Our beautiful baby daughter Anabelle was born sleeping June 2010.
Blessed with the screaming arrivals of our gorgeous rainbow sons,
Alexander October 2011, Zachary November 2013 and Lucas July 2016.

After Anabelle - Raising Rainbows
Heartbreak. Joy. Death. Life. But most of all Love.

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

A Pink Coffin

Two weeks ago one of the pupils in my class died. A beautiful girl with a beautiful smile and infectious giggle; she lost her battle with a degenerative syndrome she had lived with since birth and left this world peacefully in her sleep.  She was 8 years old. Unfortunately, working with children with profound and complex difficulties comes with life-limiting conditions and the worst ‘part of the job’.
Today was her funeral. To be honest until today it hadn’t really hit me. She was so often absent from school with poor health that I hadn’t felt a ‘change’ until today. This afternoon after the funeral it felt ‘changed’ – a pupil missing. I’d been feeling nervous about it, the first funeral to attend since my daughters was another little girls. I didn’t have to go but I wanted to, professionally it felt wrong to even consider not going; I’d taught this little girl for almost 4 years.
It was always going to be hard. Any funeral is hard, but none more so than a child’s. I was doing ok and then the coffin arrived.
It was pink.  Pink like Anabelle’s.
It had crossed my mind the day she died it might be. But then I hadn’t thought about it since and as such I was left unprepared. And standing there, seeing another pink coffin I was transported back to our own. I gasped, shaking on the inside.
All I could see was Anabelle sleeping inside her own coffin again and Jon carrying her into the church.
The afternoon before her funeral we’d gone to spend time with her in the chapel of rest. I’d gasped then too; seeing my beautiful girl in a coffin, the reality that our baby was indeed dead and how tiny it and Belle was hitting home once again. That afternoon we placed in her coffin the first toy we’d bought her, the tiny teddy bear the hospital had given us for her, a photograph of me and her Daddy holding her and a letter we’d written to her. I remember checking the lid on the side; that her name had been engraved and spelt properly.
And then we sat, sat with her, held her hand, kissed her and cried. Our eyes glued to her, the last time we were going to see our daughter before she was buried. While we were there I read Belle her first, and last, bedtime story; one of my favourite stories.
Guess How Much I Love You
It is a lovely story about how much Little Nutbrown Hare and Big Nutbrown Hare love eachother; the love between a parent and a child. Throughout the story they attempt to measure up their love in comparison to other things, until Little Nutbrown Hare gets sleepy. It ends with Big Nutbrown Hare putting him to bed, kissing him goodnight and telling Little Nutbrown Hare that he loves him right up to the moon and back.
Every year I have read this story around Valentine’s Day with my class. This year I’m not going to be able too. This story belongs to Anabelle now. So special is the ending to us and her that “To the moon and back” is part of the engraving we’re having on her headstone. Linking to that precious first and last story time we were able to share.
Today has been difficult and painful. I thank God for good friends, especially for Sorreya, who today has looked after me, held me, understood and got me through. Today there have been lots of tears; for Anabelle, for my 8 year old pupil and for the shock and hurt of it all.


Sam H said...

Hugs to you - funerals are difficult at the best of times but when there are so many reminders of your own situation it must be even harder. xx

Unknown said...

well done Caroline!!!!

Janette said...

Thanking God that you have good friends and thinking of you at this time xx

Waiting for Stanley and Lucy said...

Thinking of you xxxx

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After Anabelle - Raising Rainbows. I'm Caz, Mummy to beautiful angel Belle and my wonderful rainbow boys, Xander, Zachy and Luc. Wife to Jon. Twitter @cazem Instagram @cazzyem
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