The Plan - Chapter 14

Pam and I, who both like to have plan everything decided we should try and call a funeral home to see what arrangements could be made ahead of time.  It sounds so terrible to be talking about someone dying, even before they are born.  Even now, I tell myself that it was disgusting.  Yet, we had to deal with it.  I got up enough courage to start calling the funeral homes in Berrien Springs.  This was when God lead us to another servant of his who owned a funeral home.  It  was the very first place I called.  Pam and I wanted to at least get an idea of the expenses involved in a funeral so that we could budget a little bit more for them.  We didn’t have any idea what funerals cost.  I started talking with the funeral home and he told me that he did funerals for babies at no charge for the use of the funeral home or the funeral service.  The only thing that we would have to pay for is the cemetery plot and the casket that she would be buried in.  What a relief!  I arranged with him a time so that we could come and talk about how we wanted things to be.  We could also choose the casket and get that taken care of.

The next week we met with him.  We sat down with him and went through the items that we needed to go through.  We started off by explaining to him a little bit of our background and what was happening with Ashley.  He asked us questions like: What we wanted for a service? Did we want Ashley to be put in each of the local papers when she died? Did we want to use the funeral home for the service? He was very gracious and kind.  He didn’t push unless we wanted to be.  We also looked into getting a spot in the baby portion of the local cemetery.  It seems very strange, but we took comfort in knowing that Ashley would be near us even when she was laid to rest.  Our house is very close to the local cemetery and we took comfort in the fact that we were able to visit her grave often.  Finally, he took us on a quick tour of the place and chose a casket.  This was by far the hardest part of the whole thing.  Tears were brimming over when we went into the room with all the caskets.  Fortunately, there was not really a lot of choice.  I believe that we had a choice of two.  I think that we chose the more expensive of the two, but at that point in time there was not a lot of difference in them.  We also looked at headstones to see what we would like.  We liked a dark black stone, but didn’t order any of them because we didn’t know what we wanted on it.  We also didn’t know how long she would live and as a result couldn’t really put anything down for sure.  Finally, we were done. It had been a difficult experience, but the Lord led us through it.

Lessons Learned

  • If you are going through a pregnancy where your baby will not have a brain, here are some tips.  If you plan to deliver the baby, you can preplan the funeral. As crass as that sounds, it is a good idea.  You will have an idea of what it will cost and the details that you want arranged.  I am guessing that our funeral home would not be the only one that does baby funerals at no charge, so be sure to call a couple homes until you find one that does not cost you anything except the casket.
  • If you know someone who is going to have an anencephalic baby, this is an area in which you can help them greatly.  With the parents permission, you make the calls to funeral homes and get an idea of the costs etc.  That way the couple you know who is going through this experience doesn’t have to explain to multiple funeral homes what is happening.  However, stay out of the arrangements.  If you find a funeral home let the parents go and make the arrangements.  It will be extremely hard for them, but it will help them deal with the situation.  In addition, they will look back on the service and will be able to say that they arranged it and did everything they could for their little one.
  • Bible Promise: Even when the way goes through Death Valley, I'm not afraid when you walk at my side.  Your trusty shepherd's crook makes me feel secure. Psalms 23:4 The Message