5 years ago today, more than 3 weeks before she was even due to be born, we said our final goodbye to our beautiful baby and used her funeral to celebrate her short life.
We were lucky enough to have been able to have an open casket (she wasn't embalmed) until just before we left for the church. People had left notes and small gifts for Lily and when we closed the lid on her casket, you should have seen how much love was physically surrounding her! She was dressed in a beautiful hand knitted cardi and booties, wrapped in an amazingly beautiful crochet, mohair blanket, there was a book written and illustrated for her (and us) in there, a special rosary, letters, my first attempts at knitting hats (not on her head though because her hair was so beautiful I didn't want to cover it!), small soft toys, and jewellery.
Lily travelled in our car, her Grannies had lovingly decorated the back of our station wagon so she had a special spot. I don’t really remember much of the service in detail, I remember Luke and I carrying Lily in to the Bruno Mars song “Just the way you are”, a song I will never hear without thinking of our Lily. I remember being amazed at how many people came, and we had my brother and sister in law who were in Scotland attending via Skype!
We were, and still are, lucky to be surrounded by some pretty amazing people and we received a lot of love and support. Lily was carried out of the church by her grandparents, as people walked out they were given a helium balloon and once we were all outside these were released, there were more than 160 colourful balloons released at the church and it was beautiful to watch! They even formed a heart shape as they flew away.
Then we took her to the cemetery where she was lowered onto a bed of flowers and petals before releasing another 30 odd balloons. All flew away except a small pink one which stayed behind, it hung around for awhile, then with some encouragement it flew away in a completely different direction to the others and even the clouds formed a heart for it to fly through.
And while that was one of the hardest days of my life, it was a beautiful send off and a very special time.