We buried her in the North Woods of Central Park, near our home. We named her Anastasia Frey: Anastasia for “resurrection” and Frey for the Norse god of fertility.
She was buried in the box which held our wedding bands–glossy brown and topped with a bow–which looks like an expensive box of chocolates. She was wrapped in an embroidered linen napkin. Also in the box was white, heart-shaped piece of coral from the shore of Oahu (where her father is from) and a smooth round piece of black basalt from the shore of Arch Cape, Oregon–picked up this summer when she was conceived.
I wrote this quote on the inside:
“The seed of God is in us. A pear seed will grow into a pear tree, a hazel seed will grow into a hazel tree, and a God-seed will grow into God.”
My husband wrote: “love, your father”
We buried her under a tree. I placed a white, round stone from the coast of Rhode Island on her little grave, marked with her initials and a heart.
Then we sang the Easter resurrection song, “Christ is risen from the dead, trampling down death by death, and upon those in the tombs bestowing life.”
A cemetery for children at St. Nicholas Orthodox Church in Portland, Oregon.
“For Steve and me as a couple the most important thing was to allow each other to grieve in our own way and just try to be good to each other. Another key for us was to know that although there was nothing we could do to take away the sadness and pain – we would have to live through it, we could try to focus on adding new joy to our life and honoring Andrew’s memory. I think this helped us to see that the intensity of our grief would soften in time. It’s an evolving process…there will always be a hole left by Andrew’s death that nothing can fill. Still – amazingly – your heart can grow bigger and stronger and life can be good and meaningful again.”
Here is Andrew, shown with Emma, whose life was saved by his liver.
Emma has given something very special to us. She’s keeping part of Andrew alive. She’s allowing us to know that there’s a part of him—an actual living, physical part of him—that lives on and will grow inside of your little girl. Even though we know that Andrew’s spirit will always live and be with us, we feel like Emma is also carrying some of Andrew’s spirit and that makes us happy.
Four years later, Elena still remembers the funny things Simon did and talks about him almost every day. When she and her mom pass a child on the street with curly hair, she’ll say, “I think Simon would have looked like him.”
“About holding Sam, I’m thankful that i wasn’t deprived of those moments. His sweet baby body, it makes his life more real to me. Loving touch confirms the sacredness of life, but it was painful and hard to hold him, waiting for life to end. Hearing the labor of his breathing, knowing it could – and would – stop at any moment. i could see why you would want to protect someone from that–it was hard to hold him. It was nothing like the pure bliss of holding Natalia. Nothing like to look on the suffering of your sweet innocent baby… to know that he was hurting, to know he could barely take the next breath. Who wants to see that? And yet to miss that would have been to deprive myself, not of some great memory, but of the ability to do the one small thing I could do for my son in this life.”
-Tawnya Provenzano, mother of Samuel
Maddux Achilles Haggard
February 4th-10th 2005
That next day, we sat with you, held you, sang to you and rocked you. I was even able to change your diapers. You still didn’t move. You couldn’t grip our fingers, and you never opened your eyes. But that was ok. Even though you couldn’t hold onto us, we were holding onto you. Mommy and Daddy told you over and over how much we loved you. We stroked your head, kissed your tiny fingers and toes. We whispered in your ears. We cried. We prayed. You are just beautiful.
–From a letter Cheryl wrote to Maddux
Stephanos and his son Harry visit Philip’s grave.
The Empty Place
Since you’ve been gone
there is a place
inside of us
that is shaped like you
so empty now
that place which is filled
with so much love