Monday, January 23, 2017
Part 10: "Burying Rowan with his angel friends..."
Brian and I knew immediately that Rowan's service would be closed casket. His body had just endured too much those last 6 months. He wouldn't look like the Rowan we all knew and loved. Now, I know I already did a post about what clothes we buried Rowan in, but just before the service started we also tucked a few of his favorite items in with him...his angel friends stuffed animals.
The Comal County Sheriffs Deputies that were in attendance came and surrounded Brian and I in a semi-circle, with their backs to us, facing out toward the crowd, creating a privacy screen for us to open the casket one quick time. When we lifted the casket lid, of course Brian and I both gasped and broke down in tears. I only glanced quickly at his face and hands, kissed the robe at the top of his head and then his forehead...and I handed him his friends. Most of you know, that he has multiple friends in heaven, who went on before him. Three of those children, he is very close to their parents still to this day. All three of those families had gifted Rowan one of their child's stuffed animals after their child passed. He had Chrissie's 'Jingle lion', Jalene's 'Angel bear', and Julian's 'Pedro, the blue giraffe'. Rowan took one of those stuffed animals back with him to the OR for every surgery he had back home in Texas and in Seattle, and he slept with one or more of them every night, especially in the hospital. It made him feel so close to them, knowing they were theirs, often saying, "If Pedro helped Julian through so much, I know he can help me too". Or just before heading back to the operating room each time, he would quickly search his bed and say "Wait, do I have Jalene?" or "Where's Chrissie Lion, I can't go without her." These 3 stuffed animals, were more than just stuffies, they were his "angel friends".
I lovingly squeezed Jingle Lion, Angel Bear, and Pedro one last time myself, because they had brought so much comfort to me as well. I went back and forth originally as to whether or not I should keep them for me, or bury them with him. In the end, I decided his body needed to sleep with them forever, as I knew he was running with them all in Heaven, as the angels that they all were now. It just seemed right, fitting. They had never left his side the entire last 6 months, so I wanted them to stay with him. One by one I laid them in the casket, one last time, giving them to Rowan.
Jalene's Mom had also had a shirt made for Rowan, with a picture of Jalene and Rowan, and she asked me if I would put it in the casket with him as well, since he never got to wear it here on Earth. "Forever Together...Jalene & Rowan".
I touched his head one last time, and with that, we closed the casket for the final time on our baby boy. Never to see his Earthly body again.
I cannot even begin to describe the heart breaking finality of that moment. It felt like the closing of the casket, sucked all the air from my lungs. I had to sit down immediately, or I would have collapsed.
I know that was just a shell of Rowan. Just his body. I know that his soul was long in Heaven, whole and new, no scars, no tubes, no lines...but still...it was hard to breathe.
I know we did the right thing having a closed casket, but I am also glad we took the time to tuck Rowan's angel friends stuffed animals in with him...they all belonged together. Can't wait to see you all running and dancing in Heaven together.
I love you and I miss you Rowan.
I've had 40 days without you...
but you've had 40 days with Jesus...