He has made everything beautiful in it’s time. – Ecclesiastes 3:11
Two days after Audrey’s death, we were on our way to the funeral home to do one of the hardest things we would ever do. As we pulled in and parked, a sickening feeling filled my stomach. I didn’t want to do this. There was no way I could do this. Chad took my hand and had to practically drag me inside. After a few saddened glances back and forth, the funeral director led us quietly in to a room. I had been staring at the floor the whole walk there, and as I looked up….I saw it.
At the front of the room was a small pink casket. It had a textured design all over it, ruffles all around it, and was lined with white satin. It looked so tiny, like this couldn’t be real. As I stood there and began to examine the box that my baby girl would be lying in just the very next day, my heart dropped. This wasn’t good enough for her. Honestly, no casket was going to be good enough…..she wasn’t suppose to have one.
Leaving the funeral home I immediately began to panic. I didn’t want her to have this plain casket. She was too special to me. I wanted her to have the best that I could give her, even in her death. I wanted her to be remembered. A few moments later, realizing my worries, my mother-in-law reminded me that I was crafty. She told me that I could do anything I wanted to make it special. Then we got an idea. We were going to make her a tutu. They reminded me of Audrey in so many ways. My baby shower theme had been “Tutu Excited!”, and there was even a tutu bed skirt around her crib.
Even though I was emotionally and physically drained, I still had to spend the rest of the day finding something for her to wear and picking out flowers. The planning kept my mind off of the reality of the situation. Everything had to be perfect, everything had to match. After all, this was going to be the last thing I was ever going to be able to do for her.
I came home later that evening to a house full of family and friends. As I entered my house with arms full of tulle, no one questioned my plan. In fact, everyone… seeing the desperation and tiredness in my eyes, started working right away. People immediately started gluing purple gems on picture frames, and cutting hundreds of pieces of tulle. We were all determined to make her last days as special, as unique, and as beautiful as possible.
At midnight…I looked around at the assembly line of people who loved me, tying pieces after pieces of purple tulle onto the tutu. No one was speaking, the room was silent. All the love in that tiny living room that night….is a feeling I will forever hold with me until the end of time.
As I entered the church the next day. I found myself once again, face to face…with the pink casket. This time it wasn’t panic that I felt, some of it was relief. Not only did she look so precious and peaceful, the church also looked beautiful, as beautiful as it could be in that moment. There were flowers all around her, pictures of her set out, and in the centre of it all, the casket, with a purple tutu wrapped around it.
I smiled a little as I thought about how it must have been the first time the funeral staff had ever tied a tutu on to a coffin. To me, it was special, it was perfect. This was something no one would ever forget. Knowing she would never get to wear a tutu, and prance about the stage…. being able to at least make her one, provided me with comfort.
As the weeks have gone by, both my family and I have found pieces of tulle from that night. My sister in the sleeve of the sweater she had worn, and I, a few times I have swept my floor. Each little piece found, has provided us with phone calls, cry sessions, and many opportunities to remember Audrey.
I love how God has known the right moments to allow us to find these little pieces of her that remain. How he too, will not allow us to forget…the purple tutu.