Thursday 12th April 2012 I had to make a decision, a decision I had no idea whether I would regret or not. What was right, or wrong?
A painful decision either way to make.
We walked over to the chapel of rest our hands held tight, my husband had already made his choice and was set.
Yet to me, it felt impossible. But in truth it shouldn’t have been difficult; I should have known instantly, whether or not I would see my baby one last time.
Our names were called, and in that moment my decision had been made, I had changed a million times. We rose to our feet I took my husband’s hand; we kept close together and slowly followed the smartly dressed man…
The room was small, softly lit with candles to add to the effect.
A small table in the centre of the room, it was painfully obvious what was stood in front of us. It looked no bigger than a memory box, but definitely bigger than a shoe box.
The next question “Are you ready?” I know took us by surprise. I had almost forgotten that there was another person in the room.
Were we ever ready?
But this was not something we could put off, because we knew that the next day would be too late.
We nodded, holding each other tight, tighter than we felt strong enough for.
Terrified we had made a wrong choice.
The crochet blanket was gently pulled back, the smartly dressed man left.
“Have as long as you need”
But we needed forever, he couldn’t give us that.
We stepped forward slowly, peeking in not knowing what to expect.
A warning, a guide but nobody is ever the same.
There she lay peaceful, make up made her look perfect.
Almost like there was no reason for her to be there, if only.
Surgical tape had slightly embedded into her baby face, and the stillness that was blindingly obvious, no breath sounds no delicate baby snore, just the deafening silence.
We exchanged glances, and questioned
“How was this fair?”
“Why the hell us?”
“What had we done?”
“Was this all my fault?”
We didn’t know if we were allowed to touch her or get too close.
I wanted to cuddle her, but was afraid I would hurt her, although I knew that was now impossible.
We placed our photos and drawings the children had asked us to take, I stroked her face, suddenly remembering that her warmth had long gone, it had been replaced with an icy cold glow. It caught me off guard.
We still hoped that somehow she would open her eyes.
We were willing her to breathe. I held my breath in case I missed her chest rise and fall, in case she was moving. But that rise and fall didn’t appear, stillness replaced that wish.
Talking to her, telling her how much we loved her, how much we missed her already, wanting everything to be just an awful nightmare.
We felt lost, we held on to each other’s gaze, it was then we knew the time had come to tuck her in to her blanket for the final time, to kiss her good night for the final time.
Knowing we would need to remember how she smelt, how she felt, all in one movement.
It was our one chance.
It was our one final chance.
I can’t remember whether her coffin had a plaque, and if it did I don’t know what it said.
We lifted the blanket a corner in each hand, tears rolling down our faces we covered her, tucking her in replacing the blanket with each other’s hands walking back wards giving her a lasting Good Bye.
For the next day it would be the last……