Madonna Badger and her husband Matthew, who she is separated from, reunited to bury their three daughters who died in a house fire at Madonna's Stamford, Conn. home Christmas Day.
Madonna's boyfriend, Michael Borcina, who is believed to have accidentally started the fire, also attended.
The girls, Lily, 9, and seven-year-old twins Sarah and Grace were honored in a public service at Manhattan's Saint Thomas Church. More than 1,000 people showed up to pay their respects, though friends and family members were given a password to be seated in the main floor, reports the Wall Street Journal.
“Nothing is going to bring my babies back, or my parents, or my life or Matthew’s life back,” Madonna, who survived the deadly house fire in Stamford, Conn. said before the congregation. “I feel very strongly about being the one to let you know who my little girls are,” Ms. Badger said through tears. “It’s going to be hard…I want you to hear about them from me, to fight for them to never be forgotten.”
Her parents, Lomer and Pauline Johnson, also died in the fire and are to be cremated and buried in Newfoundland, Canada, where they met while Lomer served in the U.S. Air Force.
Investigators said that still-burning embers from the family's Christmas Eve fire caused the horrific blaze that killed five people.
The three wooden caskets were decorated with pink and white lilies. Bible verses and musical tributes were included in the ceremony, and singer Rufus Wainwright, who knows the family, performed a rendition of "Over the Rainbow," according to the Journal. Calvin Klein, who Madonna worked for, creating the iconic "Marky" Mark Wahlberg and Kate Moss campaigns in the 1990s, was also in attendance.
Matthew did not speak during the service, but Madonna discussed each of their daughter's individually.
“I remember she begged me to tell her when she would die," she said of her eldest Lily. "I told her life is a total mystery and we’ll never know when we die. She accepted that — I will too.”
She described Sarah as her "whippersnapper, loveable and full of love," and said "everyone wanted to be close to her."
Her twin sister Grace was "an adventurer with a boundless imagination," according to Madonna, who said she had asked for a microscope and telescope for Christmas.
The memorial was followed by a private burial at Woodlawn Cemetery in the Bronx.