Thursday, December 9, 2010

"Deceased."

I anticipated the arrival of Savannah's birth certificate. It was a big deal to me. Finally receiving a little piece of paper that legally stated to the world, "Savannah was here, and Savannah was ours."

Weeks went by, which turned into months... no birth certificate. I anxiously checked the mail EVERY single day. Hoping that her legal connection to me would be waiting to fill my hands. To fill my heart. I began feeling the weight of never receiving a piece of paper, that weighs less that a pound. I cried to my husband. "Why haven't I received it? What if they mailed it to the wrong address, and someone else holds her existence in their hands?" 

My Aunt Linda, is the Chief Deputy Registrar of Shasta County. She signed my birth certificate. She signed my brothers birth certificate. She signed my cousins birth certificate, and both of my nephews.She even signed Koady's birth certificate. Savannah was my FIRST baby to be born in Shasta County. She has waited many, many years to put her mark on one of my babies certificate of birth.

I don't think she ever thought she would find herself signing what came across her desk for me though. 

For this birth certificate, she knew it had to be perfect. I called and talked to Mercy Hospital Birth Clerk while I was Koady and I were still at Davis with Savannah. She asked my permission to sign it, since I wasn't sure when I would make it back to do so. I told her she could. My Aunt was quick to find out about the decision I had made. She told the birth clerk NOT to sign Savannah's birth certificate. That Koady and I needed to sign it. {I think in her heart, just like mine, she knew...} The birth clerk signed it anyways. It came to my Aunt's desk September first. The day after Savannah had passed. My Aunt called and asked if Koady and I wanted to sign the birth certificate. I told her since it was already done, it would be okay. She DENIED the birth certificate. Which meant more to me than she will ever know. What that means, is they have to reprint it. The parents and doctor have to resign the document. And we did. My husband and I officially signed our Savannah's birth certificate. 

As I will still awaiting the arrival, I finally asked my sister-in-law, "how long did it take for you to get the boy's birth certificates?" She told me about three weeks to a month. A knot formed in my stomach. "That's it," I told myself, "it was mailed to the wrong address."

Curious, my brother and sister-in-law, whom visit my grandmother often, asked my Aunt as she popped in one evening about Savannah's birth certificate. She had a confused look on her face. She printed it off and had given it to my grandmother and my other Aunt the day it had come back across her desk. The thing is though, I haven't been down to see them since shortly after Savannah passed. I believe my presence is too much for them to handle...

They held onto it.
They didn't bring it to me. They didn't mail it.
They didn't call. 

I lived in agony for months wondering where Savannah's life documentation was. And all along, my family had it. My brother and sister-in-law delivered it to me that same night, personally.

It seemed late when the door bell rang. Although it was only around 7:00pm, there was no more light breaking through the darkness. It was rainy and cold. I opened the door to only be surprised and excited from the guests standing on my doorstep. I greeted everyone excitedly. My nephew's smiling faces were the first thing I was graced with. My brother and sister-in-law didn't have the same smiling glow. They had a face of sadness. I asked them what was wrong. My brother outstretched his arm and handed me an envelope. My mom happened to be spending the night doing some Christmas shopping. I was confused. "What's this?" I asked hesitantly. The face of the envelope shared with me what was possibly and finally waiting on the inside. 

CONFIDENTIAL 

RE: SAVANNAH VICTORIA FRASER
DOB: 08/23/2010






I opened it, but was alarmed at the difference between this piece of paper and the rest of them that I have received once before. Stamped across all of Savannah's information:

D E C E A S E D

I had never held something like this in my hands before. Again, I was confused. Everyone watched me as I stared at a piece of paper staring back at me with the obvious words written across what should be, such a beautiful piece of vital record. 

Vital: "Critical;" "Urgently Needed;" "Absolutely Necessary;"
"A Critical Element of the Plan..."

Instead;

Deceased: "Dead person;" "Someone who is no longer alive..." 

Nothing about "Deceased," matches the definition of "Vital." 

"Is this the death certificate? How did you get this?" I asked. "That is Savannah's birth certificate," they replied solemnly. I was okay with that. "Oh. Thank you." And I went back to staring at it. My VITAL piece of paper. My critical, urgently needed, absolutely necessary, critical element of the plan. On the inside I was letting out a huge sigh of relief.  The State of California acknowledges that Savannah's life was real. Her brief time with us was real.

I love that. 

My mother held my brother as he stood in the doorway and cried. Thank you for delivering her to me Nathaniel and Desirae...

Last night, I stood in the kitchen looking at her life once more. I studied every part of that piece of paper. Lastly, my eyes followed the outline of the bold letters written across the page, "Deceased..."


D:
Divine.

E:
Extraordinary.

C:
Cherished always.  

 E:
Embraced.

A:
Angel.

S:
Savannah Victoria.

E:
Envied.

D:
Desired.

A word of honor. I thought of Brody's birth certificate because his birthday is upon us in 10days. No "deceased" declared for the world to see. 

Savannah was DEFIANTLY extraordinary.

I'm so glad to be celebrating your 
birth day Brody.

My Aunt plans on retiring now having finally gotten to sign one of my children's birth certificates. 

Hold on just a little bit longer Aunt Linda... 

you've got one more to do...

6 comments:

Serenity's Mommy ♥ said...

Serenity's birth certificate had the same big bold letters running diagonally across the page. When I first saw it I was crushed. My hopes of framing her actual birth certificate - and not the keepsake on the parents fill out themselves - had been crushed. Her birth certificate sits in a paper protector sheet, with her death certificate.

Believe it or not, her death certificate looks better than her birth certificate.

The only thing we have verifying she was ever a living breathing person, (Even in the pictures, she was already passed away.), was ruined by those dreadful letters. It remains one of those many reminders of how she is/was supposed to be here with her family, but instead she is not.

The day I received hers, was really hard. I found myself crying in the floor of the Alabama Department of Public Health. (I know, the most sanitary place in the world to be in the floor, right?) I couldn't help it. My world had been shattered, yet again.

:'(

I'm so sorry Savannah has to be categorized, even on her birth certificate, with Serenity. "DECEASED"

Nadine said...

i am so sorry sweetie! i wish i could give you a big hug!!!

Danielle said...

How touching, so, so touching. Made me cry, as usual.

Tiffany said...

this whole post made me cry but especially the last 2 lines. i hope you aunt gets to sign one more. lots of love sent your way.

John and Allie Fields said...

You just managed to make an incredibly ugly word (deceased) something beautiful. Your faith and how you handle this situation is such an inspiration.

Charis said...

even with such a hard situation with savannah not being here and the big bold deceased word across it, i am so so glad your aunt is in the position she is in to let you sign it and to get to sign it herself. that hit me as so meaningful. it would mean a lot to me personally. red bluff messed up simeon's and called me that they were reprinting it and were going to sign in our place and i drove back down just to sign myself. those things mean a lot in my opinion. i am glad you finally have it.