Owen's Story Part 9: Trigger Warning Pregnancy Loss, TFMR

On Thursday, October 21, we met at Wasatch Lawn with our immediate family to put Owen’s ashes in the ground. It was a beautiful day with warm weather and a clear blue sky. Up until we left that morning, I felt numb. Not sad numb, but oblivious numb. I didn’t want to think too much about what would happen in only a few hours. It was too hard. While Justin was in the shower, everything hit me. I fell to the ground and cried for Owen. I told him over and over again how much I loved him and missed him. How sorry I was for him. How angry I was for him. 

Before the placement service, Justin and I were able to pay for Owen’s handprints and footprints we had ordered. They were so tiny. His hand would have barely wrapped around my pinky finger if we had chosen to be induced instead of going ahead with the D&E. Because they were only able to salvage his left hand and foot, they mirrored them on the print so we could also have his right hand and foot included. It was the only look I ever got at his body that wasn’t through an ultrasound monitor. 

We walked over to the memorial garden and met family members there. We placed flowers and small pumpkins around his headstone, made small talk, and waited for everyone to arrive. 

Greg, the Funeral Director, brought out Owen’s ashes in a teal bag. He gently placed the bag on the ground and pulled out the bronze urn he would be kept in. It was beautiful. He then took out the burp cloth I had sewed for Owen and wrapped inside the burp cloth was the smallest bag of ashes I had ever seen. That bag was all that was left of my baby that had felt so big inside of me. It was my first and last look at Owen. My little dude. All of our hopes and dreams reduced down to 2-3 tablespoons of ashes. 

We watched as they securely screwed on the urn lid and lowered him in the dirt. 

Justin had been working on a speech to give at Owen’s placement while I was at therapy the night before. After Owen had been placed, he came to the front and began to speak. My mom held me tight while he spoke. Justin began to cry, so I left my mom’s arms to place my arms around him until he had finished. It was beautifully written and filled with all the tender love we had for our baby. 

We’re here today to put Owen’s body to rest- his little body that just didn’t form right for whatever reason. But his body is just one part of who he was and is. 

One reason this has been so hard is that normally when a person dies, there’s a number of comforting thoughts that someone can turn to - be it from the realms of science, religion, spirituality or philosophy. 

But when you lose a little growing baby halfway through a pregnancy, you’re left in a very uncomfortable gray area. Were they conscious? Could they feel pain? Was there a spirit attached to that body already or perhaps waiting in some celestial DMV for their number to be called? There’s no obvious answer for any of these questions, and even the answers you might settle on just create more questions. 

But even without answering any of those questions, there are still some things I know for sure about Owen. 

First, Owen was Alyson’s first baby. She cared for him long enough to know what kind of foods he liked - McDonald’s French fries, ramen, and sour candy. She felt his kicks. She took such good care of him, by taking care of herself and her blood sugar. It doesn’t matter whatever else might be true, Alyson’s bond with Owen was very real and no one can take that away from her.


Second, Owen existed in the form of all our hopes and dreams and imagined futures for him. From the time we found out we were pregnant, we couldn’t stop thinking and talking about what they would look like and what they would be like. While all those thoughts existed only in our heads, they were still very real to us. There were a million different ways he might have turned out as a person. Losing him has felt like losing all those possibilities. 

Third, I know that Owen is a loved member of both the Adams and Ludlow families. Obviously, anyone else’s relationship to him wouldn’t have been as profound as that of his parents, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t any less real. We’ve felt your love for him and for us in everything you’ve done for us the past few weeks. 

I’ve also thought about his great-grandparents who have gone before him. Some of whom are also buried in this same cemetery. Some for whom this would be their first descendent to join them up in heaven. I’d like to imagine that any of our sweet grandmas are taking care of Owen for us right now. 

Fourth and finally, Owen was a great teacher. He taught us to take nothing for granted in life, because you just never know when something like this will happen. I think he taught us to be better spouses to each other and to to be better parents to his little brothers and sisters, whenever they might come along. He’s taught us so much in such a short amount of time, and for that we’ll always be grateful. 

At the end of the day, I don’t know for sure if Owen is mostly down here (in the ground), up there (in heaven), in here (our hearts) or a mix of them all... but my hope is that he’s at least somewhere he can hear this, so I can let him know that he’ll always be “our little dude.” We’ll always miss him and we’ll always love him. 

Once Justin was done speaking, it was my turn. For the week leading up to the service, I had tried over and over again to come up with something I wanted to say. Each time I sat down to write, my mind went blank. I decided it would probably be best to speak directly to Owen while I had the chance to be close to what was left of his body. I don’t remember what I said, but I remember wanting to tell him how much we loved him, wanted him, and missed him. It was the first time I had cried in front of someone other than Justin, my mom, and my dad about Owen. In a way, it was therapeutic. I have a hard time crying in front of other people, and it was nice to finally let it all out for everyone to see.

After I finished talking to Owen, I gave a quick prayer. The grounds crew brought over a bucket of dirt and we all took turns grabbing a handful and placing it on Owen’s urn. Then we watched as the grounds crew covered him up the rest of the way with the remaining dirt. Our baby was buried. 

The drive over to my parents’ house after the service was different than what I had expected. I felt light and optimistic. We finally had closure and our baby wasn’t left waiting in limbo anymore. 

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