First thing, we got ourselves ready. I don't know if I brushed my hair or my teeth. Frankly, I didn't care. t did know that tI had on clothes. I was numb. I was trembling. I was just lost and broken. Next, we had to get Ainsley dressed for her big sister's funeral. Ainsley, 2 ays into being a 2-year old, had no idea what was going on. We told her that we were going to church. We needed to be at the funeral home first to say our final good-bye and we were the last ones to arrive. I didn't know why we were late but I did know that we didn't know what we were doing..... another out of body experience, I guess. We rushed into the funeral home and threw Ainsley onto someone's lap, handed that person a cup of her favorite yogurt and a spoon. Erick and I walked into the room where eOlivia was laying. I could feel everyone's eyes on us. I moved in slow motion. I wanted to crawl up into the casket with her and have them close it with us both inside. Instead, I kissed her and caressed her gently for the very last time. When I think about that term, "very last time", it just makes my whole body feel weak. That was it - it would never happen again. I would never have a hug from her, never braid her hair, never help her with homework or watch her play soccer. Never, never never, have her walk into a room and brighten my day. My life with Olivia present was OVER.
We finalized what items would be put into the casket with Olivia. Then, without watching, the casket was closed. Done. We'd never see her again except in photographs and videos. Photographs and videos that I would watch over and over again for the next several years.
Ainsley never did see her sister again after the morning of March 23rd.
Everything about that day was terrible. I mean, what could possibly be good about the day of your child's funeral? But, following a hearse with your daughter's casket in the back was...... indescribable. To this day, when we drive on that same road that leads to our church and pass the ugly water tower that sits up on the right, I feel sick. It brings me back to that moment...... to that vision.
To be Continued.