This morning we said our final goodbye to Emily. Honestly, this was the moment we dreaded most; it took a lot just to get out of bed this morning and into the car headed for Mt. Olivet Cemetary. How do you say goodbye to a daughter? How do you say goodbye when we hardly got to say "hello?"
But for all that shook our hearts and hurt to our core about this day it was a beautiful time that we will never forget.
At 10:30 am we were able to view Emily's body once more. Her little casket was so small. Family and dear friends joined us in the viewing room; a lot of hugs were shared by all. When our time was running short the room was cleared and Laura and I were able to say our final goodbye. We thanked the Lord for our Emily; we feel so honored to be the chosen parents for this precious little girl. Laura and I each wrote our own letter to Emily, which we took turns reading. After drenching a handful of kleenex tissues we tucked the letters into the casket and the lid was shut.
Laura's dad, Ben, who is a pastor from Michigan, did a beautiful job leading the brief graveside service. He read from 1 Corinthians 15, Revelation 21, and Psalm 23. After a time of prayer Emily's body was committed to the Lord in anticipation for the coming resurrection.
Yesterday Laura and I went out and picked flowers at a nearby Berry Patch Farm, which we sorted and tied into five different arrangements. As the service closed Sean (6), Megan (5), and Alayna (3) each grabbed their bouquet and, along with Laura and I, we arranged them around Emily's coffin. Our kids surprised us as they each melted into tears and spoke how much they missed their sister and wanted her back. They were incredibly tender and expressive, which was beautiful to see.
Thank you, Lord, for all your gifts, big and small, and for being loving in all you do.