Since June, Serenity Jade Reedy’s family has been waiting to say goodbye to the bubbly infant with the big blue eyes and a soft smile.
On Tuesday, they finally were able to lay the 9-month-old to rest at Sunset Memorial Gardens in Richland. Her funeral was one month after Serenity would have celebrated her first birthday.
Jennifer Reedy found her daughter’s lifeless body in her crib June 7 at her Richland home.
Reedy’s former live-in boyfriend, Jose Luis Aguilar, 36, is charged with second-degree murder and first-degree child rape for allegedly killing the infant. He remains jailed in Benton County.
Serenity’s body — which was being held at the medical examiner’s office as Aguilar’s defense attorney decided if other tests were needed — recently was released to her family.
“For me personally, it has just been too hard to talk about,” said Kathy Inglis, Serenity’s grandmother. “I am not sure if I will ever have closure. I didn’t get to see my baby. I am one of those people that would like to kiss her goodbye. I will never be able to do that.”
Family and friends gathered Tuesday morning at Christ the King Church in Richland to celebrate Serenity’s short life with a Mass. Pictures of
Serenity and a collection of her favorite toys greeted people as they came in.
Four pallbearers carried in her small white casket. Pink and purple flowers were placed on top. Flower arrangements shaped like a heart and cross were propped up nearby.
The Rev. Thomas Champoux described Serenity as a happy, precious infant who was taken from her loving family too soon.
“A child as innocent as Serenity immediately sees God face to face,” Champoux told the mourners. “This family now has a saint in heaven praying for (them).”
Inglis remembered her granddaughter as an affectionate child who loved to play with a toy monkey and elephant. She said the shock and pain of Serenity’s death has been difficult to live with.
“She was everything to us,” Inglis said, fighting back tears. “With that big smile on her face. She loved everyone. She touched everyone. That’s the kind of kid Serenity was.”
Serenity’s family held hands and walked slowly behind her casket as it was carried from the church to the song "Fly Like a Bird."
At the gravesite, gusts of wind swirled through the tent where Serenity’s family gathered. Champoux blessed her body and said a final prayer.
As other family members hugged and wandered away, Jennifer Reedy lingered behind. Her eyes red from crying, she bent down and kissed her daughter’s casket a final time before walking away.
“This has been so hard for (Jennifer),” her mother said. “Can you imagine? She is doing as good as she could be. We are all suffering. We are all hurting.”
w Tyler Richardson: 582-1556; firstname.lastname@example.org; Twitter: @Ty_richardson