Sunday, June 9, 2013

A Fitting Tribute...

I think today (Saturday) was a beautiful tribute to our sweet Tatum.  When I woke up this morning I knew it would be a long day, but I didn't want it to end.  When this day is over, that's it.  Back to life.  Everyone else is going to carry on and I, we, will be trying to pick up our pieces and catch up to everyone.  Only I am just fine to curl up on the couch in her spot and be sad for a while longer.
We had to wake Hilary up this morning because we had to try and be out the door at around 9am and of course she is our little teenage toddler so she doesn't usually roll out of bed until 10.   I knew that she was going to be tough today, and I was correct.  It was definitely a three year old day.  I took the two older girls to the church and Lance stayed back to finish getting the boys together and Hilary together.  I certainly got the easy job:)  We went in to where Tates was and I just kept touching her because I couldn't believe this was the last time I was going to see her or touch her.  In all of the touching and fussing I sort of messed up how cute they had placed her hands.  Oops.  Of course when Lance got there it was the first thing he noticed!
We had another short viewing and it was nice.  People came to pay tribute to our sweet daughter and it was so nice and made our hearts sing to think that all of those people had somehow been affected by her short life.
After the family prayer the mortuary said that anyone who wanted could come up and say their final goodbyes and then Lance and I were going to tuck her in her casket.  Several friends and family went and said another quick goodbye to Tatum, the last of which were all of our kids.  They all went up together and said their goodbye together.  Heart breaking.  Lance and I brought one of Tatum's pillows that she used to lay on and two blankies that we used  to put under her legs so that she was more comfortable.   One of my favorite times with Tates was getting her ready each day.  I loved getting her a bath, putting on her lotion, cleaning her face and around her tube site and combing her hair, changing her diaper, stretching her arms and legs for her, changing her outfit, etc.  Then every morning I would fluff her pillow and put a fresh blanket over the top and then we would roll a fresh blanket and put it under her legs and feet and then put a gel pillow under her head and neck.  So, Lance lifted her up and I put the pillow under her and put her gel pillow under her neck and then covered her with a sweet soft pink and white blanket.  We kissed her on the forehead and then the morticians put the lid to her casket on.  That was it, I will never get to see her again.  Just like that. The boys and Lance then rolled the little stand that her casket was on out to the chapel.
The next hour went so fast.  The music was amazing and fantastic and fitting.   I feel like Lance and I were able to say the things of our heart that hopefully paid great tribute to our sweet angel.
We then proceeded to the cemetery where they had already placed Trevin in the grave.  Heidi sat at the graveside and played her ukulele.  They brought Tatum's casket over and Lance dedicated the grave for both of our sweet babies, now side by side.

Our neighbors had brought balloons to release and so they then passed those out and we released pink and white balloons.  Up to the heavens.

Everyone then went back to the church for the luncheon.  I had asked the mortician if I could stay while they placed Tatum  in with Trevin.  I just wanted to see them, together.  I think it is a mother thing.  He said that i could stay.  My friend Maryann stayed with me.  When they got Tatum down they had to shimmy them both a little bit, it was a pretty tight fit.  I told the cemetery guys that they were just trying to be difficult.  Apparently cemetery guys don't have a sense of humor.  I think they weren't sure what to make of me watching what they were doing.  I am not sure that I like the idea of having the vision of their little caskets in this big hole, now that it is in my brain.  But for some reason I really felt like I needed to see them together.

After the luncheon we packed all of her things up and went back to the house.  That was it, over.  I will tell you, it is very sad to have everything over.  When she died it was more than devastating.  There isn't a word to describe the feeling that is adequate.  But at least you then have to jump in to planning her celebration.  You still get to think about her and talk about her and feel her near.   Now that is all ending.  It is very hard.

I was thinking about the feelings that I carry for Trevin and the only word that describes it is joy.  I really have just pure joy and happiness when I think of him and how it felt to be his mom.  I don't remember very vividly these feelings of utter despair and sadness that i felt after he died, although I know that I felt them.  I know this will get better.  I know that someday when I think of Tatum and her beautiful life with us that I will not feel the deep sadness.   I know I will feel the joy.  I just miss her so much right now that I am having a hard time thinking about or doing anything else.  I guess it is devastating to the spirit to have to give up the presence of an angel, and all of the other angels that were ministering to her daily, in our home.

We go back to life on Monday.  We will see how that goes.  Poor Lance has to go to work.  I am not sure how he will do it.  His work has been so kind to us, so I know that they will allow him to ease back in.  It will just be weird to have him gone.  Hilary may not handle this very well.  She has been a little bit of a mess. Huge tantrums and screaming fits and a lot of times she only wants Lance.  When we got home from the funeral she had an accident so we had to get her right in the sink bath.  Poor girl.  She just isn't sure how to deal with all of these emotions.  None of us really do, right?


  1. You move on with life, but you never forget. I know Tatum will never be forgotten by any one of us that she has touched in some way. We still think about Trevin- like it was yesterday. You have so many more people to remember Tatum....her whole family will remember her and will be able to feel that same joy you feel with Trevin. I pray for peace in your mind and has to be so hard- I just can't even imagine the pain you are feeling...times two! The funeral was an amazing tribute and I am so thankful we were able to attend. So thankful we got to be there but sad we had to leave. Peace be with you 'til you meet Trevin and Tatum again....

  2. I will be one of many that remember Tatum. Not just tomorrow or next week, but always. You may get texts or facebook posts often as I let you know I am remembering her...

  3. Heather I just wanted to let you know how amazing I think you and your family are. The funeral was beautiful and your talks were so spiritual and moving. I still don't understand how you were able to speak - and do such a good job! May angels continue to watch over you & your family. All of us at L&D are keeping you all in our thoughts and prayers. We love you and think the world of you!

  4. I think the "moving-on" is the worst. I remember laying in bed, just wondering how everyone could continue on when everything was so different, in our lives. I think my heart hurts the most for your kids. I feel fortunate (and sad too) that my kids were not on this earth yet when Lilly and Ryker passed, as I think it makes the hurt ache a bit more when you are considering another's hurt too. Thank-you for still writing Heather. I love reading your words, love the pictures, but I still wish I could take away the hurt. You are amazing, and the day was truly perfect for such a beautiful little girl.

  5. If Canary Garden is still going, that was a help to my children after the 1st time facing the death of a sibling. The 2nd time around, we did more individual things depending on the needs of each of them. There was so much more chaos going on that we just couldn't do a scheduled group. My kids have been through so much, and I admire that they have accomplished what they have anyway. As you see with Hilary, even the littlest ones understand enough to know things are changed, but they aren't always articulate. Even those of us with a grasp on vocabulary don't have the words for this (my attempts with these posts an example). It is a process. I am sure you remember some of that from what you experienced with your sister. Grieving independently is a challenge in itself. Learning to grieve as a family, and within a family where all are grieving differently and trying to learn how to adapt is a new dynamic. It can be trying and overwhelming. A good many prayers have been said on behalf of my children in this process, and I have also offered many prayers for yours.