On Saturday 19 March, more than 3 weeks before she was even due to arrive, we celebrated Lily's life and said goodbye to our beautiful baby girl.
We were lucky enough to have been able to have an open casket the day before her farewell and we closed it quietly at home just before leaving home for the church. Lily travelled in our car with us, her mum and dad. Her Granny Sue and Granny Jen had cleaned and then decorated the back of the car so it was a special place just for Lily (thanks Mum and Jen!)
The service itself is pretty much a blur to me. Luke and I carried Lily in on our shoulders to the song "Just the way you are" by Bruno Mars. I remember looking around and being amazed at how many people had come, over 150 I have been told! So much love filled that church! Even my brother and sister in law were able to attend from Scotland via Skype!
Our Pastor led the service, Luke and I got up and delivered the eulogy which we had written the night before, our parents (Lily's grandparents) each got up to speak (she has 6 grandparents! Lucky little girl!), then other people got up to pay tribute too... I won't mention them all by name as I am bound to miss someone accidentally, but just know that we really appreciated the amount of support and love that was shown to us that day, and the days leading up to it, make that the weeks, the months, and even now... we have been blessed by being surrounded by incredibly amazing people, thank you, each and every one, whether you spoke at the funeral or not, thank you for your love and support!
When the service was finished (an hour long instead of the 20 mins we were told it normally took! Ops! Too much love?) Lily was carried out of the church by her grandparents and placed again in her special spot in our car, as people walked out they were given a helium balloon and once we were all outside the balloons were released... there were about 160 balloons released at the church! And boy did they make for a beautiful sight as we watched them make a heart shape and fly away...
Then we took Lily to the cemetery for a private burial. With the help of two great friends, Luke and I lowered her down onto a bed of flowers and petals, then everyone got the chance to place more flowers in her grave as we laid her body to rest.
Then we let off even more helium balloons... this time there was about 30 I think. When they were released, one little pink balloon stayed behind... with some encouragement we watched this little balloon float away all by itself in a whole different direction to the others. It was visible for a LONG time after the others had gone, and as it went up into the clouds, the clouds created a heart formation for it to fly through... an awesome gift to us, these hearts that appeared that day as Lily had been diagnosed with Hypoplastic Left Heart (she only had half a heart)... so now her heart is whole and there is no pain for her.