Sybella's funeral was held on the 6th of May 2010, on a bright and crisp Autumn day.
The night before, we had stayed at Kelvin's parent's house, because driving the hour down to Sydney in peak hour morning traffic made me nervous.
I had put a lot of thought into my outfit, and I wasnt sure why it mattered to me so much. I guess it was because I wanted Sybella to be proud of me? Or it was important to respect the profoundity of the day by dressing well? I did know that it didnt feel right to wear black to my baby's funeral, and I cant explain that either. In my eyes, Sybella was a soft, pink, floaty baby, and so I wore a soft, pink, floaty dress.
I had a white basket with all the things I needed for the funeral, such as the music, the soft toys I planned to put in her casket, Jack's painting, flowers and my eulogy.
Yes, I was the one who did the eulogy. I was asked many times by many people why on Earth I felt I had to be the one to give the eulogy. How can you, they asked, get up there and speak about her? Wont you find it too hard? Do you have a back up in case you cant do it? My response was I had to do the eulogy. Who else was going to do it? Who else knew Sybella like I knew her? I was the one who nurtured her, worried for her, felt her move and birthed her. I had to do it. I was her mother. It was my job. There was no other option. No, I didnt have a back up, I would stand there as long as I had to, until I was finished speaking about my daughter and her little life. It didnt matter how hard it got for me, because this wasnt about me, it was about Sybella.
We drove to the chapel with tears in our eyes. I steadily got out of the car, feeling strong until I saw Barb standing there. I walked over, my pace becoming faster and faster, until I fell into her arms and she held me tight as I sobbed heaving sobs. "You look beautiful, you are a beautiful girl" she said softly as I soaked her shoulder with tears. I was completely struck that today was my daughter's funeral. Her FUNERAL. What on Earth was wrong with the world?
Others started arriving and someone gave me a handkerchief. Kelvin and I walked to the chapel's entrance, me whimpering and letting tears drip down my cheeks with no effort to stop them. I stared at the hearse, that I knew had driven here with a tiny white casket inside. I wondered if people had seen the baby casket in the hearse on it's way to the chapel and cried. I wonder if they said a prayer for the little baby inside. I wonder if they thought about that baby's family and realised it was the worst day of their lives.
The funeral began with an orchestral version of a song called "Bella's Lullaby." Barb told me later that while the music was playing, she could see a vision of a little blonde girl in a tutu, dancing to the music.
The minister welcomed us with words and a prayer. I was invited to begin my eulogy and I walked to the lectern, with Kelvin and Jack behind me. They stood with me for support. I stared at the piece of paper in front of me, words swimming, blurred by the tears in my eyes. I began to speak...I think I spoke two syllables before I had to stop again. Eventually I gained the strength from somewhere, perhaps it was from Sybella herself, I regained my composure and began my tribute. My voice wavered, and I broke down a few times. I kept focused on my notes, I couldnt bring myself to look at my family members. Kelvin told me later there wasnt a dry eye in the house. I spoke slowly, and with purpose. I wanted Sybella to feel important and proud.
Taking my seat, Tears In Heaven by Eric Clapton began to play. The minister read a passage from the Bible that Kelvin had chosen, John 14: 1-6: that reads:
Jesus said to his disciples: 'Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father's house there are many dwelling places. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, so that where I am, there you may be also. And you know the way to the place where I am going.' Thomas said to him, 'Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?' Jesus said to him, 'I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.'