A place to grieve.

When my daughter died, we struggled about what to do for her funeral or celebration of life ceremony. The one thing I knew is that I did not want to experience what I had gone through with my mom’s funeral and my grandmother’s funeral. Both had open casket funerals and it was so hard to erase that memory from my head. I didn’t want to remember them that way. I knew whatever we chose to do for Brittany – it had to be different.

It had to mimic her life as she lived it. We also knew that while our lives had been firmly planted in Michigan, we did not want to bury her there. We had been too mobile over the years and lived so many places. So we decided to cremate her, giving her father and I 1/2 of her to be with us for eternity. No casket, no grave,  no marker – just a picture on an easel and a memory board with notes from her friends and photos of great times.

I have made a space in my home to memorialize her and while it gives me a space to go and visit – I don’t think it’s the same as having a grave to go to; to place flowers on – to cry over. While I’m not a big fan of cemetery visiting – I do often feel a bit regretful about that decision. I struggled with visiting my mom’s grave. Only have done it on maybe four occasions since her passing in 1988. It’s so hard. So many feelings arise in me when I walk up to her grave. It’s not ever been a good experience for me.

I remember one time taking Brittany to my mom’s grave at her request and she asked why I was staying in the car, I told her that I did not want to remember my mom dead in a grave. I chose to remember her living and loving her family. So I reluctantly got out of the car and went with Brittany to visit her grave. We placed flowers on her headstone and then I just cried.

Sometimes I see those of you who read my blog or follow me on Facebook and Twitter and I see your photos of the headstones and gravesites of your children and I pause and wonder if I made the right choice for my Brittany. But then I go  upstairs to her memorial bookshelf and I know she is with me anywhere and anytime. I have to feel okay with that.

I think we all make decisions that we wonder are the right ones for us. As life goes on those choices begin to take on new meaning or become less appealing. We begin to second guess our decisions. But at the end of the day having a place to quietly pay my respects and to talk with Brittany is what is most meaningful to me. It’s there whenever I want to go there.

Whatever choice you made is the one you were suppose to make and it’s time to stop second guessing, and living in regret. Be a peace with those choices and know that our loved ones are always around us helping us to move forward in the lives we need to live out until it is our time to meet them again.

Until next time,


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