As we shared with you all previously, Lenah passed into glory this morning. It may seem very sudden, but she was interred into our newly created family cemetery this evening at sunset. James and I, our older children, my parents, and our friends, the House family were present at her burial.
Any of you that know us in real life know that we do many things differently than is considered normal or customary. We researched even before Lenah's birth the laws concerning burial in the state of Texas. We learned that we could create our own family cemetery on my parents farmland. We also learned that we could transport and bury her ourselves but that it would have to be done within 24 hours of death or she would have to be refrigerated or embalmed if we desired to delay burial. It seemed that the most difficult obstacle would have been if she had died at the hospital and would have had to be transported postmortem. Thankfully, that was avoided. Today was both awful and wonderful. It was such a blessing to have a funeral without all of the customary requirements. We just spent the day preparing her gravesite and getting ready as a family for her funeral. James hand dug the grave. It was a labor of love. Robin (our hospice nurse) and I removed her picc line. She was finally free and untethered. For the first time, I was able to look at her head to toe. She had no birthmarks or storkbites. I had never really ever been able to look her over thoroughly as she could not comfortably be turned on her tummy while living because her abdomen was swollen and it made it difficult for her to breathe. I redressed her and gave all the children a final chance to hold her.
I'd like to publicly thank our kind and caring neighbors Mr. Jimmy Decker and Mr. Charlie Janner for building her lovely casket. It was beautiful.
The Child Life specialists at Texas Children's Hospital gave us these lovely two-piece keepsake necklaces for the children. They put the small heart in the casket with Lenah and kept the outside heart for themselves.
They also went out to Nana's antique rose bush and picked roses to place in her casket with her. I placed a blanket that had been mine when I was a baby to line the bottom and a cuddly neck pillow (given by my dear friend Allison for me to use when I spent nights at the hospital) as a cushion for her. We also placed some of the stuffed animals given to her during her hospital stay.
Please scroll on by if you prefer to not see her postmortem, but I think she is too beautiful to not share.
I hated closing that casket. For me, I think this was the hardest moment of the day.
Sofia found these roses on Nana's rosebush. One cluster has five roses in full bloom representing Edward, Sofia, James, Joseph, and Sarah. The other cluster has two in full bloom and one tiny bud representing James, me, and Lenah. We also planted two rose cuttings next to the temporary marker my father made for Lenah
We had no idea that the surveyor who surveyed the land to be dedicated as a family cemetery is actually a nearby neighbor. He happened by today as the grave was being opened. He stopped and visited with James and Papa. He generously offered to come back to do the measuring to plot the gravesite for our records. What a blessing.
After the funeral, we all went to town for dinner. After dinner, we stopped at the store to get some artificial flowers to decorate the grave tomorrow. When I was standing at the checkout, I thought I recognized one of the men behind me in line. I did. It was a dear brother in Christ that we had not seen in years. Talk about a divine appointment. I have no idea what the coming days hold for us, but I am amazed at all of the "strange" occurrences we have experienced over the last year. I just hope I can remember them all long enough to share them here. We have most assuredly known the leading and the comfort of the Lord throughout this last year. It has been a long, hard year. In many ways, I am glad for it to be over. I am most certainly not glad to have lost Lenah. I had really hoped that she could be made well - by either earthly or Divine means- but it was not to be. I am most certain that she is not lost to us forever. We will see her again. We will see her as she truly is- not veiled by the brokenness of this world. I look forward to that day.
I also sense a "change in the winds" for our lives. I am expectantly looking forward to the coming days.
Once again- and I mean it ever so sincerely- thank you for praying for us. The prayers of the saints have been perceptible to us throughout this journey. Thank you and we love you.