On September 7th we had Hannah Grace’s Memorial Service – 7 weeks ago today. As I think back on that day, I remember the pain of having to farewell our beautiful daughter. But I also remember the joy of being able to share precious memories of Hannah with the friends and family who came along to celebrate her life with us. Over 140 people came to celebrate, and grieve, with us! This was such a blessing, as people only got 1-2 days notice about it. We are so thankful for the effort that people made to come support us. Most of them didn’t get to meet Hannah, so it was very special to be able to share something of her life with them, and for them to feel like they got to know her a little bit through what was shared.
The service was a fitting tribute to Hannah’s short, but hugely impacting, life. Our pastor did an amazing job of leading the service in a way that honoured Hannah and our Christian faith. It was encouraging to hear scripture verses that reminded us of the hope we have in the Lord, and that Hannah is now safe with Him! And Jeremy, his Mum, and two friends of ours each shared some of their special memories of our journey with Hannah Grace (the speeches can be read under the ‘Daddy’s letter’ and ‘Memorial Service’ blog tabs).
After the service we all went over to the bridge, and scattered pink petals into the river in memory of Hannah’s life. My three flower girls from our wedding handed out the petals, and also passed around baskets of pink heart chocolates. We had red heart chocolates at our wedding, which represented Jeremy and my love for each other; so it was significant to then have pink ones to represent how much we loved Hannah Grace. Hearts also seemed appropriate, as Hannah touched the hearts and lives of so many people.
Although I found it difficult to cope through the service, as it brought up so many painful emotions, I am really thankful that we did this to honour Hannah’s life. Looking back, I know I would regret it if we hadn’t done anything just because it felt too hard. So I am glad we did. However I never imagined that I would have to attend the memorial service of one of my children, let alone only 4 years into our marriage. Saying goodbye to my baby girl was the hardest thing I have ever had to do – the pain is too great to be able to explain in words. And it is impossible to understand unless you have experienced it. Being left behind, as a new Mum without her baby, feels so empty and lonely. I miss Hannah more than words could ever describe, and I know I always will. But throughout this journey we are thankful for the friends and family who are walking alongside us. And for our God who is carrying us each step of the way.