It has been a hard yet beautiful weekend. Many people took their time to come and support us and celebrate Gideon's life. So many emotions and so much to be thankful for. The Spirit was strong and the presence of many angels were felt. Gideon was near and gave me great strength to make it through the rough patches.
I woke up Friday dreading the next two days. I didn't want to go through it nor face the inevitable. I finally pulled myself out of bed while my sister took care of my kids and cleaned my WHOLE house. Doreen, my sister, was here for a week and took care of our every need. Needless to say, I was very anxious about all my family leaving. We are now alone and it's scary. No more cousins to distract the kids. Everyone needs to get on with life, including us. (Sorry about the side track.) Friday was the day to dress Gideon. I was so afraid to do it. Dave, my brother-in-law who has a funeral home in Washington, talked me through it a bit and reminded me that Mary washed and dressed the Savior. I felt a peace knowing that it was my obligation to my son and honor to care for his last physical need.
We went to the funeral home and we were led to Gideon. Before I realized it I was in the same room as Gideon's body. I stood and looked at him and felt surprise. I felt good! No trauma, no fear. Only love and peace. Several times through the dressing process I said out loud "My Heavenly Father loves me." I knew it was because of him that I had the strength to go through with this last act of service for Gideon. I was left alone for a time because Doug had something else to attend to. As I stroked Gideon's hair and put on his pants I talked to him. I knew he was there and understood all that I thought and felt. I don't remember what I said other than I love you. I was struck by how good he looked! He was dressed in white, including a little white tie and resembled a Prince. I could just see him on display in a museum as a Prince to a great nation. He was royalty and IS royalty. Over the next two days I could not shake that feeling. My son is a Prince.
Saturday came all too soon for me. It is so hard to say the last goodbye and I knew that would be the hardest thing on the kids. The viewing and funeral made it final. Things went well and so many people came to support us. We had the two most important people to me from the hospital show up. The Child Life Specialist summed up what we heard from numerous people. She said "I see many children every day. Few of them touch me like this. Gideon changed me." The most difficult thing was tucking little Gideon in with his blanket before we closed the casket. Doug had his arm around me as I pulled the blanket up. The sadness almost overcame me but Gideon's strength and the blessing of our Father was on me.
When we first thought about the funeral both Doug and I wanted to speak. I know that's unusual but we both had things we wanted to say. Things that no one else could know. I told an abbreviated story of our journey to Gideon and Doug touched on several things regarding Gideon. Our family sang the song "I Love To See The Temple" with a third verse added. A good friend of ours wrote a song for Gideon and she and her daughter sang it. There was a peace and anchoring about the whole funeral.
The family and some friends went to the grave site to dedicate the grave. We took some pictures and said our goodbyes. We are blessed to have the services recorded and will be getting copies soon.
Over and over this past week I have said "I can do hard things". Yes, I can and I have already. This is going to be a difficult road but we will make it. A new friend helped me solidify my desire to make this challenge a refining process. To allow my pain to bring me closer to Christ. I desire to be completely aligned with His thoughts and actions. To be filled with that pure love of Christ for all that I come in contact with. I want others to know that their Savior loves them with all his heart and be left a better person when I touch their lives. I want to be a force for healing not hurt. I have a long way to go but I am on the road.
Just one more thing. One of my bigger fears has been how can I help all the children mourn and come out the other end with stronger family bonds and greater testimonies of Christ? I know I don't have all it takes to do this. I am just learning myself how to navigate this grief. At church yesterday a scripture in Isaiah was read that spoke clearly to me.
"And all thy children shall be taught of the LORD; and great shall be the peace of thy children." Isaiah 54:13
I'm not doing this alone so I can succeed. They are Heavenly Father's children first and mine second.
We have pictures but I haven't gone through them yet. I will post some in the next couple of days.