Tuesday, September 24, 2013

the tiniest casket

we held ivory's funeral as soon as we could. i didn't want to drag out the days waiting to do something i didn't want to do. she passed away on the 11th of august and her funeral was the 14th. i never imagined my first funeral to plan would be for my baby. i didn't even know where to start. tanners parents came to our house and basically did it all for us. i don't know what i would have done without them. they pretty much took over and i'm grateful for that. tanners dad mentioned doing a graveside service and have it open for people to bear testimony. i loved that idea. there were two songs that i knew i wanted to have sung. we asked tanners cousins to sing "a childs prayer" and our sister in law, ana, to sing "my shepherd will supply my need." those songs, and keeping the service intimate with only family were the things i knew i wanted.

i had never been to any cemeteries in boise, and the one's i had seen from the road, i didn't like. we checked online to see what was around and we found one that looked nice from the pictures. tanner and i decided to drive there that evening to see what it looked like. we instantly knew we loved it. it was tucked away from traffic, up on a hillside. there were fields around it and lots of trees. there were ponds and rabbits running around. it felt more like a park than a cemetery. it had a beautiful, peaceful feeling about it and we knew that would be the one. 

the next day we went back to find ivory's plot. after sitting down and discussing it with someone, we decided to buy our own plots while we were at it. ivory is now buried at the head of my plot and our headstone will have mine and tanner's name on one side, and ivory's on the other. i joked with tanner and asked what is we get a divorce? he said, "well, you're stuck by me forever now." 

 we were shown some areas that had open spots and checked them out. we found an area that was surrounded by willow trees and has open fields to one side. there are lots of flowers in this area and that was major for me. i was sold as soon as i saw all the flowers. i knew that's where i wanted ivory to be. i asked tanner to lie down to see if he liked the view the down there, but he wouldn't lie down for me.

^^our sweet nephew, nixon, left a painting for ivory (we don't have the headstone yet)
 ^^these were taken after ivory was buried, but gives you an idea of what her area looks like

that same day we made the final decisions for the funeral and gathered items we wanted to have buried with her. we wanted something significant, that we could also give to our children to be reminders of ivory. tanner mentioned having the elephant be our item. he went on to explain that the tusk of an elephant is called ivory and we could easily get stuffed animals of elephants for our children. i loved the idea. we continued to talk about the significance of an elephant. they are really amazing creatures. i remember watching them in thailand and noticing how extremely smart they were. they were so strong, yet very soft and gentle. they could walk up behind you and you wouldn't even hear them. not to mention, they're super cute. we found a stuffed animal that had a pocket on the side. we wrote letters to ivory and put them in the pocket. i have two pearl bracelets that i wore on my wedding day so i put one with ivory and of course kept one. tanners mom made ivory a dress to be buried in. a friend gave us a beautiful ivory colored blanket that i put in the casket as well. everything came together with ease.

 ^^the dress she was buried in
^^what we gave her

the day of ivory's funeral came. it was a hurdle i was ready to get over. i felt like i held it together really well until we pulled up to the cemetery and i saw ivory's tiny casket. it was the tiniest casket i had ever seen. i lost it. i didn't even want to get out of the car. our families were there and gave us great comfort. family members had given beautiful wreaths to be displayed. tanners parents took care of the sheath that was on her casket. they called and asked what flowers i wanted and i wanted peonies. unfortunately, they were out of season. my mother in law pointed out to me after the funeral service that right next to ivory's grave were peonie plants. that made me happy. 

the service was beautiful. so many beautiful words were said. i had never heard prettier renditions of the songs that were sang. i don't know what else to say other than it was perfect. 

 ^^we weren't sure if you should smile or not? anyone else have the same problem at funerals? 
glad we smiled :)

 ^^tanner's cousin, laurie, was so sweet and took pictures of everything

 we went to my house afterward for an amazing lunch that our relief society put together. our ward has gone above and beyond taking care of us. 

 ^^we received so much love through flowers, gifts, service, and cards. i couldn't ask for better people in my life.

 i think about ivory every day. i cry every day. i don't feel the weight of sorrow anymore but the pain is still there. it's an empty hole in my heart that i don't know will ever be filled.. at least not until the millennium. (what an amazing promise!) i can go about my day normally and hang out with people normally but the second i think about it, it hurts. the shock of everything has worn off and now i'm working on getting though the reality of it all. i should still be pregnant. i should still be pregnant for another month. it's strange to think all of this has already happened, and there is no baby to be expected in october. i feel like my brain still thinks my body is pregnant. a part of me sometimes believes a baby is coming, but then i realize she already did. i've had dreams (nightmares) where i'm in the hospital surrounded by hundreds of babies and i'm trying to find ivory, but i never find her. i've also dreamed that i'm pregnant with twins, and one passes away but i'm still pregnant with the other and expecting her in october. the mind is a trickster. i've also had a dream that i didn't want to wake up from. i had ivory. she was a baby, the most beautiful baby i'd ever seen. we went to church and people looked at me all confused. i would shrug my shoulders just as confused. i would explain to them that i saw her die, but now, unexplained, she was in my arms. i had her laying on my lap while i played with her feet. it felt so real.

anyway, the gospel is true. i don't know how to talk about ivory without bearing testimony. i've had so many confirmations that her purpose was to receive a body. there is no doubt in my mind that that's what she was here for. i'm thankful for those who have sincerely been a help to me. i've realized what truly matters in life and what doesn't. it's funny the things you get caught up in then get a reality check and realize how unimportant some things are.  i feel like i have become more sensitive to things and it's easier to cut things out of my life that aren't necessary. i'll do anything to be with ivory again. i love my savior. i know he has been holding my hand through all of this. i know we're only given trials we can endure... although i may have been over estimated for this one ;) 


  1. You are a rock Dar. I love you!

  2. I never know whether to smile at funerals - especially the untimely ones. I think you made the right choice.

  3. Love this Dar. You are a great person.

  4. sweet dar! these pictures are a treasure. Ivory's dress is beautiful! you have so much good family around you. So loved and blessed.
    I'm glad you guys all smiled in that one picture. Ultimately it is worth smiling for.
    We love Ivory! And i love that you have filled those empty picture on the wall with her!
    Those dreams are so triggering. I'm so sorry.. the mind truly is a crazy complex thing.
    Beck and arli sound like little adults praying for you and the next chapter. Love you!

  5. oh dar. i loved reading this. i can't imagine how difficult that must have been. that cemetery is beautiful. her dress was beautiful. you look beautiful. i'm sure ivory is watching over you pushing you along :) love you dar.

  6. Darlene you are so strong! I love that you are able to share this and bare your testimony. I think about you all the time ! You are in my prayers. I love the sweet tie you have with elephants and Ivory. My family has a duck to remind us of our brother and we all get excited every time we see a duck. Elephants will bring you so much comfort :)

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  8. Thanks for sharing this Dar. So sweet to see all of those pictures. You are seriously incredible. I think we need to plan another visit soon?!

  9. I love reading what you have to say, your testimony, and your honesty. I think of you and Tanner often, and hope and pray that your pain will grow dimmer and your joy in life brighter from the things that you are learning and sharing with us. You do look beautiful in these pictures. Ivory's grave is beautiful. One thing I was wondering was how you chose Ivory's name?

  10. You are so brave. I know we are only acquaintances, but I wanted to let you know that you are in my thoughts and prayers on a regular basis. I can't even imagine what you and your family have gone through and hope for only the best in your future.

  11. Hi Darlene, this is such a beautiful story- thank you for sharing. I'll be sure to have your family in my thoughts. My name is Heather and I have a question about your blog! If you could email me at Lifesabanquet1(at)gmail(dot)com that would be great :-)

  12. Dar-

    I have been behind on checking blogs, and just caught up on yours. I can't tell you how much this post touched me. You are such an amazing person and your testimony is one of such faith and trust. I hurt for you, and I wish I could do anything to help you not be sad. But your knowledge of life after death is what will keep you going, and I continue to pray for you. For peace and comfort and for you to feel Ivory's presence, now and throughout your life. I hope you know how inspiring you are. You teach me to love my babies every day and never let one moment pass without thanking Heavenly Father for them. She is so lucky to have you for a mommy. And I know that she is waiting for your joyous reunion as well. Love you.

  13. Thank you for your amazing perspective!

  14. A friend showed me your blog.. I cried reading about your story on losing your daughter. You are such a strong & amazing woman. You are so beautiful & I know you will have great things in store. Thank you for sharing & opening up

  15. I came upon your blog a while ago and read your experience not knowing that I, and my husband, too would be required to go through a similar circumstance. We have been cheering our preemie on for 3.5 months in the NICU but as she is approaching her due date things are not looking very promising and we are preparing ourselves to say our final goodbyes in a few short days. Although a stranger, you have served as such a strength to me at this time. Thank you. And thank you Ivory. <3


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