Lucy’s Memorial

The day of my daughter’s funeral started so normally. It was a lovely, sunny day. I wore a new outfit. I was pleased with what I had planned. But instead of the excitement I usually feel before an event I have planned, I felt a dull dread.

We drove to the funeral home. All of a sudden, I was very anxious to get inside and be with Lucy. I was afraid the funeral home would mistakenly let people in before us and we wouldn’t get our alone time with her. I snapped at my husband for running back to the car for something.

Chris, Max, and I made our way inside and there was the little, red casket we chose for her. I could see the ladybug panel we had chosen. It was perfect.

She looked beautiful. I’m so glad we chose not to embalm or cremate. She looked as much like herself as was possible.

She wore the beautiful Janie and Jack outfit from the bluebonnet pictures. Moonie, her nightlight and one of her favorite toys, was at the bottom of the casket. I moved him up and placed him in her hand, turning him on. I wonder how long he kept glowing.

She clutched mismatched socks in the other hand, one yellow, one purple. She always pulled her socks off and we didn’t want to cover her precious feet. Plus, no one in our family ever has matching socks.

There was a family photo from our Christmas session and a carefully hidden piece of train track. We knew Max wouldn’t miss it and thought he might like to know it was with her one day. There was actually a funny moment when we were trying to find out if the track was indeed in there without letting on to Max that we had taken it. I kept spelling “track” to Rebecca, the woman we worked with at the funeral home. She had no clue what I was talking about, because she thought it was a puzzle piece. I kept spelling “track” while she looked at me confusedly until Chris finally said “train” and it clicked. It was just so absurd standing next to my daughter’s casket spelling the word “track” over and over again.

 We had told Max he could pick something to send with Lucy, but several days went by without him choosing anything. Then, the morning of the service, he spotted Lucy’s heart-shaped sunglasses when I was standing at the foyer table doing my makeup. He said Lucy should have them. So, he placed them in the casket after we got there.

There was also a stone that said “Love” that I gave to Chris for his birthday right after we became a couple, as well as a seashell that said, “Believe in Miracles.” My friend Jill gave that to me during Lucy’s last hospitalization and I carried it in my pocket every day. It sustained me through some very hard times. It seemed fitting to send it with Lucy. I’m not sure why.

Max kept asking why he couldn’t play with her. He was fascinated with the Kleenex boxes attached to the back of the pews. He had a clicking tongue conversation with his little cousin Leighton.

I asked for a moment alone before they closed the casket. That was easier said than done, since Max was sticking to us like glue. There was too much to say and feel in that moment anyway, especially with a three-year-old howling in the background. I was glad I had held her and talked to her so long a few days before. I backed away and watched them close the casket.

It moved me more than I expected to see my stepdad, father-in-law, and brothers carrying Lucy’s casket. It meant so much to me that she was in their hands. I can’t believe we weren’t even going to choose pallbearers originally.

The service was everything I hoped it would be. Many friends and family came. Some wore black, some wore colors. The weather was beautiful. Chris and I managed to make it through our reading of “Little Owl’s Night” and Max unexpectedly chimed in on the last line, “He was fast asleep.” It was the perfect ending. We couldn’t have rehearsed it any better.

The celebrant read a poem shared by my niece Madi “Do Not Stand At My Grave and Weep” as well as a prayer shared by my friend Jill.

Some of my new friends from the SoCo Women’s Chorus, a choir I just joined, sang Lucy’s favorite song “Let Me Call You Sweetheart”. Then, my dear friend Mary sang “Long Time Sun” through once, so the rest of us could join in on the second round. That song is very special to me. I sang it to both of my kids when they were born and I wanted it to send Lucy on the next phase of her journey.

After the service was concluded, red heart-shaped balloons were distributed. Lucy was born three days before Valentine’s Day and her first birthday party was Valentine-themed. Also, my mother-in-law’s mother’s maiden name was Valentine. Chris and I had our first date on Valentine’s Day 2006 and were married two years and two days later. Our wedding was a bit Valentine-themed, too. The red heart, along with the ladybug, is Lucy’s symbol. I hope that those hearts will also come to symbolize other children with the same heart condition, who will have better options and better quality of life thanks to the donations made in Lucy’s memory. Thank you so much to everyone who has donated so far.

It was quite windy, perfect for a balloon release. I had to work to hold on to mine. It seemed like Lucy was tugging on it saying, “Gimme, gimme!”

 I said, “Ok, everyone, let’s send our love to Lucy.”

The balloons sailed into the sky. It was even more beautiful than I imagined.

Max started to melt down as we were trying to hug and thank people after the service. I noticed that the choir members were all wearing tiny ladybug pins and that my friends were wearing ladybug ribbons. I was so touched to see that.

I was so relieved that it went well and it was done. I am proud I managed to plan a fitting service and write the eulogy (with a little help from Chris). I am so grateful to everyone who helped.

That is how I said good-bye to my daughter.



  1. Amanda Himes said,

    May 28, 2013 at 9:48 pm

    I’m so glad Max chose Lucy’s heart-shaped sunglasses. Somehow I kept picturing those with her, I don’t know why. The entire service sounded so beautiful and perfect for your little girl. I prayed so much for you that day. We were in the car, driving back from Joplin, and I wanted to help you through that hard day so much, but all I could do was ask God to give you comfort as you said goodbye to Lucy.

  2. Laura Smith said,

    May 28, 2013 at 9:53 pm

    Thank you again for sharing. In every post, I feel like I am learning more and more about your precious Lucy. I want you to know that she will never, ever be forgotten. I think you and Chris, and all of your family should be very proud of yourselves for arranging a beautiful service for your daughter. It gave others an opportunity to say goodbye and even though it must have been so painful, it is a gift to have that. Her life here on earth mattered…and it matters still. She is a precious gift from God and it is the right thing to do to acknowledge that. I am sure it still feels surreal that you got through each and every moment, but you did and that is really something. I absolutely love the heart shaped balloons. Thanks again for sharing your heart with us readers. ❤ Continued love and prayers.

  3. May 29, 2013 at 12:25 am

    I haven’t met you yet, but it was an honor to sing at Lucy’s service. It was beautiful and sweet just like your precious girl. Much live to you.

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