Friday, July 26, 2013

Mattie's Memorial Service

Dear Mattie,

On Monday, July 8, 2013, we laid you, our precious gift from above, to rest in a little space beside your great-grandmother Mattie.  Writing about the day we laid you to rest is one of the most difficult tasks I have yet to accomplish. My desire to honor you and express the love I felt for you is the only way I was able to get through the day.  I feel a lot of peace about our decisions regarding that day.  It all just came together the way we hoped it would.  You were laid in a sweet little white casket, and Mommy, Daddy, and your brothers surrounded you with lovely pink roses (although not as lovely as you, my beautiful girl).  We didn't get to look on your face that day so we had kissed you for the last time on the Wednesday previous to this day.  The beautiful framed picture of you that we will look at everyday of our lives was displayed for all of your family to see. While the last few weeks have been especially busy with moments of happiness as we share life with your brothers, my nights have still been especially hard as I long to hold you in my arms one more time, and I long for those precious middle of the night feedings that would have been such a special time for us to spend together.  I am still haunted by the memories of the night of your birth. My mind races over the events of that day and wonders at what moment you actually left me. Was it at home while I was busy preparing and packing my bags for the trip to the hospital or lying down to monitor contractions or kissing the boys goodbye or getting in the car and pulling out of the driveway just as the rain started to fall or driving through the rain on the way to the hospital or arriving at the hospital and needing to be pushed in a wheelchair up to the labor and delivery floor because of the intense pain?  I am haunted by the thoughts that if we could have just gotten to the hospital a little sooner, you might have been saved.  These are the thoughts that often keep me awake at night or wake me from sleep.  While I don't want this pain to constantly take the breath out of me, I also fear the day when the pain will lessen with time and that I may forget even one small part of you.  I don't want to forget what you looked like or felt like in my arms or how soft your skin and hair was.  I don't want to forget you as a real person.  I wanted your memorial service to reflect the person you were even if that person never lived outside of my body.  You were alive and completely ready to join us.  We had so many plans for you.  I hope that you do feel honored by how your Daddy and I chose to honor you.

We love you with all our hearts and will never forget you.  You are and will always be a part of this family, and we will not be whole until we can be together again.

Always and forever yours,


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Mommy prepared the programs for the service. 
Mommy wrote the following poem for the program:

To Our Daughter

Heaven seems so far away
as we imagine you there today.
We know you are at peace,
but the pain in our hearts continues to increase.

Our love for you has grown
since the day we discovered you would be our own.
When we first saw your face on the ultrasound, 
we knew the depth of our love would know no bounds.

We watched you grow and felt you move
as your strength and health continued to improve.
For your arrival, we were soon prepared,
as our hopes and dreams for you were declared.

Your due date came and went
and still we awaited the blessed event.
On a rainy June night, you decided to come, 
and we hoped to soon welcome you home.

But our future was not to be so complete
when your heart was no longer found to beat.
You had left us for your home in heaven
with empty arms and hearts our future possession.

Until we can meet in heaven one day, 
we pray that God will show us the way.
To fulfill God's purpose for us
is the hope for the future that we profess. 

Order of Service

Opening Prayer

Pastor's Message - We asked a dear old friend that knew Mommy and Uncle Paul when they were young children living in the Home for Children before they were adopted to speak words of comfort to us at this time.  He was like another father to Mommy, and Uncle Paul actually lived with him and his wife while in college and law school so Mattie meant a lot to him too. 

Words from Mommy {to be shared later}

Words from Daddy {to be shared later}

A special slideshow Mommy prepared

{Video contained background music, but YouTube wouldn't allow it to be used.  Songs were Steven Curtis Chapman's "I Will Be Here" and Joe Cocker's "You Are So Beautiful"}

Mommy's friend April sang Celine Dion's "A Mother's Prayer"

Closing Prayer

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One last look at her sweet little face.  

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One last time to hold her hand. 

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One last earthly kiss from her daddy.  She is daddy's little princess. 

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Surrounded by pink roses from Mommy, Daddy, and big brothers. 
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Flowers for our daughter

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Two of Mattie's handsome men. 

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Mattie's family

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Big brother Evan with his flowers for Mattie

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Handsome big brothers with flowers for little sister

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A beautiful arrangement from Uncle Paul and Aunt Jessica and her cousins.

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Flowers from Mommy's law school friends

Graveside Service

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The little white church where Mattie's grandpa's ancestors gave the land for the church to be built.  

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A sweet little country church. 

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The cemetery is very very old with some graves dating back to the early 1800's and some may be even older but many headstones have been lost. 

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Mattie's view of the back of the church. 

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Her sweet little bed. 

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Flowers from Mommy, Daddy, Evan, and Brody

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Pink roses for our sweet little girl. 

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Our Daughter

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Evan's and Brody's Sister

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More flowers for sweet Mattie

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Saying goodbye. 
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Her resting place.  She will soon have a beautiful stone to mark her place. 
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  1. Sherry- It all looks so pretty. A beautiful memorial to your sweet girl. I'm still praying for you and your family! You are never far from my thoughts!

  2. What a beautiful memorial! You did such a beautiful job at honoring your sweet baby girl! You are so brave, Sherry. Thank you for sharing your heart to openly, you are honoring not only your daughter, but our Father in heaven. Praying for you!

  3. What a beautiful service for such a precious angel! It honored Mattie so well. The strength you have through your faith just amazes me.

    I want you to know that I'm praying for you and your family. I think of you all often.

  4. Sherry, she was beautiful and I'm in tears. I'm so sorry. I love the slide show and there are some great photos that you'll have to remember her by. I'm so sorry!

  5. I cannot even begin to imagine the amount of strength you had to gather in order to write this post. The post itself and also the memorial service are beautiful testaments to your love for your daughter. I wish you never had to write it, but the poem is lovely, as is the slide show.

  6. Sherry, what a beautiful poem, slideshow and memorial honouring your sweet Mattie. Your family is still on my heart every day and I pray that you feel God's arms holding you as you walk this sad and unfair journey of loss.

  7. Sherry, I don't know you but earlier this afternoon I saw your comment on Matt Walsh's blog about infanticide. My hair stood on end. One month ago today, at 41 weeks, we got the confirmation that our daughter had died in my womb. Cara was delivered the next day, and they found that a knot in her umbilical cord had tightened during the start of labour. I hope you don't mind, but I've been looking around on your blog and would like to look more, but I need to 'pace''s all quite emotional and so much of your content hits so close to home. It's so wonderful to see how you celebrate Mattie for the precious life she had. I am sure she brings so much delight to God. We are Christians too, and I know I will take some strength from your blog (going to subscribe...hope that is okay)! To honour Cara's meaningful life, and to show how faithful God has been to us already since she died, we decided to share her eulogy publicly. If you or anyone else would like to hear, you can find it on YouTube, called 'Cara's Eulogy'. Be blessed!

    1. Thank you so much for checking out our story! I am glad it could touch you at this difficult time in your life. Yes, the pain is still raw, but for me, writing about her and remembering her are part of my healing process. She was and will always be our daughter, and yes, she lives today in heaven. I am so sorry about your sweet Cara and will definitely try to find her video. If there is anyway I can reach out to you, please let me know. You can e-mail me, message me on facebook, or whatever is easiest and most comfortable to you. Blessings to you!


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