Koen was born on Memorial Day, Monday. On Tuesday, I was discharged from the hospital, went to the funeral home, and met with our pastor. On Tuesday evening I sat in the rocking chair in Koen's room all alone. I fiercely hugged a stuffed animal that was in his crib and wailed. The shock was beginning to wear off and the reality that my baby was dead was setting in.
On Wednesday morning, I stayed in bed as my mom and Kevin got Hackett ready for school. His first day back since Koen's birth. He later told me that while at school one of his friends had said to him, "I heard your baby died, that's sad." Out of the mouths of sweet Kindergartners. It was hard to eat, it was hard to move, and physically even hard to speak. On this day I realized how much I had rallied to put on a brave face for Hackett, but now with him gone I was able to sink into a pit of sadness. There was a weight so heavy on my chest that morning that I could only mutter a word or two at a time. I have never felt agonizing sadness like that before. My emotional pain was so severe that it felt physical.
Kevin and I had business to attend to this day. We were scheduled to go to the cemetery to meet a man from the township to choose our cemetery plots. The funeral was scheduled for Friday and we had decided to have our family over to our house after for lunch. We needed to go and order food.
We went to Jimmy John's to order a sub platter. We walked in hand in hand. The woman who helped us had no idea the occasion for our order. Here we were choosing cold cut combos and condiments. So bizarre, but necessary. I felt as if I was outside my body watching the events unfold, watching myself in Jimmy John's ordering subs, but not really present.
We then drove to the cemetery, where we wandered aimlessly, while waiting for the township representative to arrive. There was a couple who had lost two babies in the 1950s, in just two years, buried next to them. They only had a single date on their tombstone, just like Koen. My heart hurt for that mama. I have no idea what their circumstance was, but for Koen the only physical proof of his existence on earth is his tombstone. He has no birth certificate, no death certificate. It shocked me at first, because as his mom, I wanted that paper. Stepping back from the situation, it makes sense. His life only existed inside of me, not on his own outside the womb. But it hurts to not have the documentation of my son. Kevin worked on the genealogy of his family this summer, one thing he did to keep his mind busy. He added Koen to our family tree, but generations down the road, will not know of his existence. They may wander through the cemetery, though, and see his tombstone.
We picked out the plots where Kevin and I will be buried. I wanted to be under a tree. Something peaceful about that for me. We learned that Koen's casket would be so small that he did not require a plot of his own. His little body is buried right between where his mom and dad will one day be laid to rest.
We are thankful we had the means to bury Koen, purchase his tombstone, buy cemetery plots, and have a funeral service. Not only did we incur the expense of a delivery of a baby, but also all that goes into the cost of a funeral. No life insurance exists for a baby that had no life outside their mama. My hope is that one day we will be able to raise money to help families who need assistance with these expenses. To provide them a place to visit, grieve, and remember that their babies will always be a part of their families, whether it is on paper or not.