My sister and brother-in-law’s wedding weekend was awesome! Thank you for all of the well wishes for them and our family. I will share pictures from their special day, including ones of our cutie pie son/ring bearer Sean soon. However, today I was feeling very emotional/hormonal/ PMS/whatever and wanted to post about it a bit here, as I know that so many of you care and/or understand.
I went to the cemetery to visit Molly’s grave this afternoon, while Sean was at his tumbling class (I took this picture of her grave during a recent visit). I was feeling emotionally fragile as I approached the cemetery and as I turned in off the main street on which it is located the flood gates opened. I knew it was coming and it was all I could do to keep it together until I could drop Sean off at his class. It felt therapeutic to have a good cry as I sat at Molly’s grave. I just really missed her today. I missed her and probably even more so at this stage of my grief the idea of her, if that makes sense. I miss the Molly that grew inside me, that I touched after she was born alive and held after she died. I also miss the Molly that could have been had she been born healthy and lived.
Earlier today I was packing away some of Sean’s clothes that he most recently has grown too big for and glanced at a Rubbermaid container in his closet labeled 12-18 months. It was bittersweet for me to try to recall some of the outfits that Sean wore when he was that age/size and my heart sank as I wondered if and when we might ever have another child that might wear them. Don’t get me wrong, I feel very blessed and lucky to have my dear son who will turn five on Thursday. I just continue to struggle with the reality that I thought I would have more than one living child (more like three) at this stage in my life, marriage and our family.
Getting back to my cemetery visit today and the reason for the title of this post… I spent some quality time sitting at Molly’s grave and talking to my baby girl in Heaven as I admired the most recent decorations Bob, Sean and I had placed there on Friday afternoon, on our way out to my sister and brother-in-law’s wedding rehearsal. Then I did what I often do, which is walk around and pay my respects to the other babies that are buried in the same section as Molly. It is a relatively small section so far, as it is new in the past few years. The original baby section at the cemetery called “Holy Innocents” sadly had filled up around the year 2005 and thus Molly’s area was developed for new additions.
I noticed today that a new headstone had been placed. The grave has been there for awhile with a mass card and decorations, but it was the first time I recall seeing a headstone there. It is also the first headstone to be placed in the section for a baby that died after Molly. This baby boy died on May 4. It really struck me, as though I knew eventually Molly would no longer be the newest baby to die and be buried there, it hadn’t officially happened in my world until today. I have always understood that in time more and more babies will unfortunately join Molly and the other sweet angel babies buried in her section. It just seemed to be another bizarre milestone in my journey with my baby girl, recognizing that she now has new cemetery baby friends in Heaven.
Anyway, after I left the section that Molly is buried in I stopped by Bob’s paternal grandparents’ graves and then his paternal grandfathers’ parents’ grave. As I think I have shared here before, it means a lot to me that Molly is buried in a cemetery that has other of our family members in it, especially Bob’s paternal grandmother who I knew for close to 10 years before she died in April 2006. After I paid my respects to the Grand Bensons and the Great Grand Bensons I had a bit more time left before I needed to go pick up Sean.
So I decided to go check out the original “Holy Innocents” section of the cemetery. For one thing I was curious how many of those graves, many of which date back into the 1960s (and I am sure there are more earlier than that, though I don’t know how common it was back then to bury babies in a separate section, if at all), still had obvious signs that loved ones of the deceased babies/children still visit. I was struck as I drove up how from a distance a good number of the graves clearly had been recently decorated. Many with seasonal Autumn/Halloween themed decorations, as so many in Molly’s section have been over the past few weeks. As I walked along the rows and rows of Holy Innocents’ graves, I read their names, the special inscriptions their families chose for their stones and the dates they were born and in some cases, if it wasn’t the same date, when they died. I said prayers for them and their families as I did the math figuring out how long it has been since they were born and went to Heaven.
At one point I looked at my watch and realized that I better get going, to make sure I wouldn’t be late getting back to pick up Sean from his class. As I made my way through the rows of graves back to my car I thought I saw some birthday candles in the distance sticking up behind one of the headstones. It looked to me like there was a number two and a number four candle. Though I was running it close to pick up Sean in time, I had to go see if there really were birthday candles at this particular grave acknowledging that it had been 24 years since this baby had been born and gone to Heaven. It was true and as I got closer I could tell that the candles had been lite and blown out. I was so touched that this child’s family after almost a quarter century still returns to sing happy birthday and honor their baby’s short but very special life.
So that is where the title of this post comes from… It is not a reference to the hours in a day or Keiffer Sutherland’s hit TV show. Rather it showed me today that though I may not be able to hold my baby girl in my arms today, as I so wish that I could, that I can and will always hold her close in my heart, like “24” baby’s family does. I would like to believe that though someday I may not visit Molly’s grave weekly, as I do most weeks now, that I will always return periodically and especially on her birthday to honor her memory and legacy. My Molly-girl will never be forgotten.
Thank you for reading and for your continued support, thoughts and prayers. I am learning that though with each day the pain I feel from losing Molly softens, there are going to be hard days. Today was one of them. So I have done my best to be kind to myself, to honor my feelings and emotions and connect with my baby girl’s spirit. I am glad that I have been able to work this through here so that I can now return to the excitement associated with and the preparations for Sean’s fifth birthday celebration later this week. Take care and may God continue to bless you and your loved ones. Also, I want to wish my Jewish friends/readers a Happy New Year!