Give a Little, Take a Little

September 26, 2008

Losing a pregnancy this far along has been all around sucky, but I'd have to say that one of the worst parts has been the fact that we have to get a funeral home involved.

I'm twenty-seven years old. In my opinion, I should have to make trips to The Gap, the Dairy Queen, and that damn freaking office where you beg them to cancel out your parking tickets--not the funeral home.

We walk past this particular funeral home often--as you may recall--and every time I do I think, "Gosh, I hope I don't have to do business with them for a looooong time." Or "Jared's gonna be a crabbiest old man in the world when he dies. It probably won't be so bad to drop him off."

But yesterday evening, when we pulled in and actually parked in the lot, all I could think was, "Oh my word, this isn't really happening."

But unfortunately, it was.

I actually walked up those steps with my own two feet, into the corridor, and took a seat in the very outdated office. I listened hazily with my own two ears as words like "cremation" and "medical examiner" and "complimentary flower arrangement" lazily bounced from wall to wall. All the while, I tried to listen, I honestly did, but my brain could only seem to make sense of my own repeating thought: Why didn't I take an Ativan before we came here?

But as the conversation progressed, I couldn't help but notice something. That very sore muscle, otherwise known as my heart, slowly began to unclench. As the conversation evolved from final arrangements into common people we know, my breaths deepened and my fingers, which had been pried to the sides of my folding chair, found their way to lap. Maybe it was the comfort in knowing that all of the formalities of this situation would be over within twenty-four hours, or maybe it was the fact that the owner of the funeral home seemed to treat his career as more of a calling...

Either way, I felt okay.

And when Jared asked how much we owe, and I heard the owner say, "Nothing. We don't charge anything for children," I think I felt myself smile for the third time in a week. As much as I hate to admit this, the happenings of this week--minor as they might seem--have the real potential to leave us in financial shambles. We have high deductible health insurance, we seem to owe a check to every healthcare provider on this planet, and don't forget--we just opened up our own practice.

If I had the money for a Greyhound Transit ticket, I swear to Buddha that I'd hop a bus to Washington, put on a pant-suit, sneak onto the Senate floor, and somehow work "The Lawson Family" into the nation's financial bail-out plan.

...Lehman Brothers, AIG, The Lawsons, Washington Mutual--I don't think it calls too much attention to itself, do you?

The real point of this story is that the hard work, compassion, and generosity of the funeral home director touched my heart deeply. So much, that when I picked James up, the first thing I said to my father-in-law as he rounded the corner into the kitchen was, "You know, when you die I'm definitely taking you to Robertson's Funeral Home. And I don't care what you say, I buying you the fanciest casket they've got." Then I turned to my mother-in-law, pointed my finger at her chest, and said, "That goes for you, too."

We all laughed.

Then they booted me out of their house with an armful of hot food and a chocolate cake made from scratch.

In closing, I'd like to thank everyone who has lightened our load with a cake, a call, a gift, a kind word, or a "put your checkbook away." If I haven't had the chance to thank you personally, please know that it's only because the world is a very good place, and I'm absolutely overwhelmed with the outpouring.

This entire experience has left me yearning to be a gentler, kinder, more generous and thoughtful person. So if you need anything--anything at all--call me. I owe the universe approximately 10,001 good deeds, and I'd like to give one to you.

29 comments:

Keli said...

It's all about Karma, I tell ya.

We all need good Karma, so we should do good deeds.

When people show such an outpouring of love and generosity, the best thank you you can give is by returning the generosity to someone else. Karma.

I'm so very sorry for your loss. But the lessons learned are eternal.

riceagain said...

Amy--
It's so apparent that your giant open heart allows you to give so tremendously, and then also receive with grace---so many people struggle with that part! The love in you is limitless, and this beautiful post only shows a scratch on the surface. You are amazing. Thanks you for sharing.
Take good care and keep breathing.

Mindy said...

Your post made me tear up... I've been the recipient of good deeds from good people when I was going through similar hard times, and it touched me more than I can ever express. I'm sure you'll have your chance to give back. Take care of yourself! You're in my thoughts and prayers.

Jen said...

You just did your good deed for me. Thank you for putting a few things into perspective for me on what I thought was a not-so-great-day.

That was lovely.

Danse said...

I know I must sound like a broken record, but I'm so sorry for your loss.

I'm glad that you have so many people that are there for you (not just creepy blog stalkers like myself, lol).

Take care,

Krista said...

You touch people's hearts. You really do. Your story just made my eyes well up, and there are many days when your entries give me the laugh I need sitting at this god-forsaken desk!

I'm a lurker on this blog, not one to comment much, but I feel compelled to let you know how much people appreciate your takes on life. I think your good attitude and kindness are being acknowledged by the good deeds you now are receiving in return. Your family is in my prayers this week ... and I actually work for the government, so I will see what I can do about getting you worked into the bail out bill or something!

Vanilla said...

Amy, you are an amazing person to be offering up assistance to anyone who needs it on the heels of the past few days. I only hope I get to meet you some day and get to know you better, perhaps the next time you're in Colorado, or the next time I'm in New England.

Katy said...

see you in a few hours. I love you,Amy. Mom

Ellis Family said...

Not the first time this week your posts have left me with tears streaming down my cheeks. What a gracious entry. What a lesson to learn about compassion and helping others.

It's good to know there are good people in this world. Really, good people who try to offer peace in very difficult times.

And you DO share with others. You DO lift others - daily with the words you share with us all.

Jen R. said...

This post made me cry. I don't know you but I feel that it is in someone's hour of darkness where their true person comes out. You are a truly good person. And I'm so glad I had the opportunity to read this post. I'm so sorry for your loss, my prayers are with your family. I wish I could write you a fat check, but sadly we're in the need for that too. What I will do is help everyone I can in your honor! Even if it's just a smile and kind word.

Mary Poppins said...

Beautiful post. Thanks for sharing your personal sentiments and insights with us. Thank you for uplifting us during your difficult time. May you continue to heal. I wish you all the best.

Codie said...

We had a similar experience in our family a few years ago. I never had words just bitterness for all the other pregnant full termers. Thank you for your gentle heart and warm outlook. Thank you for sharing such and intimate experience with the world.

Catherine M. said...

I love you Amy

The Roberts' Report said...

That is the best news ever! What a great present to give to parents!! That family is definitely going to heaven! And so is your precious baby!! Love you Amy!

akshaye said...

Amy..I am so sorry for your loss. I cant even imagine how hard this is for you and Jared. Take care of yourself my friend.

littlebee said...

I need something. A good run. :)

nikkpass said...

Amy and Family,
Im so sorry for your loss. My thoughts and prayers are with you at this difficult time. With love, a snowflake mama~ Nikki

Rosie said...

There' so much wisdom in these timeless rituals. Putting your heart into someone else's hands, even for a few moments, makes us all better people -- the one giving and the one receiving. I'm glad you found a caring funeral director, and were smart enough to let his caring enter your heart. Let me add my voice to those who have already commented that we are sending you love and holding you and your family in our collective hearts.

Patricia said...

I'm so sorry... That's all I have to say.

Liligurl said...

Amy,
My thougt and prayers are with you, I have been there myself and it sucks. Nice to know you have a wonderful support group here on the net and at home. Take they all offer, for you give so much, you deserve it. God Bless.

Cheryl said...

What a precious gem you are, to be able to tap into your humorous side (loved that comment to the in laws) while going through such a sad time.
I remember the surreal feeling of sitting in a funeral home office at the age of 30. Just seems like it shouldn't be, can't be, must not really be happening. God bless them for their generous policy on babies and children. And God bless you, Amy, Jared, and James!

Jenn S. said...

Amy, I'm going to send you an email. but just wanted to express my sympathies here too.

Big hugs to you all.

carrie said...

A comment hardly seems sufficient. Bless you all.

JAMIE RBZ said...

I know what you are talking about. When I lost my daughter last year, I felt such an incredible outpouring of love, like nothing I've ever experienced before. People from everywhere, all religions, reached out their arms. It was amazing.

A quote struck me particularly strong during this time.

"Friendship doubles joy, divides grief".

I know you feel that. Although we can't bear the weight of your sorrow and your burden, we certainly can try to help you lighten your load ever so slightly.

Getting through the memorial service for my daughter was critical, and I truly felt like healing could start once it was behind us. I really hope you find the same.

I think my Hannah might just be chatting it up with Little Lawson, I'd like to think so at least :) Comparing notes I'm sure. ;)

loralei said...

Amy-
I posted my condolences and my suggestion that you hold out for quality TP for the sake of your ( | ) in your last entry, and you are still in this lurker's thoughts.

This post really touched me, because I work in a funeral home (pre-planning, but will be a licensed funeral director next year). You are SO right about it being a calling. I feel that it is a priveledge to help families in their time of need. Unfortunatly, we see many families in your situation--more than you would think. And as much as we try to help these people, it is rare that we even get a thank you. Not that we "expect" to be thanked, it just would be nice to know that our help was appreciated. On behalf of all of the "funeral people" out there, thank you for writing about your experience. Take care.

Diana from Dallas said...

Angels surround us every day.

I am so sorry for your loss. Take care of your tender heart.
God Bless

Mel said...

(hugs) I was tearing up reading your post. Sometimes Angels show up in the most unexpected places.

Allison Rhien said...

Amy,
I am terrible with words, I rarely comment-sorry- but I have been keeping up with your blog. I miss you. I love you, You are awesome. You change lives, with your words, and your heart.
love,

-Laura

Patty said...

Amy:
I had no idea about all you've been going through until tonight.I felt compelled to catch up on "The Lawsons" so I clicked on your blog and... I'm so touched by your reflections on the loss of your baby. Patrick and Synthia miscarried in January, so I can relate somewhat to your situation ( maybe more to your parents and Jared's). Until you go there, you just don't know..anything. It seems though, that you have had many "angels" around you. I'm so glad! You are such a dear girl!!
Just know you are in my prayers tonight. Love to James and Jared also.