Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Death Certificate Arrives

We received her death certificate in the mail. It's printed on dark blue parchment paper with the official watermark. When you hold the heavy paper to the light, the watermark brings pink, salmon, and even red colors to the paper. I didn't realize that even the look and feel of the paper would reflect the finality of her death and frailness of her life.

I read every bit of information as though I might discover something new about my daughter. I didn't. With her full name spelled correctly, the document of vital records confirmed each diagnosis from her Trisomy 21 and heart defect to the bowel perforation and sepsis that caused her death. Also documented is the exact number of days she lived, the number of hours it took for her die from the perforation, and the exact time of death.

Wishing I would weep, I folded the document carefully into it's neat trifold and placed it back in the envelope. I sat quietly waiting to fold with grief the way I did each moment, then hour, then day, month, and year after she died. The pain wasn't there this moment, only a dull acceptance. I sigh. I wish it were different, but her Certificate of Vital Records confirms that it is not. My heart bears the watermark of her life. If you could unfold me and hold me up to the light you would see the evidence of Caitlin's presence. She shines through in pink, salmon, and red hues.

I need only wait, and the wave of grief will crush me when it arrives, but that will not happen today.


  1. What we know can hurt us again when we see it in print. This is beautiful and heartbreaking. Here for you when the crushing grief comes again.

  2. Your post is so sad, but so beautiful in it's honesty. It still seems so strange sometimes, that I'm a part of this little group of people, I didn't know existed. Each with our own story of heartache and despair.
    It's not fair to any of us.
    I got Zoe's death certificate before I got her birth certificate. I hated it. She lived first.
    Caitlin LIVED first.
    I'm so sorry. The tears will come. I hope they comfort you some.
    Thinking of you, Lindsay

  3. So honest and so beautiful. I like what the previous poster said about being a part of this little group of people that I didn't know existed. It's a group nobody wants to join, but once your's an honor to share and read of others who share your heartache. Thinking of you!

  4. Resignation is a strange and frightening emotion sometimes. We want things to be so different but after time passes we somehow find an accpetance to this life we have. The tears as you said do not always come as expected. The stab of pain not always triggered as we feel it should.

    Your heart will always cary the watermark of Caitlin's life. I love how you wrote that. It is beautiful.


  5. What beautiful imagery, and heartbreaking too.

    Wishing you peace.


  6. Sending love to you, Molly. I remember receiving T's death certificate and staring at that time of death and feeling (among other things) relieved to know when, exactly, he had died.

  7. Heartbreaking, but beautiful. As always.

  8. We all have evidence of Caitlin's life and continued presence - even prior to today. One only has to read your posts to find it.

    Sending you strength and wishing you peace.

  9. I am very moved by this post. Other than that, I'm at a loss for words.

    (Doesn't happen very often.)

  10. Just bracing with you for when the wave hits. Really beautiful post.

  11. My Logan also Had DS (T21), though he was stillborn. I do not know the exact reason for his death as the autopsy report arrived in the mail with a sticky not from my OB saying to call if I had any questions...and I can't bare to look at that man it goes unanswered, for now. BUT, when I got the report I did the exact same thing. I read every tiny little thing, even down to him having short thumbs, which I found endearing and didn't notice at the time. And then I waited for the grief that didn't come, just acceptance, and that odd smile about his thumbs.

  12. ((HUGS))

    We still haven't gotten ours. I hope it never arrvies. The headstone was enough. :(

    Thinking of you often...