My husband and I had been on autopilot over the last few days organising everything, deciding on the order of service, choosing the music that we would play etc. The only way we could get through it was to treat it like a mini-project. One of the things my husband and I have in common is that we are born organisers and like to be in control of things we do, and that’s how we got through the funeral.
My parents and I spent the first part of the day getting the house ready as we’d put an open invitation for people to come back to our house for a coffee after the service at the crematorium. We didn’t know how many people would come to the funeral or come back to our house, but we prepared enough cups and had tons of cakes to hand out if anyone did come back.
At 2.00pm I got changed into my black dress and willed myself to wake up from what I still thought was a bad nightmare. The limousine arrived at just gone 3.00pm, and Frankie’s tiny coffin was inside it. My heart almost stopped beating when we approached the limousine to get in it and I saw the tiny coffin that contained my son. This just wasn’t happening, it couldn’t be happening – there were so many women out there having or had had perfect babies that were alive and well. How the hell could my son be dead? Why was it my son? What did I do to deserve losing him? I’d had a textbook pregnancy and had looked after myself really well, I hadn’t had a drink since my wedding celebration party on April 20th this year, I’d taken my folic acid religiously, I’d eaten well and I was in good shape, so why did my son have to die when many babies live whose mothers drink, smoke and don’t look after themselves when pregnant? It just wasn’t fair.
My parents, two Auntys and Uncle came with us in the funeral car, it was a bit of a squeeze driving there but we managed. Frankie’s little coffin was in between me and my husband in the car and I just couldn’t believe that this was happening. My heart was still broken into a million billion trillion pieces and I didn’t think I would ever recover.
We arrived at the crematorium but we couldn’t get in as another funeral was overrunning. Rev’d Southall greeted us and we were suddenly struck by how many people we could see – I couldn’t believe how many lovely, kindhearted and wonderful people came to support us and help us say goodbye to our precious son, especially since it was 3.30pm on a workday.
Finally we were able to go in, it was cold outside so I said let everyone else go in and settle and we’d follow. In floods of tears my husband and I carried our son’s coffin into the crematorium with my parents behind us, with the end credits music from the film Castaway playing as we walked in. I didn’t want to place it down when we were in there and I didn’t want to let him go.
The service was a huge blur as the tears flowed and my husband and I held onto each other for dear life. My close friend Juliet Lyndle read a prose piece that I wrote, and I knew there was no way I could have got up to read it. She did us proud, Frankie would have been proud, and I was so grateful to her for reading the piece for me on my behalf. My husband and I also exchanged rings during the service to remind us of Frankie, and in the New Year we decided we would get them engraved with his name and his birthday. But when the Gary Barlow song “Let Me Go” started playing and the curtains started to close, I completely lost it.
I can’t remember a lot about what happened after we left the crematorium and got outside other than hugging and kissing everyone who was there. All I could do was just get through it as best I could and survive it. I was so grateful to everyone who came and helped us give Frankie the send off he deserved, and I was again truly humbled and overwhelmed at the support we had. I was also very grateful to The Rev’d David Southall for leading such a beautiful service at the crematorium for Frankie. The love and support we had was phenomenal.
I didn’t feel too much like making small talk when I got home but quite a few people who were at the funeral came round to see us. But once they had gone it was just me, my husband and my parents.
And life had to get back to normal…..somehow.