You never imagine that you will go into hospital pregnant and full of hope but come out with a bunch of information about funerals for babies. It's not right. Parents aren't supposed to bury their children, no matter the age.
Dan and I didn't really think about the practicalities of organising a funeral too much but since I had a few days in hospital after having Isla, I started to consider the options. Baby garden with the other babies, a grave yard plot or something else. Driving out to see Dad in the beautiful South Hams, we had driven past a sign for the Woodland Burial Ground a hundred times at least. It had caught my eye a few times over the years as somewhere I thought was a lovely idea, but I'd want to be cremated so it never really registered properly.
But it popped into my head in that hospital room and just felt right. Close to Dad's home, near our favourite dog walks, and somewhere we would feel comfortable visiting Isla. For me, the big selling point was that she would be surrounded by nature. Beautiful flowers and trees growing around her forever, creatures thriving in the earth and butterflies loving being around her. She would be surrounded by beauty and growth - she never got to grow up but could be amongst life. The idea is that eventually the plots will return to nature and the whole site will be a wild woodland once again.
I think it's perfect. (click to enlarge)
It was a lovely day, the sun was shining. It was a quick 'service' by a minister we know well, Andy Caldwell - very simple but all we needed. For us, it was about having our loved ones around us. We had originally wanted it to be small, just the 2 of us and direct family. But more and more people asked to come, wanted to be with us and support us, recognising our daughter. She touched more people than we could have fathomed and that became clear on the 30th July 2012.
The photo shows me standing aside her grave to show the size of it really. I was taken aback by how tiny she looked compared to other adult-sized mounds of earth. You can also see the little butterfly I made for her. The other photo is a poem I tied to the tree that is at the head of her grave. It flew away into the wind over the next few days, which I liked - she took it for herself! The ribbons are still there and I've added more to her grave since.
These last photos are how it currently looks: