Baby's memorial

Quinn’s memorial was from our hearts.  We didn’t know what to do or how to do it, so we just did what seemed right for us.  I knew I had to have a service for her.  She was my baby – 40 weeks old and left before I could meet her while living.  We sought out the Unitarian minister who married us; only to find out he retired and moved to Maine.  He directed us to the minister who was his replacement.  We met with her several times and attended church services.  We immediately felt welcomed and embraced by her and the community.  Below is a journal of Quinn’s memorial.

We had a theme of purple throughout as the violet is February’s birth flower and Amethyst is the February birthstone.

Our service:

The memorial began with Josh walking Quinn down the aisle, as he wouldn’t be able to on her wedding day.  He placed her ashes in a beautiful bed of flowers.  Next, the minister lit the chalice from which we lit Quinn’s candle.  We used the same candle that I light for her at home each night, filled with seashells. 

Josh’s close family friend and mentor spoke, and read the prayer that the hospital chaplain blessed Quinn with before they took her away.  Next, I spoke and read a letter I wrote to Quinn as my eulogy

We played my soul song – “Make you feel my love” by Adele – which moves me every time.  

Next, we had our sister’s speak.  Josh and I are both close with our sisters and we wanted them to share Quinn with us.  Their presence was also symbolic of the sisterhood between Riley and Quinn.

Then, Josh gave a clever, humorous, and touching talk celebrating my pregnancy and pronouncing his forever love for his daughters.  He told Quinn to drink some rainbow juice, fly a race with hummingbirds, and pirouette on mushroom stems.  It was moving to see him so freely express his love for his daughter.

We played the first two verses of “Lullaby” by the Dixie Chicks, which spoke to me.  “…How long do you want to be loved?  Is forever enough, is forever enough?”

I really wanted everyone to sing a lullaby to Quinn, Brahms Lullaby, so she could be embraced by her community and sleep peacefully in her eternal rest.  It was my final send-off for her.  I find myself humming the song every day. 

The minister gave a beautiful and hopeful closing, and a bagpiper - pursuant with the firefighter tradition (Josh's profession) - ended the service playing Amazing Grace.  Then, we returned down the aisle and cried with and hugged every single person who attended.  It was touching and moving to see who attended.  We were shocked and honored to see so many people.  I was fully prepared for and expecting a small gathering.  I was humbled beyond belief.  It was also immensely touching to see how Quinn moved people.  People who I did not know wept in my arms.  They sobbed and gasped.  The whole day was truly an out of body experience. 

Baby's memorial guest bookWe had two display areas: in the lobby of the church entry and inside the sanctuary.  In the lobby, we had a beautiful guestbook that I’m so grateful for.  We can look back and see who we shared Quinn with on her memorial.  Some people even left a little message for Quinn that makes me smile.  
Baby's memorial posterI had a large collage poster of my pregnancy and a table with photos of Quinn, gifts that were for her, and a basket of forget-me-not seed packets.  The idea that people would go home and grow flowers for Quinn warmed my heart.  We also had tissues and bottled water.  

Baby's prayer card
Upon entry to the sanctuary, everyone was handed a program and prayer card.  We made the prayer cards as business cards, so people could put them in their wallet.  I ordered 500, so I could always share Quinn with whoever I meet from this day on.  I was comforted by the idea of her being with people, even strangers.

Baby's memorial
In the sanctuary, we had a display table next to her ashes which included her memory box given to us at the hospital; her clay footprints; her ink hand and footprints; her hospital outfit, blanket, and tape she was measured with; a special poem in Josh’s late mom’s writing; the bundle of cards we received; a display of what she was wearing and holding when cremated; a picture from Riley to Quinn; and the Certificate of Blessing. 

After the ceremony, my sister planned a beautiful reception for family and close friends.  It took place at the fire hall down the street.  She ordered spring flower bulbs that people could take home to plant “Quinn gardens.”  That fills my soul – to know other people have a little bit of Quinn at their homes.  The food was wonderful.  I asked everyone to light a candle and say the Hopi Prayer together (on the back of the prayer card).  We gave people an opportunity to speak, since our service was structured.  I also collected letters from everyone.  I asked them (emailed them in advance) to write a letter, note, message, prayer, poem, etc., for Quinn that we would read at a later date – perhaps on her first birthday.  I needed to walk away with something tangible from the people that I knew loved Quinn the most. 

The day was beautiful, touching, moving, and as perfect as it could have been without her here.  Every day I am humbled by how Quinn has touched so many lives and I am so honored to be her mom.

Baby's memorial

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