Telling me she loves me, and she can’t wait to see me…..soon.

 

God is good and can be trusted! He loves me, he loves Ireland and he gave me a truly beautiful life. Thank you Jesus for your LOVE and thank you for that pink balloon.

I am sorry I got a little windy, but I just needed to clear my thoughts! Thank you for taking this journey with me…I love you all.

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