Saturday, September 19, 2009
Thursday September 17th was Cali's Life Celebration. It was beautiful. The sisters from our church along with family set up the building in the morning which allowed Thomas and I some time to spend with Cali alone before the viewing began. This time with her was quite special. I had written a letter to my sweet girl the night before, so this time allowed me to read that to her. I held her close and Thomas held my letter for me to read. It was quite difficult to get through as it consisted of my deepest emotions. But I am so happy that I had the chance to do that. When I was finished we put her in her tiny little casket, fixed her dress, her little hairband and welcomed friends, family, and visitors. We had many guests. It was so great to have so many people come to support us! Thomas and I both said afterwards that we had expected some downtime between guests, well there wasn't ever any downtime, in fact there was a line out the door the whole time. Thank you to those who were able to make it! And I do know there are many who were with us in spirit and I thank you too. Once everyone had a chance to see Cali we closed the door, had a family prayer and I kissed my Cali girl's little forehead for the last time. I love my little girl so much. I can hardly believe that I won't see her little body again in my lifetime. I miss you little girl.
The service was perfect. Thomas began the service with Cali's life sketch. He worked so hard on this, wanting to give his little girl all that she deserved. He was worried about being able to tell her whole story so others would know Cali. But many commented after that they felt like they were there through her 7 days of life. He did a great job.
My dad and Thomas' dad followed as well as 2 musical numbers. Jillian played what we now affectionately call "Cali's song" it's "A River Flows in You" by Yiruma, one of my favorite artists. Then my cousin Kristen sang "I am a Child of God" with some modified words. It was beautiful. We couldn't have asked for more from the service.
Then once it ended Thomas carried little Cali out to the limo and we drove up to East Lawn Memorial Hills where Cali was to be buried. When Thomas and I were trying to decide where to put Cali I struggled. I hated the idea of having to leave her somewhere when we don't know where we'll end up. I wanted to be able to take her with us. But, then an option opened up that comforted my heart. Cali could be buried with her great-grandpa. That is where she is now. She is buried above Thomas' grandpa at East Lawn Memorial Hills. It is so beautiful up there, with little bunnies and deer, a view of the whole valley and lots of trees and flowers. The perfect place for our little girl.
Well,the graveside service was also perfect. My Uncle Ed said the dedicatory prayer and our little sisters blew bubbles over Cali. Thomas and I had nicknamed Cali "bubble queen" because she loved blowing spit bubbles, so we tied this into her memorial. After the bubbles Thomas and I released 7 butterflies, one for each day that Cali lived. It was beautiful! The butterflies were so colorful and most of them fluttered around us for a little while before flying away. It was perfect. Everything I wanted for my little girl.
To top it all off when we left the church building after dinner there was a PERFECT, COMPLETE rainbow right in front of our eyes. It was perfect. The forecast had called for a day without rain, and until that time there were blue skies. This was a miracle just for me, just for Thomas from our little girl. I know that she talked to Heavenly Father. She told Him that she knew our hearts would be broken, that we missed her so much and that we needed a little something from her, to know that she was still with us. And I know that a loving, kind, merciful God gave that to us. I know it because inside me I felt more love in that one moment than any other specific moment of my life. I had my husband by my side. My love, my strength. I had my God above. And I had my daughter in my heart. At that moment I felt whole. I had my family with me. And though I don't feel whole right now, I hold on to that moment and know that I will have that feeling when we meet again.
I love my Cali girl. I miss her so much. My empty arms ache to hold her. To rock her. To cradle her. To love her. My human mind is trying desperately to keep every detail of her physical body in my memory, and yet already it's hard to recall clearly. Every moment is a challenge, every thought, every action. I don't know how long it will be this way, my heart says it needs to be this way forever as I don't want to let her go, but I know that slowly life will begin to be lived again. I don't like that, I feel like the whole world should stop, but I know that is the natural course, the course that Cali wouldn't want me to fight. So I put one foot in front of the other with my trust in God that He will lead my steps. I will never be the same because for 1 week I got to hold an angel. And for eternity I'll get to love her.
The pictures from the video (and the video itself) were taken by Jen, a volunteer photographer from Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep. She has done a fantastic job. More pictures to come!