Monday, December 29, 2008

Our Little Angel

I never thought I'd say these words, and it still feels surreal to say them: We buried our daughter yesterday. Part of me wants to write and write and lay out all of my thoughts and feelings, and another part of me is holding them all so special and sacred to me that I want to be selfish and keep them to myself. So I guess I'll try to find a happy medium.

Friday night was Josephine's visitation. Jon and I went early to the funeral home to dress her in her burial gown. It had been made by Jon's sister, Jeanne. It came complete with bloomers, a slip and a bonnet. After dressing her, we sat in silence with her. It was amazing to me how beautiful she was. We did take some pictures, but I hesitate to post them. While we will treasure them, I'm not sure how other people would react to pictures of a child who has passed. My mother, stepfather and sister came later with Marian and James. Marian seemed to retreat a little. I'm sure she didn't know how to act or what to say. I didn't either really, and I'm an adult. James saw her, and exclaimed, "My baby!" It was as though he had just realized that he hadn't seen her in three days. He immediately put his hands on her just like he did the first time he saw her in the NICU. He asked to hold her then, so I put him on my lap and then wrapped Josephine in a blanket, so he could say his final goodbyes. Marian then asked to hold her, but she couldn't stand to do so more than briefly. Jon then carried Josephine to her casket. She looked like a little porcelain doll. Her visitation went smoothly. We were happy to see so many friends and family come to pay their respects.

Saturday morning, my dad, stepmother, sister, and brother arrived from Ohio. They arrived just before Jon, the kids, and I left for the church to help get things ready for Josephine's funeral services. We were able to spend the morning with just her and family before they closed her casket. That was the last time I got to see her. Her services were short, but meaningful. We are grateful to Ken Huey and Landon Kirk for agreeing to speak for us. Much of what they said that morning were things that I had read or been taught before, but it was so much more personal that morning. I pray those of you who joined us were able to feel of the Spirit which was there and have peace and comfort.

Finally, on Saturday afternoon, we arrived at the cemetery where Josephine was to be laid to rest. The weather had changed from cool and rainy at the Lake of the Ozarks to very cold and misty in Stella. The weather was just like it was on the day Jon's dad was buried. I'd like to think it was his way of saying he was there. We didn't spend much time there because it was so cold - just long enough for Jon to dedicate her grave. Seeing her casket there and then leaving her there was perhaps the hardest part of the day. How can you turn around and walk away when everything in your being is screaming that you should be holding your baby and leaving with her, not leaving her?

I am comforted in knowing that I will always have her as my daughter. My Josephine will always be my little girl. How wonderful and miraculous! And how grateful I am for the atoning sacrifice of my Savior, Jesus Christ, that allows me to repent of my sins so that I may be worthy to return to live with my Father in Heaven and my dear daughter in the Celestial Kingdom and also to partake in the blessings of the resurrection with her. We will always be a family - an eternal family.

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

God bless your little girl. She sounds like she was dressed as an angel...so beautiful. Hugs to you and your family.

TheLawheads said...

Well the only thing that I can say is that I wish that I could somehow pray for your pain to go away but only time can help it get a little easier .I am always here for you and we need to have you over for dinner soon!! We havent gotten together for a while and I want to treat you guys to a dinner and maybe a game night. You are in our thoughts and prayers. We love you and cherish our friendship that we have with you!

Ms. Pool said...

We have been out of town and I just now learned about Josephine. No words can truly tell how sorry I am for your loss,or how wonderfully blessed we all have been at the strength of your faith during her brief time on Earth. Those we love never really leave us. Josephine will live on in each of you all the days of your lives. She will be your Guardian Angel as you move through this life. We rejoice that God's plan will bring you all together again one day.
May you find comfort in Josephine's memory and peace in God's grace.
Our love and prayers are with you.
Please do not hesitate to call me if you need anything now or when we go back to school next week.
God Bless you.

Standley said...

I have been away at school for some time now and recently learned what has passed. I know that Heavely Father loves each and every one of you. I await the joyous day that our families are together again.

May your strength endure and your song never falter.

ceekay said...

No words...just wanted you to know I stopped in...

Jill said...

Please accept my deepest condolences on the loss of your precious, precious child. I originally surfed into your site from a link on an apron blog run by one of your relatives and have been following Miss Josephine's story for about a month or so. Although we are not of the same faith I want you to know that the deepness of your faith and the grace bestowed upon your family by God have made a profound difference in the lives of so many. Much love to all of you as you make your way through these difficult days and much hope that the love and caring of your friends and family will light your way.

Marylois said...

Your thoughts are beautiful, Clara. Ask Katherine about the experiences she has had with Matthew. He has been watching our family for years. I know Josephine will do the same for your family. Here are the words of a hymn the choir sang during last conference. I love them.

Oh, what songs of the heart
We shall sing all the day,
When again we assemble at home,
When we meet ne'er to part
With the blest o'er the way,
There no more from our loved ones to roam!
When we meet ne'er to part,
Oh, what songs of the heart
We shall sing in our beautiful home.

Tho our rapture and bliss
There's no song can express
We will shout, we will sing o'er and o'er,
As we greet with a kiss,
And with joy we caress
All our loved ones that passed on before;
As we greet with a kiss,
In our rapture and bliss,
All our loved ones that passed on before.

Oh, the visions we'll see
In that home of the blest,
There's no word, there's no thought can impart,
But our rapture will be
All the soul can attest,
In the heavenly songs of the heart;
But our rapture will be
In the vision we'll see
Best expressed in the songs of the heart.

Oh, what songs we'll employ!
Oh, what welcome we'll hear!
While our transports of love are complete,
As the heart swells with joy
In embraces most dear
When our heavenly parents we meet!
As the heart swells with joy,
Oh, what songs we'll employ,
When our heavenly parents we meet!

Miss L said...

Clara and Jon and family,
We were so sorry to hear about your loss. Your sweet Josephine has had such an impact on so many, in the very best possible way. Thank you for sharing this special time, with all the joys and difficulties and sadness and triumphs you have and are going through. Your examples are strengths to all of us. May you continue to be blessed through this time, and please know your sweet family is in our thoughts and prayers. Love, Laurenda Blau Peters and family

Anonymous said...

Hi Clara and Jon

I am so sorry we were out of town and not able to be at the services for Josephine.I hope you felt our love and prayers. I really appreciate your postings on your blog as it allows me to feel a part of what is going on and share the experience. I am grateful to have shared in Josephines life and how much she brought to all of us. God bless your family as you go through this difficult time.
Peggy Koch

Back Porch Blessings said...

I have been following little Josephines life for about a month now, I am new to this world of blogging and happened upon your blog and fell instantly in love with your sweet little girl. The day you posted her passing I cried myself to sleep because of the sadness I felt for your family and the empty feeling I had inside, I did not know Ms. Josephine but feel like I did and being a mother of 4 your heart just fills with instant love for a child and for such a wonderful, loving and patient family like yours. I will miss her sweet little face that I so looked forward to seeing every time I went onto your blog but I do look forward to seeing your other lil ones continue to blossom. My thoughts and prayers are with you always.
Kathy

Anonymous said...

How sweet that you were able to dress your tiny baby for burial yourselves. It is wonderful you were able to participate in such a personal, hands on way and bring closure to your eathly experiences with her. I know she is aware of your love and tender care of her and some day in a far better place she will thank you for it.