The days were a blur; the hours passed by and then...then it was time to bury our son. I didn't want to go. I stood in front of the mirror at my grandmother's house and wept. I wept for the little boy I thought I had failed. I wept for my husband. I wept for my own pain...my loss. I wept for my grandmother, whose face was lined with grief when she stroked her first great-grandson's face. I heard her softly groan over and over again as she touched his soft skin.
It wasn't fair. She, who had lost her third baby the day he was born, now had to endure this loss. She never held him. Charles Cooper. There were no pictures. When she woke up from the anesthesia, he was gone. My grandfather took my mother and her brother to the cemetery for his burial while my grandmother was still in recovery at the hospital.
It wasn't fair.
Owen Christopher...we buried him next to his great uncle, Charles Cooper, and below his great-grandfather. The man who had buried his own son 47 years ago. They were together now. We are still here.
We rode to the cemetery on a cloudy Sunday afternoon. I didn't understand. I thought we were going to the funeral home. I thought I had one last goodbye. I wanted to see him again. I wanted more time.
I sobbed in the front seat. I just wanted my son. My parents and husband had made the decision to forgo the viewing at the funeral home. I didn't understand.
We were first at the grave site. I sat in the car and stared straight ahead as people started arriving. I couldn't face them. All those sad faces. All the pain and disappointment. Had I let them all down? Was it my fault? It was my body who had failed my son, after all.
I slumped out the car at the last minute. My husband supporting me, I leaned all my weight on his body. I kept my head down as we walked. I couldn't face them.
I don't remember the service. I poured myself into my husbands' arms and sobbed the whole way through.
But I remember the song. I remember the words. I still cannot sing the words they sang as they lowered his body into the ground.
With tears streaming down his face, holding onto me as tight as he could, my husband sang the words:
No guilt in life, no fear in death—
This is the power of Christ in me;
From life's first cry to final breath,
Jesus commands my destiny.
No power of hell, no scheme of man,
Can ever pluck me from His hand;
Till He returns or calls me home—
Here in the power of Christ I'll stand.
Our pastor came to us afterward and held me close. 'Jesus loves you, He loves you' was all he said to me. He couldn't have said anything better or worse to me at that moment.
The anger was building inside my chest...I felt ready to explode.
The shock was subsiding and I was angry.