Monday, October 6, 2008

Celebration of Life Memorial Service

Don't weep at my grave
For I am not there,
I've a date with a butterfly
To dance in the air.
I'll be singing in the sunshine,
Wild and free,
Playing tag with the wind,
While I'm waiting for thee.

The CMH Celebration of Life Memorial Service is super tough for us. I had to fight back tears from the moment we got there. You enter the third floor to butterfly balloons and are asked to sign a guest book with your name and the name of the child you are remembering. Then we make name tags to wear with Abrielle's name on them so everyone knows who you are there for. We pick up our butterfly which Mady was in charge of. It kept peeking out at her during the service. We then got to leave a message on a leaf on a memorial tree that is kept up all year at the hospital. As we enter the auditorium, pictures of children are being shown on the screen, including our Abby. It's tough to see your little girl up there. Some kids it was obvious that they had some sort of medical issue they were not able to overcome, while others were just born too soon. But others, like our Abby, looked perfectly healthy, making me wonder what happened to them, what's their story.
To the right are the memorial quilt for 2001 and 2007. The quilts are displayed throughout the hospital for 5 years at which point they are retired and are kept in the chaplain's office. Our quilt was being dedicated and would go on display after the first of the year.

Our Abrielle is in the 4th row down, 3rd in from the left. I shared a picture of the block earlier. Here is Mady with Abby's quilt square. Sad that this is how I have to take their picture together now. She wore a shirt with butterflies all over it ~ how appropriate.

The service opens with a song written and performed by a RN at CMH titled "Playin' with Angels". It is a beautiful song, but I don't have the lyrics. I will try to get them and post them later. The service continues with one of the chaplains speaking, a litany of remembrance and a prayer. This is followed by the quilt dedication and Eric Clapton's "Tears in Heaven" being sung. The words seem to take on a different meaning for us now. (I'm leaving out just a little of the song.)

Would you know my name,

if I saw you in heaven?

Would it be the same,

if I saw you in heaven?

I must be strong

and carry on

'cause I know I don't belong

here in Heaven

Would you hold my hand,

if I saw you in heaven?

Would you help me stand,

if I saw you in heaven?

I'll find my way

through night and day

'cause I know I just can't stay

here in heaven.

Time can bring you down

Time can bend you knees

Time can break your heart

Have you begging please

begging please

Behind the door

There's peace I'm sure

and I know there'll be no more

tears in heaven

Another chaplain then spoke, followed by another song that I had not heard. It is by the Dixie Chicks titled "Godspeed (Sweet Dreams)". It seemed more suited to a little boy, but plenty still applied to our Abby. (I'm leaving out just a little of the song)

Dragon tales and the water is wide

Pirates sail and lost boys fly

Fish bite moon beams every night

and I love you

Godspeed, little one

sweet dreams, little one

Oh, my love will fly

to you each night

on angel wings

Godspeed, sweet dreams

The rocket racer's all tuckered out

Superman's in pajamas on the couch

Goodnight moon, we'll find the mouse

and I love you

Godspeed, little one

Sweet dreams, little one

Oh, my love will fly

on angel wings

Godspeed, sweet dreams

God bless mommy and match box cars

God bless dad and thanks for the stars

God hears amen wherever we are

and I love you

The speakers were Chuck and Karin McCrary that lost their little girl at 8 1/2 months in 2003 to hypo plastic left heart syndrome. They shared their story with everyone and of course a few tears. We then released butterflies.

Not sure if you can see it or not, but the butterfly is just above her hand in her hair flying away.

The service was good for all of us and it got Mady to asking questions and she said she even shed a few tears which is a first for her. I will share more about this later since this post is really long.

"We did not lose our children, they died, taking with them our hopes and dreams for the future, but never, never taking away their love.

Though death comes, love will never go away. Hold it tight, the love our children gave us.

Hold it tight through the storms of grief and bring it with you into today. LOVE NEVER GOES AWAY... "


1 comment:

  1. Brenda-
    I guess no one has told us about the service or the quilt. Did they contact you to make a quilt block or did you have to call someone... I def. Want to make one for Elli. Also could you e-mail me your address, I found something I want to send to you it just screamed Abby when I saw it. My e-mail is

    Love you guys

    Brian Cassi and Angel Elli