When I was released from the hospital two months ago, I came home and was expected to rest and recoup from all of the stress and trauma of losing my baby boy. But, first I had to plan his funeral. I had started doing this from my hospital room the night he was born... but was nowhere near through. I had to choose where he would be buried... who would officiate... what type of flowers would cover his tiny casket. All I remember is the great hassle it all seemed to be.
Jake's funeral was on a Thursday. We went to order Jake's casket spray and a standing floral arrangement from a florist here in our hometown the Monday beforehand. The florist was swamped as it was the day before Valentine's day. I managed to hold my emotions until the ladies asked what we needed and I sadly had to tell her I needed to order flowers for my son's funeral. I started bawling. The ladies asked me what I would like. I told her I was thinking a standing heart spray and a small white spray with ribbon intertwined for his casket. The ladies went and retrieved a few flowers from her cooler... daisies, a couple of droopy, semi - wilted yellow roses and some sort of greenery. They were not pretty and the way the lady was arranging them did not appeal to me. I wanted white roses and blue hydrangas, which the lady told me I couldn't have because they wilted fast and wouldn't last in an arrangement. I was so sad... my baby boy deserved more than droopy flowers that were not nice shades... he deserved the best. I refused to settle for less than the best. We left the flower shop very sad but determined to have the best and most beautiful flowers for our angel. We drove to the next town over, and paid a visit to the lady who made the floral arrangements for my sister's wedding. This lady was so very sweet and helpful... she listened to every single want I had... she didn't mind at all the tears that fell while I looked through each book that she had with every possible arrangement and spray. The florist contacted her wholesaler to make sure that the most beautiful flowers were delivered to her for my baby's funeral. I was touched that she cared so much. The sweet lady even volunteered to attach a stuffed animal to the arrangement and add the special ribbon I wanted... all I had to do was bring them to her. On the day of Jake's funeral, so that his flowers would not wilt, she opened her shop early and attached each beautiful flower one by one and delivered them to our funeral home. I will be forever grateful to her for this. She made this situation so much better. I was at peace that at least this detail of this hard situation was finally right and I got what I felt Jake deserved.
Although, the flowers were done, there was much left to be done. After we left the florist, I had a meeting with the funeral director. I have nothing but kind words to say about our local funeral home!! I had gone to school with his daughter and son, and when my mother called him, he knew exactly who we were. We were told that they provide the casket and funeral service free of charge. We had to pay only for the opening and closing of his grave and some other miscellaneous expenses. The nurses in my hospital were shocked, nobody there in Houston even offers the parents anything like that. When you come to East Texas though, everyone here treats everyone like family. There were many questions to be answered. I had to decide which music to be played... answer questions for Jake's death certificate... decide how I wanted the program to read. It was very hard being in the funeral home, knowing Jake was there and not be able to see him. I was so close yet so far away from him. It was absolutely horrible. After leaving the funeral home I contacted the preacher whom I decided I wanted to officiate over Jake's funeral. He was more than happy to do it for me, and we made an appointment to meet at the cemetery to decide where Jake's final resting place would be.
Upon arrival at the cemetery the next day, our preacher stood in the midst of many headstones and we bowed our heads and prayed. This was so very touching. It was so nice of him to pray for our strength and comfort during these times. My great grandmother and other family and dear friends are buried there.. so I had decided I wanted if possible to have Jake buried near them. I was elated when my preacher opened his book and there was an open plot next to my great grandmother. Un-beknownst to me, in the state of Texas however, plots must be 4 feet apart... and whoever placed the headstone to the right of my great grandmother placed it 3 ft 8 inches... making it impossible for Jake to be placed next to her. I was soooo incredibly sad. I just stood there in the rain crying. My preacher, then decided he knew where I should put Jake and began telling me how there were two spaces there, and he knew I'd want to be buried next to Jake... even if I moved to Washington this would always be my hometown... this however is not what I wanted. I wanted to feel like Jake was next to our family and was being taken care of... even though I know he's in Heaven. I didn't want someone else trying to hassle me, tell me what I felt, what I wanted... I just wanted someone to listen to me. Someone to say, Ok Jessica, you want your son by your family, please put him there. After about 30 minutes, we again looked at the book that listed the open plots, and I found one two spots away from my great-grandmother... I knew this is where I would put Jake. And, AGAIN, I was hassled... my preacher began spouting out things about how it would be difficult to get a tractor in there...and how he would run over people... and on and on... and again how I would regret this when I am older and it would be too late. I finally broke down... was crying yet again and told him, that when I am old and die... I won't know where I am buried... I'll be in Heaven... and if my family does decide to bury me there where Jake is, at least i'll be in the same cemetery he is. Never in my wildest dreams did I expect to be hassled so and have something that should've been relatively simple, turn into such a fiasco.
The next day Thursday was Jake's funeral. I had went earlier in the week and bought a nice black dress and heels for the occasion. I'm not sure what all happened the morning of the funeral anymore. All I remember is Jake's funeral started at 11am and I was still in my pajamas about 10:30. I remember thinking that maybe if I didn't get dressed... it wouldn't happen... I wouldn't have to bury my son. I will never forget that feeling of utter despair. I remember how bad every single muscle in my body felt, and how moving one foot in front of the other was so very hard. We finally made it out of our house and drove to the cemetery about 10:45. I was so very afraid we would be late. I remember making the comment... " Oh GREAT, we're going to be late to my own son's funeral." To say I was emotional would be saying the least. We weren't late. We arrived right at 11am. My close friends and family were already at the church and greeted me with a love I can't explain. It was comforting to see all of these people who are so dear to me, there for Jake. There were even people there I didn't know at the time. Two ladies later identified as leaders in my sister's church had driven 30+ miles to attend Jake's funeral and deliver a book of devotions to me.
In the end, despite all of the hassle ,his funeral was beautiful. My preacher said everything I needed to hear. I hardly remember looking at his face at all... I just remember staring at Jake's casket, wishing I could see him, hold him, kiss him just one more time and crying like i'd never cried before. Instead of my sweet Angel boy I had a little lamb wearing his hat and receiving blanket... listening to songs I would have loved to have him hear in person, instead of from Heaven.