Tuesday, June 5, 2012

One Last Kiss...For Now

This post (along with several others) have been sitting in my drafts for a long time. I figure it's time to finish and post them...

That first week without my Lily, I was shocked...heartbroken...devastated...shattered. But, I did not break. My Lord was holding me together, keeping my heart from crumbling, as I watched my world change before my eyes. 

I left the hospital, holding on to the promise of seeing Lily again. I knew I'd see her one last time before her burial. However, in the following days, things weren't exactly working out the way I wanted them to, so I didn't know if that would happen after all. I am so thankful it did. 

Six days after I gave birth to my silent daughter, I went to see her at the funeral home. A piece of me was already there, where she was, and I was just aching to be near her. For the first time in all those months, she wasn't with me. The phantom kicks reminded me of what I had lost. I felt so empty without her. Like literally part of myself was missing. She truly was a part of me, living inside of me all that time. The limo arrived and Mr. Willie picked my mom, sister, and I up and we embarked on the journey across town to discuss the details of Lily's memorial service and burial. The car was hot, I was warm, I was trying to choke back the tears.

I wondered if I was ready to see her...would I ever be ready? Would I regret if I did, or regret if I didn't? The fear and the sadness were right on the surface and all I could do was ask God for guidance. Lord, if you want me to see her, speak it to my heart. If I shouldn't see her, keep me from her.

They tried to discourage me from seeing her. They said she didn't look like she did at the hospital. They said I wouldn't want that to be the last memory of her. I wondered why they were saying that...what did my little girl look like? I was afraid to know. After discussing all the details, I decided I did want to see her. I needed that closure. That one last kiss. I needed to see her in that sweet outfit she was wearing, and those little brown shoes. I had peace in my decision. Walking down the stairs, I looked over to my left where I saw a tiny white casket on the other side of the room...

There she is, Lord. There she is. Should I look? Oh, Lord, my little girl...her lifeless body is right before my eyes. Her body that was in me, such a part of me and yet separate, less than a week ago, now there she is in that white little box. 

Hesitantly, I approached her. Instead of fear or alarm, I felt complete joy to see my beautiful girl. She was so beautiful. I smiled at her in her beautiful outfit, the one we had picked out for her to come home from the hospital in. What was to be her "coming home from the hospital outfit" turned out to be her "going home to Jesus outfit." Her true home. Her forever Home. This beautiful pink outfit is one of the only two she will ever wear. The first one she wore is now tucked away safely inside her memory chest. Underneath, she wore a precious onesie that mom and I found for her at J.C. Penny, on one of our many shopping outings. We loved to shop for our sweet little girl! Both mom and I were so certain she was a girl that we shopped for her before any doctor told us so! :-) It has roses on it, for her mommy, Hannah Rose. My Lily in her Rose dress. It was a matching set, with a dress, pants underneath and a hat.

Lily wore her adorable brown shoes. The pair I had sitting on my dresser for the entire pregnancy. The pair that I couldn't wait for her to wear. I miss those little brown shoes with the sweet little bows on them. I miss the excitement of holding them in my hands, as I waited for the little girl who would one day soon fill them. They were so tiny for my tiny little girl. For her age, my girl had big hands and feet though! It was so cute to see her feet squashed into the shoes. She could barely fit them as a newborn!

My mom, my sister, Emma, and I spent some time alone with Lily. There are three boys and three girls in my family. Us girls call ourselves, "the Girl's Club." Lily was to be the newest member of our little "club." No matter how many more babies are born into this family in the future, she will always and forever be the fourth member. I cherish these pictures and memories.

As our time with Lily was ending, my heart was breaking. I knew these would be the last moments spent with her. I didn't want to leave her there, in that cold funeral home. I wanted to take her home with me. But, that was never meant to be.

I had brought along my lambskin from when I was a baby. It was waiting in the cradle by my bed to be used by Lily when she came home from the hospital. But, she never got to use it. I tore a piece of it and put it in the casket with her, resting under her hand.

My mind was so scattered in these first few days and weeks, so none of this was planned. I look back now and see how beautifully orchestrated by God it was. It all just fell into place.

My sister had on my old Purity ring that my grandmother had given to me when I was 15. I decided to tie it around Lily's dress. My pure, set-apart princess. Lily meaning purity. Lily, a symbol of my renewed purity in Christ. The ring somehow had become torn down the middle. Just as my purity had been torn. Yet, my Jesus pieced it back together. And this little girl was a symbol of that. She was the instrument He used. Since then, I have gotten a new Purity ring, a whole one, to wear until my wedding day...

It was time to go. How do you share a home with someone, carrying them in your womb for nine months, your heart bonding with hers, only to have to let go. I had to say goodbye to the very one that had lived and grown within me for nearly a year. 

I whispered in her ear, "I love you, Lily." It felt like my heart was being ripped out of me. My mother heart wanted to stay in that place with her forever. All these stages of saying goodbye...leaving the hospital. Leaving the funeral home. Soon to be leaving the cemetery after the burial. I willed myself to move, but my legs seemed stuck, like they were in concrete. I knew this would be the last time I'd see her pretty face. I can count the number of times I kissed her, rather than a lifetime of sweet kisses. I knew the next time I saw her would be at the burial and that little white box would have a closed lid...The hope of eternity with her gave me strength to carry on...

After taking in one last look of my beautiful girl, all dressed up for Jesus...I  gave her one last kiss goodbye....

...for now.



  1. So beautiful, Hannah Rose. Thank you for sharing this special, vulnerable, heartbreaking day. Lily is beautiful. Biggest hugs.

  2. I'm so choked up right now. How ever did you manage to take that first step away from her?? I would have had to be drug :(. What a brave and wonderful Momma you are. Love and prayers for you!


  3. Hannah thank you for sharing this beautiful intimate moment. I am so glad you had this time with Lily. I declined to see Jonathan at the funeral home and I will always regret it. They are really good at making you think it will be awful. It will be something I always feel sad about. Lily looked beautiful all dressed up for Jesus. I love that you gave her your purity ring soooooo sweet. My boys call themselves the boys club, it makes me sad Jonathan will not be a part of it here on earth. Praying for you my friend Big hugs, You are a wonderful mommy :)

  4. Beautiful (cant stop crying)

  5. ((HUGS)) Thank you for sharing your precious goodbye to your Lily.

  6. Hannah,

    I just saw your comment on my blog...so sorry I haven't looked in so long. It is so sweet of the Lord to connect us. Your Lily Katherine is beautiful, and I have wept as I read your story. Thank you for contacting me and thank you for sharing your story in such a vulnerable way. It is refreshing to hear your open honesty. I also have a heart for those who grieve- I couldn't find your email address. I'd love to share more with you, please email me whenever you would like. My email address is morganspiveymk@gmail.com

    In Christ,

    Morgan Spivey

  7. beautifully written, beautiful pictures, beautiful baby girl. thank you for sharing. hugs.

  8. Hannah thank you for sharing your last visit with your baby girl. My funeral home never offered to let me see Jake during the several trips I made there for various reasons over the 4things days between when I was released from the hospital and his funeral. Truthfully, I'm not sure I could've handled it anyway. Maybe God knew that. I know it had to have been hard to leave her. Thinking of your precious Lily.

  9. She's so beautiful... I can remember going to visit our Gabrielle at the funeral home too - being warned that I may not want to see her like she was but then seeing the beauty in her tiny face. My heart goes out to you and all that you've been through... love to you always xoxo

  10. Your little girl was so beautiful. My mother lost my baby sister, Leah at 32 weeks. I know how you feel about your precious little daughter. I planned on seeing my sister at the hospital, but they didn't recommend it because of how she looked. I will forever regret that. Now as I look back on pictures of her, all I can see is her sweet face, and wish I could have given her a good-bye kiss as you did. All my sympathy goes out to you in your loss.


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