In a way it is a relief to have Mary Grace's funeral behind us. Yesterday was a gorgeous day here in Raleigh...beautiful bright blue skies with a warm sun shining down on us. It was a remarkably pretty day to say goodbye. I had trouble sleeping the night before the funeral. My doctor had given me a prescription for a sleep aid and I had to take two (per the directions) before I could get to sleep. I just couldn't let my mind stop thinking about everything; it's been nearly impossible to turn off my brain.
The funeral Mass was a sad, yet comforting way to let her go. It broke my heart to hold Isabel's hand and walk beside Robert as he carried Mary Grace's little coffin up the aisle to the front of the chapel. I felt as if I was watching someone else's family live this sad story; as if it wasn't really happening to us. But I kept reminding myself that we all asked God for "complete healing" for her...and her healing is more complete than we can imagine. The Great Healer is holding her now and she must be so very happy in heaven.
We were so touched by the people who attended...some friends we hadn't seen in quite some time, others we met for the first time at the funeral. I learned that in the future I will go out of my way to attend the funeral of someone I knew or the loved one of someone I know. Sometimes when a person dies you wonder, "Should I attend the funeral? I barely knew them," or "the family won't even remember me." And I can tell you that while we were so touched and comforted by the people we knew would come, we were especially touched by the people who we did not anticipate coming. It meant so much to know that Mary Grace mattered that much, for people we did not expect to see, to honor her life by attending her funeral. Having never been in this situation before, we did not understand how our hearts would overflow with love for the people who came to the funeral. Thank you all for attending from the bottom of our heart.
Mary Grace's casket rode in the limo in between Robert and I from the church to the cemetery. She and her little casket was so tiny that it would have been absurd for her to ride in a giant hearse. The graveside service was brief and windy. I think we were all very nervous for her little casket at one point as the wind really gusted; but thankfully the funeral home attendant stepped in to steady the table on which the casket lay. My brother later noted that it seemed like God was in the wind letting us know that He had her. Isabel tiptoed and skipped around giving me the sweetest little grins, completely innocent and unaware of the reality of the situation. And I was happy to see her skip around...it would be the first and only time she would have played around Mary Grace. I hope Mary Grace was watching her big sister happily from heaven.
Yesterday was such an outpouring of love! We experienced so much of God's grace and so much of His love through the faces and hugs of people, to the cards and flowers, and the donations to charities made in Mary Grace's name, to unexpected gifts for funeral expenses, to gifts of meals and desserts, to clothing items, and all of the prayers that people lifted up for us yesterday! We are so blessed to have had such an outpouring of love for our sweet little baby and for our family. God has truly blessed us. Thank you.
I ask for your prayers again tonight though, as it has really been a sea of emotion for me today. I had read somewhere in a grief book that you should get up in the morning, shower, put on your makeup...basically make yourself look nice, because "when you look good, you feel good", so I did that today. We went to the lake to feed the geese with Rob's family and Isabel played with her cousins on the playground and I was doing really well. But at the end of our playtime when Isabel had a meltdown because it was time to go home, I felt my heart just melt down too. And my heart has felt so very sad the rest of the day. I know that no one expects me to be "okay" today, and this will all take time...but if you read this please lift us up in prayer for a minute that we will feel God's tender arms around us. Thank you friends.