Posted by on Jan 11, 2013
The Program from Stella's Funeral (designed by Brad and Ray)
Stella's Funeral--- or "Stellabration of Love" as we like to call it---took place on November 1, 2012.
Even now, 2 1/2 months later, it still feels pretty surreal. We said goodbye to Stella. Said goodbye to the most *alive* person I've ever met. Aimee and I worked hard on this farewell to our girl. We planned it a year in advance with our incredible officiant (A Life Celebrant named Linda Stuart), and the wonderful people at Mount Pleasant Funeral Group. When it was all over, we were proud of it. We felt we had done our girl right.
The night before the service, a big team of us went to the venue and transformed it into a Stellabratory place. It was covered in huge pictures of our beaming daughter, the fabric "hugs" our friends and family had made that covered Stella as she took her last breaths, pictures of Stella from the Stella and Sam book/TV series that she so adored, stars and the "What I Learned from Stella" messages that hundreds of blog and forum readers shared with us were taped to the back of all the chairs. It was truly breathtaking. The day of the funeral, the incredible Mount Pleasant Staff ordered 500 chocolate timbits that greeted people as they walked in the doors.
Even though we were so involved in every single aspect of the funeral and it planning, it was very much an "out of body" experience to be there, in that room, trying to say goodbye to Stella. I remember very little of what happened that day. Just small flashes sometimes come to me. I remember kissing the warm cheeks of my co-worker Jackie. I remember seeing our friend/midwife Christie bouncing Hugo while I spoke. I remember when I was trying to give my Eulogy, my nose was dripping and I had to stop to ask for kleenex which everyone assumed was for my tears, but with which I had to (subtly) wipe my nose. I remember trying to stifle a giggle when I noticed Gracie using Juju's legs as a slide during the service and trying desperately to adjust the Spanx I was wearing, to mask the extra 25 pounds I was carrying post-Hugo, without looking like I was itching my butt.
What I don't remember is who was there. What anybody said. What it smelled like. I don't recall when or if I cried. I couldn't tell you what food we served, or if I ate any of it. The service was important for us and those who loved Stella, and there are many people from the cyber-world or friends who weren't there that have expressed interest in seeing it for themselves.
We were lucky enough to have Tara Walton (our friend/photographer) videotape that service. She did it because of the Toronto Star article that Catherine Porter was writing, in lieu of Catherine having to take notes. She gave it to us and about 90% of the Stellabration of Love is captured on her videos.
I wasn't sure about posting it. I'm not sure how many people are truly interested in watching it again, or watching it at all. It's a frightening thing to have video of yourself so obviously exposed and bleeding from the soul outwards. In these videos, you can clearly see how broken we all are, but also how committed we were to ensuring Stella was honoured.
If you are so inclined, I invite you to watch and celebrate Stella with us all over again.
When I look back on this day, I don't think of it as the day I said a final goodbye to Stella. I always assumed a funeral was a final farewell, but the thing is, I can still see and feel her around me. I think many of us can. Gracie called me just a couple of hours ago to tell me that she had kept Stella in her pocket this afternoon, and made a special blanket for her to also keep in her pocket so "Stellie will be snuggy and warm".
I miss my girl so much. But if she can't be snuggly and warm in my arms, I'm happy to know she is safe in Gracie's pocket instead.
Hugo and I the morning before we left for the service: