So the time had come to go and see my baby girl. It was very bittersweet. I was craving with every ounce of my being to see Hailey again, but I was also struggling with knowing that I wouldn't be able to pick her up and hold her in my arms. How was I going to restrain myself from that?
When we arrived at the mortuary (I hate that word), we had to wait a few minutes before we could go in and see Hailey. I was starting to get really nervous and anxious. I finally had to step away and sit down on a chair in the hallway. I kept telling myself I could do this. I was shaking and nauseated. I just wanted to curl up in a ball and pretend life wasn't going on around me. My mom came up to me and hugged me and told me that Hailey looked absolutely beautiful. She warned me about her hair...but at that moment she could have had a mohawk and I would have been okay with it. Nothing really mattered, but seeing my little girl.
On a side note...
I originally wanted to go and dress her, but was advised against it due to the intense emotions that it might bring. I was struggling with the decision and wondering if I would regret not being the one to dress her, after all, I only had one chance. I went upstairs to pray about it and as soon as I finished, Sean walked into the room and asked me to really consider allowing someone else to dress her. He said he would support me either way, but really felt that I shouldn't do it. Well, those of you who know Sean, know that he is very easy going and usually lets me do what I want (smart guy!). So when I saw the honest concern in his eyes, I felt like that was the answer to my prayer and I needed to allow someone else to dress her. My mom came to me and asked me if I would like her and Pat to do it. Wow...What an honor! If I wasn't going to be the one to dress Hailey, who better than her two grandmothers? Who else loved her as much as her parents? I actually felt somewhat excited about it.
I decided to give up even more control (so not me) and allow Lexi to pick out the outfit Hailey would wear. She was so excited to be given that responsibility. The first thing she said was, "Her Lay's potato chips shirt!" Okay, so I was thinking more along the lines of a pretty dress, but Hailey did LOVE that shirt. Our neighbor Matt made it for her on her birthday and she wanted to wear it every second of every day. Hailey really wasn't a girly girl anyways, and I knew if she could pick out her own outfit, she would have picked that same darn shirt. When my mom and Pat were leaving to dress her I couldn't help but cry and hug them and ask them to make her beau'ful for me. They even put her hair in little pigtails and painted her nails (she loved having her nails painted!).
Little did I know how necessary this process was for them too. That experience gave them a bond unlike any other. Two grandmothers together, dressing their beautiful baby granddaughter...It was a very sacred experience with a few miracles intertwined, the details of which I will leave out, due to their own privacy. But one thing I will say is that they knew Hailey was right there in the room with them the whole time.
Okay, now back to the viewing. After sitting down for a few minutes I had to be alone and talk to Hailey. I got up and walked into the bathroom. While in there I felt like I needed to ask Hailey to help me here. This is roughly what I remember saying, "Hey baby girl. I miss you so much and am dying inside right now. I'm supposed to go see you in a few minutes and I'm not so sure I have the strength to do it. I NEED to know that you are okay and here with me. Please, I am begging you to help me through this." After this, I walked out and the next thing I knew Sean and I were being ushered into the room.
As I walked in I could see her "bed" laying open to my left. I could see her little pigtail sticking out and at that moment my knees started to buckle. I didn't think I could take another step. Sean held onto me and we slowly walked toward her. This is when the miracle happened. As I looked up at her, I thought I was going to literally fall apart, but instead when my eyes fell upon her precious little face, the strongest feeling of peace I have EVER had came over me. It was something that I literally cannot explain in words. I knew she was right there with me, holding me up. I looked at her and instead of tears, I broke out into a huge smile. Hailey was happy! She was there! She had heard me! I now knew first hand, what the Holy Ghost can do to comfort and bring peace to a troubled soul. I now knew first hand, why He is often called the Comforter. I was comforted. I felt more at peace than I had ever before. It was a literal miracle right before my eyes. As Sean and I stood there and looked at our baby girl there was a bonding experience like none other. The three of us were there together in that roon, knowing that we were one for eternity.
As the rest of my family walked in, not sure of what emotional state Sean and I were in, you could see their faces relax as soon as they felt the peace and comfort that filled that room. Although there were some tears shed that day, what was supposed to be a devastating experience, one of sadness and questions of why, instead turned into a miraculous, uplifting event full of peace. The Lord had come through for us. Our faith once again lifted us up and carried us when we needed it. For those of you who have never read the poem Footprints in the Sand, please read it. It was always my favorite poem, but I never knew it would describe my experience so perfectly.
We left the viewing that day with a peace, comfort, and even joy unlike any other. I can't say we were necessarily happy with the situation, however in a situation such as this, we could not have asked for a better experience. I know Hailey was there and was so proud of us!