On January 3, 2016, we had the private viewing of our son at the funeral home.
It was just my husband and I. I wouldn’t have been able to handle seeing my friends and family and dealing with them. We were in a small room, with a couple of small couches and chairs along the wall. The trash can was on the complete opposite side of the room from the casket, and I moved it closer to the casket. I remember thinking how stupid that was of them–the trash can needed to be where everyone would need it most.
His casket was so small. When we were making the arrangements, the funeral director asked us how long our son was. We didn’t know, we never got that measurement. She said she would order the 2.5 ft casket. And it was so much smaller than any casket should ever be. It was white on the inside, and covered in blue flower roses on the outside. It wasn’t the bed we were expecting to lay him in, but it was the best we could do for him.
We had decided not to embalm our son, and the funeral home did a good job of letting us know there was a deadline if we wanted to see our son, but not pressuring us.
We spent about 25 minutes with him. He was so beautiful and he looked so peaceful. His tongue was slightly sticking out, and I just couldn’t help but think how adorable he looked. I went in thinking I would want to pick him up and hold him. But I couldn’t. He looked so peaceful where he was, and truthfully, I was a little scared to pick him up. I did touch him, and he felt cold But his skin didn’t feel too different.
I mostly cried and told him how much I love him. We described his nursery, and told him how much we missed him. But mostly we repeated over and over again how much we wanted him here with us. I left one of the few pictures we have of the three of us in his casket for him to be buried with. It’s a picture of him in our laps in the hospital in San Francisco. We took a couple of pictures of him in the casket. It may be morbid to some, but we loved how he looked and wanted to remember him that way. In SF, he looked swollen and different than he did when he was first born. At the viewing he looked more like he did when he was born.
The SF hospital gave me a “remembrance heart”. It is a larger outer heart with a smaller heart that is nested inside. The smaller heart I tied around his wrist when we said goodbye at the hospital, and he was supposed to be buried with it. The larger heart I put on a chain and wear as a necklace. I never confirmed with them if he was buried with it, and I like it that way. Because I would be devastated if it was lost, or thrown away. I like to think he is buried it with it.
I am grateful for the viewing. I only have good memories of it now, 2.5 months later.