Wednesday, May 19, 2010

In the suck

Some days are harder than others. Today I was really in the suck. It started yesterday.

I finally got up the nerve to go and open the little bag that the funeral home had given us with the outfit that Aidan went to the morgue in. I specified that I wanted him redressed after his autopsy. It was my way of making sure anyone taking care of him after he left my arms until he was cremated, would see him as a real baby. See him as someone who was loved and cared for and REAL enough to dress accordingly. I also wanted the outfit afterwards and I had asked the funeral home not to wash it. I didn't want it washed because, although I knew it would likely have stains on it after his autopsy...those would be HIS stains. I didn't want the funeral home to bleach them away. It would be like bleaching away his existence...his life and his death. Getting rid of the stains just felt wrong. There is no way to fix this...there is no way to make it clean...there is no way to make it okay.

So yesterday I finally got up the courage to go and open the little bag. When we went to pick up Aidan's ashes (the first time) the funeral director told me that they had wrapped his little white outfit and blue knitted hat in a plastic bag, then she handed me that bag wrapped in another velvety green bag. I suppose the velvety green bag was supposed to make it more stately and solemn. Handing a client their son's body fluid stained infant sleeper in a plastic shopping bag just doesn't quite have the same amount of dignity I suppose.

Anyway, it being over two weeks later, I figured I had enough strength to open up the bag and see those stains. I had to bear witness to the fact that they cut open my son's body to check to see if it was defective. Don't get me wrong, I wanted the autopsy...I needed it to be done...just in case it could tell us something...but I hated that I had to do it.

So I opened up that bag...and took out my son's outfit. It had the stains on it. But it also had something else.

It was moldy.

The last person to undress my son, put his outfit in the funeral home's plastic shopping bag when it was still wet. Then it went into a dark, airless velvet bag where it sat, damp, for over two weeks. And now it's moldy and looks like a stained dishrag. And it smells like rot and death.

I cried and I washed it.

I hope the stains remain.


  1. i hope the stains are still there too.

    i wish they had been more intelligent.

    I'm so sorry Emily.

  2. I still haven't even found the courage to go pick up Stevie's ashes from the funeral home. I know we need to do it, but I just don't want it to be real, final. I'm so sorry you're dealing with this too. I wish more than anything that we were both still pregnant and miserably hot this summer. I'm sorry the funeral home wasn't more careful with Aiden's outfit.

  3. wow. things are hard enough without these little surprises that just sneak up on you and stab you in the eye. i'm so sorry.