Coping With Loss

Cemetery Visit

CW: mention/image of living children, images of grave sites

Two and a half years after Anthony’s remains were buried, we finally made it to the cemetery.

Weird, right? Normally when you lose someone close to you, you’re there for their funeral.

That unfortunately wasn’t the case for us (read about this nightmare here).

When Anthony was buried, we weren’t invited. He had been buried for a month, and no one told us. We went to the cemetery shortly after we found out, and the grave wasn’t marked.

Not being able to find him in a cemetery felt oddly similar to not being able to find him on an ultrasound…

Shortly after our miscarriage and the torrential downpour of crap that followed, we moved across the state. I was newly pregnant again and while I was so grateful, I was terrified as it was. I couldn’t put myself through the pain of going there again and searching and searching for him, his only mark of existence on this earth.

So, I never went.

Until Saturday.

We made plans to visit some friends back where we used to live, where we had our miscarriage. As we set the schedule for the weekend, I just so happened to be condensing our story for another blog post and was reminded of the cemetery plot. After a quick search, I realized the cemetery was only 10 minutes away from our friend’s house. I dove deep back into my inbox to find the afterthought of an email from the cemetery with shoddy directions for the plot, complete with a half-hearted, too-little-too-late apology. I swallowed my pride and saved it, and decided it was time to go.

The day of, the reality hit me.

What if I couldn’t find the stone again?

What if they lied to placate me?

What if this sent me into a grief spiral?

Was I really going to do this to myself again? To my husband? Risk diving back into the pain and frustration of that horrific day, for what?

As quickly as those thoughts came forward, they were replaced with answers.

“to get closure”

“to see what you accomplished”

“to hold your earth-side daughter and honor your son”

“to see how far you’ve come.”

I needed to do this.

We pulled up to section 42, the “infant section.” I referred to my “map” and began to look.

We split up and walked up and down, looking at each name just like we did two years ago.

I became very aware of how small the spaces were in between the grave stones. “Smaller bodies,” I thought. I wanted to puke.

My steps quickened as I realized I wasn’t finding what I was looking for.


Just like we did (or didn’t) two years ago.

“God, I can’t do this again. Please find it for me. Buddy, please show me where you are. Please.”

Over and over.

I can’t do this again.

I can’t do this again.

Not again.


I looked up to see Preston, holding our daughter, staring at the ground. I followed his gaze, and off to the side of a tree (very opposite from this stupid “map,” mind you), were four new grave stones, and one temporary one.

We found him.

I looked at the date of the first one, all the way to the left. His. January 27, 2020. Almost a month after he was taken from me. A week after I stopped calling the hospital and cemetery to see when his remains would be transferred and buried. A month shy of when I finally called again to check, and found he had been buried without notice. Without us there.

I looked at the others: July 1, 2020. January 7, 2021. July 8, 2021. And the temporary one, marked “KHN Infants” 2021-2021.

This cemetery plot was reinstated right around the time of my D & C. It was so new, it wasn’t even a check box on our paperwork, hence the miscommunication between the hospital and the cemetery. When I called in June of 2020 to check on the grave site and heard that it still wasn’t marked, I had enough. The real kicker? When I called, I found out that 15 other families were on that list. That’s 15 other families that had no idea their babies were buried. 15 other families that were promised a “ceremony” that was cancelled without notice. 15 other families without clear instructions of where the plot was located in this massive cemetery to even go to properly grieve their loss and pay their respects.

In June of 2020, I filed a complaint with the hospital network, wrote a letter and with the help of a few (read: probably around 50) friends, was able to raise enough awareness on the lack of communication and sensitivity to the matter that a team was created within the network to better bridge the gap for loss parents. They created set instructions for how loss parents could visit the site, promised to improve communication and ensured invitations for bi-annual burial ceremonies would be sent if families chose this option. These babies deserved to be acknowledged and honored. I was done with being shown otherwise.

These five grave stones were proof that Anthony’s life made a difference. His life helped others to be recognized. Without that grave stone all the way to the left, there wouldn’t be more. He made a change.

Wow, bud. Look what you did.

As I stared at those five plaques and thought of my son, I couldn’t help but feel the extra weight of the privilege in front of me; my earth-side daughter running around in the grass. Could I have ever dreamed on that awful day searching for his grave two years ago that I would find such beauty in this place?

My first baby, at peace. Acknowledged.

Other pregnancy loss babies, at peace. Acknowledged.

My second baby, here. Close to her brother always.

What a gift.


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