Before and after loosing Alice Buttons I packed cartons, arranged removalists, lawyers and utilities. On the day Alice died I had a discussion with our lawyer that ended in me being very rude and hanging up. Discussing monies owed on a day like that was not such a good idea. Wanting to punch the man in the truck at the gate the next day was also not such a good idea. Flipping the bird to the annoying new neighbour was a great idea.
So after Alice died I came home from the hospital and I filled cartons with our lives and squeezed remnants of the things we had lost into suitcases and shoe boxes and old bags. I still had on my hospital wrist bands and I couldn't change out of the clothes I wore when Alice was alive and when she died. I didn't want to wash her from me and waited until the next day before I could do this.
I drove many times between the old house and the new house. The road took me past the funeral home where Alice laid waiting. Waiting for me to change out of my dirty clothes covered in cleaning fluid and dust and to put on 'something nice.' They were waiting for me to come to the room with the lace doilies on the table and the tissue box covers and the reproduction furniture. The room where I was treated with kindness, perhaps with a little too much familiarity, and given the folder containing the invoice. In this room I was brave and almost stoic until I read the first line of the invoice;
1. Infants coffin lined with white satin.
Then I sat crying realising perhaps for the first time what I was actually doing in the room with the potted ferns and the blackwood sideboard and the soft tissues. I was here to arrange the cremation of our tiny baby. The baby that would never lay on my chest, feed at my breast, feel her fathers strong hands or see the smiling face of her sister. Our baby that would not dig in the dirt searching for worms or laugh at the songs and stories we would tell her.
Alice Buttons was cremated on Tuesday 23rd September. We were not there. We held no ceremony. Not because it is not important but because we want to choose our own way to remember Alice.