There is a sense of calm, a sense of peacefulness within us knowing Amber is safe and sound in her new surroundings, no longer battling this terrible disease.
This past Friday, December 21st, was Amber’s wake. On the ride there Matt and I looked at each other and asked ourselves if this was for real. Were we really riding to a funeral home for one of our children? Surreal. The whole thing is just surreal.
The wake was beautiful and touching. Amber looked absolutely angelic, surrounded in white from her 1st Communion dress, her veil cascading down over her shoulders, the white of the silk lining in her casket and the polished white of the casket itself. She sparkled from her tiara veil, her beautiful necklaces, bracelets, and ruby ring, with her purple rosary beads weaved in/out of her little hands. The casket was surrounded by gorgeous candles, poinsettias, and purple flower sprays and vases — and a gorgeous pine wreath with pink ballet shoes made of flowers that took our breath away. Amber must of loved this set up because there she lay, with just a hint of a smile on her little angel face.
The funeral home was adorned in things that were Amber. Two huge picture collages, Supergirl dolls and a Supergirl bracelet, special mementos from Amber’s prayer table at home, like her rosary beads from Rome, were spread throughout the funeral home. And there were other meaningful pictures too, and candles with sparkly purple hearts that made the funeral home setting more personal with these special touches of Amber.
The wake was set to start at 5PM and go until 7PM. However, because the weather wasn’t the best, and apparently the line was growing longer by the minute outside (so we were told), we decided to let our guests in early, about 4:45PM. Once we received the first person, we did not have a break again until our last guest around 7:45PM (45 minutes later than we expected). Matt and I looked at each other at one point and said that we didn’t even realize we knew this many people!
Wow . . . Matt and I, we are so humbled, we are so touched. Thank you to everyone who took a moment (a long moment especially when waiting in the rain) to come and give us your support, your sympathies and condolences for our little girl. It was so meaningful to us. We could just feel the love and emotions that were felt for Amber. Thank you so much.
We shared many tears through the night. But at the same time, we also shared many smiles and hugs. In a weird kind of way, this was one of the less tragic times of the past few weeks. Matt and I have found some solace in knowing that she isn’t fighting her battle anymore, that there is no more discomfort, that we don’t need to worry for her future condition, and instead can “just” feel the sadness of her not being here with us. It’s weird, but it does allow us to smile, to talk more about the love we have shared with her instead of dwelling on the disease.
The next day was Amber’s funeral. Saturday, December 22nd, 2018 — exactly 9 months to the day when ALL OF THIS started. What an appropriate way to end a journey, I guess.
I may be partial but Amber’s funeral was one of the most beautiful and perfect funerals I have ever been to. The spirituality of the whole thing was amazing; the alter lit up with candles and decorated with flowers; the pews filled with people who love Amber; our dear friend Angela lecturing; Father Tito’s homily; Marie, Brianna, and Ryan bringing up the gifts; and the music — oh, the music was just so moving. Sister Mary Patrick, Amber’s principal, and friend, helped us invite the Sisters of Charity of Our Lady Mother of the Church Choir as well as the Franciscan Sisters to make Amber’s funeral complete. It was magnificent.
Hearing the music and the Sisters singing, made me think of what Angels must sound like. Amber knows personally what the Angels sound like. Back on April 29th, on a night where a Holy Hour was going on for Amber at our Church, I was with her in the hospital. Just after 8PM that evening, after her and I were done saying our prayers knowing our friends and family were also saying prayers too, Amber turns to me and says “Mama, I hear the Angels singing…” What do you mean you hear the Angels Amber?” Is it loud or soft?” I ask. “They are singing softly, and it is SO BEAUTIFUL” she says. “Why do you think they are singing Amber?” “Probably because I am a sick person in here” she says. “Well, Amber, I think you are very lucky to be able to hear the Angels, not many people ever get to, I wish I could hear them too.” I said. Suddenly she blesses herself and puts her head down as if in prayer. “What are you doing Amber?” I ask. “I just said a prayer asking that you can hear the Angels too Mama.” she said.
Maybe one day I will hear the Angels singing, especially since Amber is an Angel among them. I have no doubt in my mind however that our little Amber Angel was singing right along with the Sisters this funeral day because it was just so beautiful and amazing. You could feel in your Soul how special and wonderful this day truly was.
After Mass was Amber’s burial at The Saint Mary Cemetery with our family and close friends.
To all of our friends and family, thank you. Thank you for making this journey with us and thank you for supporting and helping us through some very low lows and very high highs. Amber is at Peace. She is in Heaven. And she is watching and praying over all of us. Amber Grace Smith . . . she is the Lucky One.