Dream-maker

Effy-Maes headstone was finally fitted on Christmas Eve 2015, 2 1/2 years after losing her.

After 2 years of deciding on the wording, and six months searching for a stonemason able to source the granite I wanted it had been a long time coming, but as I walked into the cemetery on Christmas morning it was the best Christmas present I could ever have wished for. There, stood perfectly on my baby’s grave was a real life version of the sketch I threw together on ‘paint’ all those months ago.
Choosing a design was hard, well, who expects to be choosing a headstone for their baby?

I had it in my mind that I wanted the classic headstone shape with the rounded top, but it no longer seems to be a standard shape. Looking through the catalogue the funeral director gave me I was throughly uninspired and completely disheartened. I didn’t want to get her something that wasn’t perfect!

I also struggled with stone choice. Even from the first meeting with the funeral director I’d said that I wanted a light stone. Black was too heavy and dark for the tiny little mite she was. I initially, when faced with black, dark grey or light grey as my 3 granite options opted for light grey, but quickly after seeing other headstones at the cemetery decided that even that was too dark for what I wanted. I then decided maybe I should choose marble, but a baby’s headstone at the cemetery that has been there only 25 years is already overgrown with lichen and I couldn’t bare the thought of that. So that lead me to white granite. This isn’t a common stone as I came to discover when I started emailing stonemasons and getting back different responses varying from they couldn’t find it to it doesn’t exist!

Then there was what to write. I spent hours upon hours searching for quotes, throwing things together, trying and failing to find something. I regularly settled on something, sent it to friends and family for opinions and then a day later read it to myself and decided it wasn’t quite right, but after about a year of this I picked out all the different mock ups I’d done and pieced together the bits I liked from each and finally I had the perfect words.

Lastly what design to put on the stone. I initially thought about a trail of flowers up the side, but I couldn’t decide on an image or even a type of flower, then I thought maybe a pink bow at the top. Finally I came up with maybe they could put her tiny footprints on the top. A permanent reminder or how tiny and perfect she was, and also her footprints permanently imprinted on this earth.

I never really hesitated on the font I wanted used. I knew I wanted it more swirly that your standard block capitals, and having seen stones with the Disney font on I knew this was possible, so I picked out a scripty font for her name, which had to be in pink and a lowercase italic for the rest.
With all this settled in my mind I sketched it up in paint and emailed what felt like hundreds but in reality was probably about 20 stonemasons the image. Some ignored me, some said it wasn’t possible, some said the stone didn’t exist, some started replying then just stopped, but finally I found a local company and after his initial email said it was totally possible I finally felt that maybe this was going to happen after all!

He invited us to his office to see a stone sample before he special ordered it for is, and from then on it was all plain sailing. It cost £910 which in the grand scheme of things is no more than that fancy pram I had my eye on for her. Heck I’ll never get to buy her a cot or even a coat, so to me that wasn’t a lot to spend on the perfect memorial for her.

And after perhaps the longest 3 months of my life I finally got an email on Christmas Eve to say they had just fitted it.

And my dreams had come true.

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  • An 'Angel Baby' is a baby lost during pregnancy or early childhood, who sleeps in the clouds instead of our arms.

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