Saturday, January 05, 2008

Going to Cebu

Just got off the phone with Mom and the airlines. Boydee had texted that River was going to be cremated at 10 am tomorrow and the first thing I thought of was that River should NOT be alone when it happens. I know that Boydee and Bang will still be at the hospital while Bang recovers from the birth, so I'm guessing that poor little River would be by herself during the whole thing. I understand that it would be too painful as well for Boydee and Bang to witness such a thing, so I reached for the phone and called Mom.

I told her I wanted to go to Cebu to be with Boydee, Bang and River, and did she want to come. I tgeuss Mom was just looking for someone to go with her, becuse her immediate response was 'Yes!' So I booked the both of us on the first --ok, the second--- flight out.

We arrived in Cebu at 9 am, made a few phone calls to Boydee, and we were on our way to Rolling Hills where River was going to be cremated. We were led to the waiting room for cremations, and we saw the little white basket atop a table. In the basket was a little white box. Inside the box (which had 'disposable sterile gloves' written on it) was a diaper-covered bundle.

We gently took the bundle out. I was surprised it was still so soft, thinking that rigidity would have set it (apparently, it takes 24-48 hours to set it). But it was oh-so-cold. :( We unwrapped the little bundle and we had our first glimpse of our little River. The first thing I said to Mom was "she's a BABY!".....and the tears started flowing.

And she was a baby......she was a sizeable baby. I had thought when Boydee told us that she was born at only 1.2 kilograms that River would fit in the palm of our hand. But no, River was almost as long as my forearm, and she was just beautiful. She had thick straight hair, although she had her Daddy's receding hairline :). River had lanugo all over her arms, but those arms were nice and long. And her hands....she had her Mommy's long fingers and graceful hands. It was Bric's hands, a feminine version for sure.

Boydee and Bang called River their little mermaid angel. And that was the perfect description of her. I asked if they took pictures of her and they said no. Well, I had every intention of capturing this little addition to our family on film, no matter if she had lived only a few minutes in our world. Obviously, I won't share any pics here online, as only Boydee and Bang have the right to do that......and I told Boydee that I would keep the photos and would give them to Boydee and Bang ONLY if they asked for it. But I couldn't NOT let River be remembered or be seen by her little cousins. She's part of our family, and I want them to have a face associated with the name. In the future, Bric may ask, so I'll be the family keeper of these few precious photographs of our family's little mermaid angel for now.

Mom and I carried River in our arms for a little it, and then it was time to let go. We gently gave her to the person who was going to cremate her. Mom and I thought we were fine, but when we saw this little thing in the huge chasm of the cremation oven, that did it for us. We started crying again as we privately said our final goodbyes to the little girl we would love, but would never see again.

We said the Rosary and a few prayers for River's soul, and for Bang's speedy recovery. And we waited the hour it would take to cremate River's body and put her in an urn. When the hour was up (a little bit over), the guy came over and asked Mom if we wanted the bones crushed. It was his opinion NOT to crush them, as the ashes would only be a teaspoonful. Mom looked at me and I said to wrap them as is, the little bones filling a plastic bag just enough to fill the urn. There were some patches of bones that looked like petals, according to Mom, and we placed these "petals" that were part of River inside the urn.

Then it was time to go. We collected River and left.

We passed by Crossroads to get some lunch for us and for Boydee and Bang, who were still at the hospital. When we entered, we hugged and kissed Boydee. I turn to Bang and she put up the sheets against her face because she had started to cry. I thought I could hold it in, but I couldn't. And the tears started to flow again. I hurt for Bang, I hurt for Boydee. It was just too much of a thing to bear just by themselves. I was glad we had decided to be with them today, to help them with our presence at the very least. Having family around to share a burden with you always makes it lighter to bear, I say.

It was an emotionally-draining day today, and I am pooped. I've had less than two hours of sleep and I am about to drop.

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