After my sister-in-laws death, viewing, and funeral, it occurred to me that people experiencing the worst grief seem to hold up the strongest. You all know what I mean..... when we attend a viewing, we're always so impressed how "well" the immediate family is in the situation. My brother-in-law was stoic. I know that he was hurting inside and wanted to curl up into a ball and pretend that this wasn't happening to him and his girls, but he didn't. He stood in that funeral home (the same one that Olivia was viewed) and he greeted people who were paying their respects to Jen.
How is it that grieving people can cope?
March 29, 2012 was the date of our viewing for our sweet Olivia. That morning, Erick and I went to the funeral home early so that I could do her hair. Beauticians had offered to do Olivia's hair but I wanted to do her hair for the last time. Erick and I arrived at the funeral home along with Erick's youngest sister, Anne. We had asked her to meet us there in case we needed emotional support. That moment that you look in a room and see a casket surrounded by so many flowers, plants, wreaths, and stuffed animals but inside of the casket is your 8 year old daughter...... it's breathtaking. It's heartbreaking. It's devastating. It's just so, REAL now. Remember, I haven't seen Olivia since that fateful evening 7 days ago. Erick hadn't seen her since 7 morning ago but he hadn't seen her....... dead.
We immediately went to her and hugged her stiff body. We cried but we also sat with her and felt so comforted by her presence. It was so nice to be with her again. It's been a long week and all we wanted was to be with her. Granted, this wasn't the way we wanted to be with her but we could look at her and touch her.
I brushed her hair with her Hannah Montana hair brush, then cut a chunk of hair from the back of her head. I tucked the hair brush somewhere in the casket. It was hers. For the last time, I braided her hair, one small braid on the side of her bead like a did so many morning for school.
Our family began to arrive, then friends. Erick and I stood by Olivia the entire time as so many people came to pay their respects to our sweet Olivia.
To answer my own question fro earlier. How do we cope? How did we cope? It's an out-of-body experience. I could actually see my self hugging people like I was floating above watching this all take place. We made it through that day because we had to. We couldn't curl up into a ball and ignore that our daughter was dead. Being there with her was the last chance we would get.