Decorating a Grave

I started off not wanting to do anything to my daughters grave, I barely even visited for the first few months, I couldn’t bring myself to. It seemed so final, like not admitting that I had a grave to visit and decorate and not a daughter to dress up was the final thing keeping myself together in those early months.

I feel bad that I didn’t make more of her funeral, not being religious we didn’t want anything remotely prayery, and we didn’t want to make it too big, just parents and grandparents. Maybe in hindsight we should have invited uncles, but only one of my brothers would have been able to, or even wanted to come and I’m pretty sure her dads brothers weren’t really interested. We stood in silence around the tiny hole and watched her lowered in. No words were said, no readings, nothing. I couldn’t find the words, let alone the voice to say them.
We also went low key on decorations, very low key having seen the babies buried since – they have massive floral arrangements laid at their grave, their name in flowers, teddies, toy cars. My baby girl? I bought a small bunch of pink carnations from a supermarket, tied them up with a pink ribbon and laid them at her grave.

I returned a few weeks later with a single pink rose that I tied the same ribbon around, and a few weeks after that to lay my bridesmaids bouquet from my friends wedding. I slowly started adding bits to decorate her grave, an ornament, a vase for her flowers, a small bunch of artificial flowers so she always had colour, it wasn’t until after her first birthday that I really went to town decorating. By then I was heavily pregnant with Jackson and it felt like I needed to show my affection for my daughter too.

Since her headstone was fitted I have had to reign in my decorations a little bit as there are rules about only keeping things on the base of the stone, but I try to visit an absolute minimum of once a month with fresh flowers to keep it looking nice, but normally manage once a week, being so close to my parents house, luckily it’s not a massive trek for me.

I didn’t love my daughter any less when I bought her that single bunch of carnations as to when I buy her massive bright pink bouquets, which got me thinking, who do I decorate her grave for?

I feel closest to her when I’m at home, in my own space, I talk to her, but at her grave, I decorate it and leave, I don’t feel like she’s there. I decorate her grave like a shop window, I don’t want her to look unkempt and unloved like some of the babies nearby do, I buy things I think my pretty girly girl would like, butterflies and flowers, all pink, always pink, it’s become like a signature now, so pink you can’t miss her! But I don’t feel like I do it for her, I feel like I do it for other people to see how much I loved her, to show she’s not forgotten. I write this blog to record my feelings and to help other parents going through similar, I support KicksCount.org both with money and awareness in her name because I want to stop other parents feeling this, I buy stuff to go on her shelf at home to help me remember her.

There are so many facets to my relationship with my little girl that her grave is only a small part of and is, to me, just a shop window displaying my love for my lost little girl.

emgs

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