The Day We All Said, "Good-Bye"

It felt strange walking back from the funeral home on Thursday.  Here I had my daughter in a box inside a brown paper bag, all the while other women on the street had their children in a stroller.  I entered the apartment and didn’t quite know where to put Rachel.  Should I put her in what was supposed to be her bedroom?  No, it’s filled with boxes and I don’t want her to be amongst boxes.  Should I put her on the coffee table? No, it would be weird to eat dinner and stare at her remains.  Maybe the kitchen.  I could show her how to cook.  Okay, that is kind of morbid.  The desk is too cluttered with Ping’s exam material, and our bedroom seemed kind of weird.  I decided to place Rachel on the AC unit next to her memory box.  (There’s no room on the window sill next to it).  There she sat, for 2 days.

Friday, I had a meltdown in anticipation of the next day.  There were things I wanted to do or say and Ping didn’t agree with my ideas.  I took the day off of work as I couldn’t compose myself in time to teach the roudy kids.

Saturday, May 1st, we planned to scatter Rachel’s ashes at the Lake in Central Park.  I got up early to go for a run.  Today ended up being the Virtual Critter 5K. (I will save this race report for another post in a few days)  It was warm and sunny today and it felt good to burn some left over steam from yesterday.  The high was in the mid 80s which meant that by the time we reached Central Park, it was littered with tourists.  We even had to fight through the tour groups entering the park. (Apparently the W 72nd Ave entrance is popular) Peter, Arianne (Pete’s girlfriend), my father and mother in law, Ping and I circled about 3/4 or the lake before we found a somewhat secluded area to hold our mini “ceremony.”  I took Rachel out of my purse (again, felt odd carrying her there with so many other kids in strollers), and we each took turns placing them in the lake.  The only outside party member that watched and stared the entire time was a turtle.  I’m sure he/she didn’t mind as long as we didn’t disturb it from sun bathing. 

 Next, we each wrote a note to Rachel on a pink balloon before sending them off into the sky.  There were moments where I felt my eyes well up with tears, but overall, it was a healing experience for us. 

Psychologists say that the worst loss anyone can experience is the loss of their own child.  Studies show that the depth of the grieve one person goes through does not vary in intensity regardless of the age of the child.  Grieving can take just a short time (like it has for Ping), months or years for some.  Through my support group at the hospital, I’ve seen the steps I’ve taken in my grief and am glad that I am progressing, but I also know that I am no where near the end of this grieving process.  I have learned that I can’t push it, deny it, or erase it.  All I can do is, like a disease infiltrating the body,  just let it run its course.

Good-Bye Rachel.  You will always be loved and missed.  And you will never be forgotten.
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