Should Have Stayed Home Today

In hind sight, this was one of those days where I should have stayed in my home bubble.

Doug went back to work today.  #1 reason to be sad.  It’s been so wonderful having him around everyday.  The odd part about Owen’s death?  Doug and I feel more connected these days.  There is understanding of each person’s differences in grieving.  For those of you that know us personally, Doug and I have trouble agreeing on most things 🙂  We are polar opposites.  We took months to pick out a bedspread … but this?  We are totally united.  It’s been a huge reminder of how much we love each other.

Jaden had several breakdowns today.  I decided around 1pm that it was time to get out of the house for a bit.  We went to the library to sign up for the summer reading program.  We played some computer games and checked out some books.  While Jaden was distracted, I asked the librarian if she had any suggestions on picture books for children dealing with death.  She gave me an entire pamphlet.

Wow … lots of children have to deal with death.  Totally not fair.  Sign #2?  Every book that I found appropriate was checked out.  Bummer.  The only ones left were about grandma or grandpa passing.  While those books certianly make more sense when considering the circle of life, I thought it would just confuse Jaden more.

After the library we made a pit stop to get some flowers.  I had an itch to plant some orange flowers.  Jaden and I picked out some orange marigolds and orange Spanish Sunflowers.  Can’t wait for the little buds of life to poke through the soil.  Just another reminder of how life continues to be born from Owen’s death.  Can’t wait to post the pictures too!

This past weekend we got a phone call from the funeral home.  Doug and I painted an urn for Owen at Touch of Glaze.  It was bright orange (of course) with a crested lion on the back.  I explained to the lady how it was a one of a kind and Doug and I had made it for him special.  She promised she would take good care of it.  Wouldn’t you know … she dropped the lid!  When she was telling me this on the phone I was so pissed!  But then I thought … it’s only material.  It’s something of this world and it doesn’t matter in the big picture.  To be honest, if she hadn’t cracked it, I would have in 10 years and probably had a mental breakdown.

She said she would find another temporary lid for when we came to pick him up on Monday (today).  Mom offered to go with me since Doug was at work.  We packed up the babies in this hot humid weather, cranked the AC in the minivan and headed out.

I knew something was a little off when I was greeted by the same lady who I had spoken with before and she replied “Oh, I thought you came this weekend to pick Owen up.”   She said she had to call someone to check on something.  They were talking in broken sentances but it was clear that the lady on the other end of the phone didn’t have the answers.

When she hung up, I asked “Does that mean Owen isn’t here?”  She replied “I have to make another call.”  Reason #3 … the funeral home wasn’t sure where my child was.  Unbelievable.  She assured me that he wasn’t lost and that there must have been a miscommunication.

Mind boggling part?  I was just as panicked about where Owen’s ashes were as I would have been if he were a warm, breathing, living child.  As a mother, my job to always know where my baby is hasn’t stopped.  He was declared brain dead, no longer in there.  What did I do?  Begged the nurse to keep him company during the night and make sure he wasn’t alone.  I found relief when I got a call saying that he made it to the Medical Examiner’s safely and relieved to hear he was finally at the funeral home.  I found peace in knowing he … or his body … was safe.

It didn’t help that my entire experience with this funeral home has been a disaster!  The first woman I met was cold and talked WAY too much.  Justifying everything.  Direct quote from the death professional:  I know exactly how you feel.  I expect this from friends and family.  I know people have the best of intentions and say silly things.  But she’s a professional.  I expected more.  We were given a hard time about wanting to hang some flowers from the casket.  Then the one of a kind urn was broken.  And now they ‘misplaced’ my child’s ashes.  I was so done by this point.

Those few short minutes felt like hours.  My anger and panic were intense.  Thank goodness I didn’t go alone!  My mom saw how upset I was, came out of the car to rescue me.  When she got back in the car I asked her if they had found him yet.  She said he was just getting a little joy ride.  Ashes are usually picked up at a different location, however they had made an exception for me.  Someone wasn’t aware and thought they were taking Owen where he was supposed to be.

In my gut I was ticked … I didn’t give Joe-Shmoe from the funeral home permission to have my son in the car!  He should have asked his mother first.  Again, just as if Owen was still alive.  I felt betrayed by the funeral home.  My mmind racing … was it really Owen’s ashes in there?  Maybe they spilled his ashes and were buying time to replace them with ashes from a bonfire.  Was that really Owen in there?

It’s so perplexing the feelings that surge through me at times.  One moment I feel loss and longing to hold him just one more time.  The next, my motherly instinct is still fully intact for a child that isn’t in the world anymore.  While your baby might leave you … motherly feelings do not.  I wonder if I’ll still feel motherly towards him when he’s been gone longer than he was on earth.  7 months from now will it feel different?  Or maybe 25 months from now (to include the pregnancy)?

The answer again?  Time.  Time will tell.

Love, Mel


  1. Losing a child does not make you less a mother, so no, you acted completely rationally, in my mind. I’m so sorry your experience with the home was so unpleasant. I do hope everything works out okay soon.

    And that you find the resources you need to help Jaden process all this. Thoughts are with you and your family.

  2. Melissa,
    I heard about your family through my friend, Arin Alexander (now in AZ). I am so sorry to hear of your loss, and of the way the funeral home has been so careless. Even though I don’t know you or your family, I have checked your blog daily, and every time I do, I just cry and cry. I am a mother of 2 little boys, so my heart just goes out to you. Please know that you are all in my prayers.


  3. Melissa you are absolutely right to be pissed at the funeral home. That is completely unprofessional and unkind treatment. He is still your baby, and you have the right to know where he is at all times. Unlike saying goodbye to and older loved one, you’ve never had to let Owen make his own grown up decisions and so you are justified in needing to be his mommy and look after him in the same ways now. My heart goes out to you and your family. God bless.

  4. When my daughter died, I had someone say that they knew exactly how I felt. I wanted to cause them physical harm. We lost our angel Sophia a little over five years ago. I look forward to the day we reunite. It gets a little easier each day. Praying fervently for you. Love.

  5. I check your blog daily! You have every right in this world to feel the way you did. He is still your baby boy and always will be. Stay strong and know we are all thinking of and praying for you and your family.

  6. Mel – It’s been just a little over two years since we lost our baby boy, Sam, 26 days after he was born. I only got to be his earthly mother for a fraction of time, but I feel more motherly towards him now than ever. Two years after he’s gone, my memories are stronger than ever, because I have been able to let go of most (not all) of the horror of loosing him so shortly after birth. Everyday we are able to smile and laugh about the happiness he brought us, if only for a moment. Most importantly, we recognize and cherish what we see of Sam in our daughter. Owen will live on within you and Doug, and within your other boys and you will never stop being his mother. Others have said that it gets easier each day, and it does. Owen will always be your baby and you will always mother him in a special way that only you and he can understand.

  7. Melissa,
    I am so sorry that you had to go through all of that. You are the most wonderful mother ever…I think that until Owen is home safe and sound with his family I would worry too, you’re feelings are that of a mother. Although I don’t know what you’re going through, I do know how a mother loves her child, and how fast that love grows, my son is a month younger than the triplets. I know that your love for Owen will continue to grow as Jaden, Logan and Weston get older and you and Doug continue to bring Owen into their lives. Owen will be a part of all that you do.
    When my mom was 7 months pregnant with me my papa (her dad) was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and died 6 weeks later. Although I never met him, I have never felt like I didn’t know him. Our family still talks about Papa a lot. Since me there have been 5 other grandkids born without meeting him, and we all feel such a special bond to a man we never met.
    I pray that your boys and their future wives and kids know what my cousins and I have known. Owen may not be physically here but he’s spiritually here forever.
    There’s no two way around it, there are going to dark and bad days, but you have a sunshiney disposition that is so inspiring. You make me what to be a better mom and wife. I pray for better days, and can’t wait to see those seeds grow into beautiful orange flowers.

  8. I have only thing to say. You are my hero!
    I think about you and your family everday. You will never know how many lives you have touched through your pain. Thank you for sharing your journey.

  9. hi Melissa,
    It sucks that the universe keeps piling things on to you. Sometimes i just want to scream and say knock it off, but alas that does no good. Just remember that (as cheesy as it sounds) everything you overcome only makes you stronger and you need your strength these days.
    When my sister passed in April I wanted to resent the people who said they knew how I felt and the ones who were too nosy and indelicate about asking questions and talking about her… everything people said I had to remind myself they’re just trying to be nice… but sometimes I just wanted to whomp them. So almost two months after the fact… i’m still waiting for the cards to fall and for my entire world to crumble around me… that suspense is killing me… but I also have a renewed will and motivation to be happy and do things that will make me a better person cause out of all of this: my sister dying, and your little warrior Owen, I have realized life is too short and you need to do as much as you can in the time given to you. All the corny sayings that came in the sympathy cards actually have meaning now in a strange way.
    Whoa… ok… sorry for the bit of rant, and I truly hope this helps rather than hurts, but either way I’m praying for you still and hoping for the best for your family!
    Much love,

  10. Mel, I’m sorry to hear about this insensitivity during this difficult time. One of the things that helped bring Kory and I together was the similarities in our loss of a loved one. She had recently lost her aunt to a brain tumor, and I had lost my father to a brain tumor when I was fifteen. Kory’s was very close to her aunt, so it was almost like losing a parent for her, as well. If you were to look back at our stories, those last few months with our loved ones mirror each other in so many ways that if you left the names out, you’d barely be able to tell them apart. We also love each other immensely and know each other very well… and STILL we could never know how the other felt during our times of loss. We could “roughly understand” what the other was going through, but we could never “know” how the other felt.

    One of the things that Kory and I said to each other was how hard this was for us, and we never got to meet Owen in life, and we could never understand how hard this must be for you and the family. We know that we can’t do much for you, but we will always be here if you need us. Thank you for sharing your family’s story with all us, you and your family are wonderful.

  11. Oh Mel,
    You have just gone threw so much to then have to go threw this at the funeral home. I hope everything turns out ok. Owen is still on my mind. I still just can;t believe what has happened. I feel so bad. I’m glad that you are still sharing your thoughts and emotions with all of us. I did check in on your blog yesterday, I read it I just couldn’t comment becuase I was sooooooo busy here at work. I sure am still floowing this incredible story. God bless you Mel and always now that you are all in my prayers. You will always be a mother to little Owen wether or not he is here on this earth. Its going to be hard to stop thinking about him, but god is here to give you the strength.

  12. Mel,

    It will be three years next month since our daughter was born and left the earth too quickly. The first few months I felt like I was drowning in my own grief. I would be so upset with the funeral home if I were you. They should not have took Owen someplace else. I can not believe they cracked the lid to his urn. It is normal, and okay, to feel anger at things that normally would not bother you. I know that I felt motherly after Hailee died, even though she was not with me on Earth. I wanted to pick her up and hold her and talk to her one more time. I was mad at the hospital and medical examiner that did her autopsy. I still feel motherly towards her. I do not think the feeling will ever go away. The feelings you have will change, because you as a person will change, and that is okay. I have had a child since Hailee passed away, so when I see big sisters and little brothers that are around my children’s ages, it makes my heart twinge a little for what could have been.
    Just remember that grief has no timeline. You will think you are doing wonderfully and then something will happen that will set you off, and make you sad or mad again. You will still feel motherly towards Owen no matter how much time has passed. I wish you strength in your journey from here on out. Know that Owen will always be watching over you, and when he is not, he is playing with the other babies/children in Heaven.

  13. Your feelings are completely normal. Sometimes I feel insane with the feelings that I feel towards my children in heaven, but then other bereaved parents have the same stories and it makes me feel less alone.

    I can tell you from my own experience that it’s been just about a year since Mikayla died and my desire to mother her has not lessened and I continue to find ways that I can do things in memory of her. It’s my way of using that energy that as a mother I have that needs to be extended towards her, just as if she were in my arms, but in a different way. Things like planting the orange flowers, those will remind you of Owen and taking care of and watching those flowers grow won’t replace the pain you feel but I do find that it gives me something to do and that makes things just a bit easier.

    I am so sorry that you’ve had such a horrible experience with the funeral home. You’d think that they would at least “get it” but unfortunately for us that’s not always the case.

    We have an older child as well, he’s 3 now, and we are always in search of ways to help him understand why his brother and sister live in Heaven instead of on earth like all the other babies. Most of the books I have read are about losing a baby during pregnancy, like our situation, but a good book that talks about death in general in a cute way that kids can relate to is Waterbugs and Dragonflies ( The paper version is only $3 on amazon. If you look at the list of other books that come up in that search there are many other titles that may be helpful too. Unfortunately, many of the libraries have very few of these books but amazon does have a good selection.

  14. Oh my goodness. I was feeling rage build up in me reading the part about the funeral home. You have every right to be upset and I am SO sorry this is happening.

    (((hugs))) momma.

  15. Mel,
    In nursing school, we had to learn about ways to speak to bereaved families. I would think that funeral home employees would have to attend similar training, but that may not be the case. It’s very unfortunate that your experience with the funeral home should leave you unsatisfied. I hope that you are able to procure a new lid for the vase. I completely understand about wanting to know where your child is, that shouldn’t change with his death. He is your baby, and always will be. I’m so sorry that you must continue to live with this loss, and I pray that everyone is right and that it will get better with time. I’m glad to hear that you and Doug are holding on to each other, and are understanding that each of you grieves in a different way. The death of a child can put so much strain on a family unit, and I pray that you two maintain your strength. By the sound of things, that should be the case. I hope you are staying cool in this abysmal weather. I live in Wisconsin for the winters, not the summers! Take care of yourself, and remember we are all praying for you and yours.



  16. Well. What the hell is up with this funeral home? For real, I would be totally peeved too. Glad your Mom was there with you so you didnt have to deal with the bs alone. I probably would’ve just broke down in tears and said things that weren’t appropriate…And to say to you “I know exactly how you feel” Really? Guessing that unless they are either you or Doug, they haven’t a clue. I am so sorry you have to deal with all this. I wish I could just wave a magic wand for you and make it all go away. Hang in there, honey.

  17. I found your story through the Herrin twins Facebook page. I have followed your story since then and have cried over and over for Owen and you and your boys. You’ve all wormed your way into my heart and I want to scream at the injustices of those who have hurt you through this time and thank those who have helped you and your family through this. While I don’t know you personally, and can’t hug you when you need a hug (or even if you don’t…because, really, you probably do), and can’t be a shoulder to cry on or to laugh and trade stories with…I do feel pain for your loss and have thought of you often in the past couple weeks. My cousin had a full term stillborn 8 years ago. They were the godparents of our youngest daughter and I had meant to give them the picture from her Baptism either on the first anniversary of her Baptism or on another special day. But in that picture was one of the first times my cousin was in maternity clothes with that baby. Her baby bump showing – she was absolutely adorable. But I’ve never found the time that I think it’s appropriate to give her that picture. She was due within days of her sister-in-law who lived a few doors away. The three of us have older kids that are within three months of each other and with these children, my daughter would be the oldest and these two cousins would be probably a few days apart. When Joey was stillborn, my other cousin was still pregnant. How hard for all of us. Me, I had my daughter to cradle and almost felt guilty about that. My other cousin gave birth to a baby girl. Yet, with every event that we encounter, we know that there’s one missing. The girls made their First Communion a couple weeks ago. I thought about having my daughter take up the gifts with her godparents – what a kind of cool way to include them in this next step of her religious journey. And yet, my heart wondered what that would be like knowing that there wouldn’t be a First Communion Mass for Joey. I don’t know how the loss of a child feels. I hope I never have to. But I know that 8 years later, my cousin goes on being a mom (she has 4 older than Joey and has had 2 more since him). I know that she has gone on being a strong, wonderful woman. And I have faith that you will too. It may not be what we want or what we had planned, but I believe that there is good that will come from this and faith will help it hurt not as blindingly as it may now. And maybe with you sharing your story, maybe you’re sharing some of the hurt and letting those of us who have followed you and your amazing strength shoulder some of that hurt and cry some of those tears for you. And hopefully you are drawing from us some of the strength that you need to take the next step, to get through the next minute or the next day or the next month. If I can give you some of that strength, I give it gladly and wish you peace and joy and happiness.

  18. Mel,

    I can by no means say I understand, but I sympathize. I would be very upset with the funeral home, especially for trying to make it seem like it was no big deal, an every day occurrence, and not giving you a straight answer. It may be something they deal with everyday, but the death of a loved one, especially a child, is nothing to be taken lightly – they should have been extra careful to do things right and give you all information. All I can say is at this point, you have Owen and you have your family and friends. I can only pray it will get easier for you with time – others say it will, so that’s what I pray for.

    I’m hoping you find a way to help Jaden with the loss as well. I’d keep checking back or ask if they could get the books in from another library/location. If I can help get you anything that will help him (or you!), please let me know!!

    You, Owen and your family continue to be in my daily thoughts and prayers.
    YITS – Jackie

  19. I am so sorry that you had such a bad experience with the funeral home. That really stinks. Mother instincts never go away. I lost my daughter 5 years ago, and I still am methodical about taking care of her grave. I worry everytime it storms. It’s the only thing I can focus on “taking care of” for her.

  20. Hi Mel,
    I’ve been reading and following every blog. I already wrote on here today, but I been thinking. what ever happened to the autopsy. Did they ever get back to you. So sorry I know you probably don;t even want to hear or talk about that. btu i remember you writing that they would be doing it and u decided to becuase u wanted to know what cause him to stop breathing. Wow, as I write this my tears come down cause I really can;t eblieve this has happened. So sorry Mel, and if you do not feel comfortable asnwering I completely understand. Sorry for everything that you have been threw. god bless!!!

  21. I sent you a book thinking it would be good for Jaden. It was called The Fall of Freddy the Leaf by Leo Basgagllia (sp?)I was hoping you would have gotten it. by now. Anyway it would be a good book for your whole family. I’m so sorry you had a rough day-that funeral home sounds so disorganized! Hopefully Owen likes his car rides and you’ll have him back soon!

  22. I would really like to email you but can’t seem to find the link. I have posted a couple times. Everything you have said in this post is normal. When I lost my son Hayden I had to know where he was when we left him that night at the hospital. My son passed away in his crib and I found him. He was also a triplet. He was 14 months old and when we called a squad they took him to the hopsital and pronounced him passed away. I can hardley even type the word dead after his name and it has been four years. For the longest time after he was burried my husband or I had to go to his site to make sure it was ok. I don’t know what I expected to happen to it but I knew I laid my baby boy to rest there and I had to make sure it was ok or that he was ok. There is no law that says you have to get rid of stuff or take things down. Just make sure you are ready to take things down when you do it. Hayden passed away in May and his crib did not come down until december. I would really like to talk with you. There are some things in life that most people will not understand. Us that have been blessed by an angel understand. Please email me

  23. Melissa,

    Ugh. Your mom mentioned that yesterday was rough, and now I know why. How awful.

    I hope today was a little better 🙂


  24. Mel,
    Check out Freddie the Leaf. It’s a great book we read with my nephews after my son passed away.

    I have extra copies if you’d like one. We keep extras for these occasions.


  25. What a trying day. I’m sorry you had to go through that. How terrible.

    I can’t even imagine how you are holding up. I applaud you for your strength. I have some very close friends that just lost their child to SIDS a few days before Christmas. Maybe you can find some comfort and peace in their strength.

    Find comfort in the fact that your little perfect angel lives on and is with his Father in Heaven right now. You will be able to see him again. I believe that with all my heart.

  26. Mel-I know of a program in Ozaukee County called Mourning Cloak. The program is for grieving children and families. It might provide a better format as it ties to nature and allows kids the opportunity to ‘play through’ their grief. I will keep your family in my prayers. Take care of each other.

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