Happy two month old birthday. I thought I would share the story of how your dad and I chose your burial site. Maybe one day my words will help another grieving family.
After you died and we had to leave the hospital without you, your dad and I were devastated and so confused. We understood that you were gone but couldn’t grasp the idea of burying you. We had never discussed burial plans for our children; you were supposed to outlive us.
Driving home, I think we both knew that we wanted to bury you. Cremation seemed so cruel. Which is funny because we both wanted to be cremated. Go figure.
On 4/13, two days after you passed, your dad and I decided to go to a cemetery and find out what the funeral process was and begin planning. We were staring up from the bottom of a huge mountain, so to speak. We had no idea how to plan your funeral and we didn’t know if we had the strength to do it.
We came to La Vista cemetery in national city where several of your relatives on the Riggs side of the family are buried. It is also the cemetery where your dad began to teach Alyssa what death was. It felt like a comfortable place to start.
We went to the office and met with this man named Ed. He was so helpful, considerate, and friendly. We discussed all of our options, including cremation. We decided on a burial. We had the choice of having you buried with us or burying you in the Garden of Angels with all the other babies. We ended up burning you in the Garden of Angels and purchasing a spot for us nearby. That felt more comforting than moving your body each time one of us passed away. I wanted to lay you in your final resting place, not keep you waiting around for us.
When Ed took us to see the spots that were available, we hadn’t yet decided which choice we wanted for you. At the Garden of Angels, I was overwhelmed by this comforting feeling. The garden faces south, towards our home and it looks onto the big white cross that we can see from the freeway. For the first time since you died, I felt like I could someday heal from this deep wound. It was so amazing to be filled with a glimpse of hope during my darkest hours. And there was a spot available for your dad and I immediately next to the garden. It felt so good.
Then, we went to check out the other garden where we had the option to be buried with you. Your dad immediately said he loved it, but I felt sad. It was facing west, you couldn’t see the cross, and I just felt like you’d be lost in his sea of adults who had fulfilled their lives. Your life was so brief and I was afraid that you would be forgotten.
After a short deliberation, we decided to go with option 1 and bury you in the garden and buy our plot near yours. At this time, I was living by the wise words of Dr Mary Neal. She said that if you feel like you’re swimming upstream and things are difficult, then you probably aren’t doing gods will. If things seem to come together and feel good then you probably are doing gods will. Since the garden felt right, we went with that. Your whole funeral was planned based on that piece of advice.
As we were leaving la vista, we were discussing “shopping around”. We both felt like it was silly to do so, but were advised that we should do it so we knew we were actually making the right choice. We were leaving la vista and out on one of the lawns we saw a tall gray crane. I thought it was part of someone’s headstone and your dad told me he had never seen it before. We stopped the car and the crane looked right at us. It was incredible. I knew it had to be some kind of a sign, so I googled the meaning of a crane. Turns out, he represents eternal youth and happiness and he doubles as the stork. We both knew you had confirmed that you wanted to be buried here.
We drive to Glen Abbey in Bonita, for good measure. Driving through there, I realized how comfortable I felt at la vista. It didn’t matter the price (which was actually extremely reasonable), we were going off of feelings. Could we feel comfortable hanging out with you? Letting our kids run around the property? Having a picnic? Could we see you from the freeway?
We realized the importance of selecting a cemetery that evokes feelings of peace, happiness, and healing. A place where you can come to cry, be in solitude, or even have a noisy group of family and friends. Your gravesite is a place for us to both grieve and to heal. Choosing a cemetery is so important and we were just taking a shot in the dark. But in the end, we made the right choice because we followed our hearts and Gods promptings.
I love you son, and I know you are happy with the choice we made. I can’t wait to be laid to rest near you and meet you again, this time I heaven. I love you.
With all that I am,