Saturday, October 23, 2010

Elise's 3rd Birthday and Memorial Celebration 2010

With a lot of God's Grace, Rob & I made it through another year without our firstborn daughter and managed to exhibit a little "grace" of our own. We lament for Elise in ways I can't possible describe well enough for you to understand unless you have walked in our shoes so I'm not going to try. However, we continue to use this tangible ache in our hearts to do positive things for other families experiencing the loss of a child by donating to the P.E.N.D. program at Spectrum Health. Our donations this year were successful and with a lot of work Elise's memory lives on in our hearts and in the hearts of others.

80 memorial cards were sent out to family & friends with a memorial photograph...


Here's the Memorial Photo I picked to mail out with the help of Rob and other family & friends...



Here are some other favorites from our memorial session...












Two Suitcases & a treat for my OB office of Hershey Hugs & Kisses...



Perfect suitcase contents for grieving parents of an angel girl or boy...



I put a lot of thought and care into the contents of our donations... Angel wings, two books for healing, a picture frame for each, stuffed bunny/bear rattles, music for healing, and white layettes tipped in pink or blue.



My Best Friend in the world also donates on behalf of Elise each October... Thanks Kris!!!



This year we had two 9 x 13 cakes delivered to Butterworth 3 West... The floor I delivered both of my girls. The care those OB nurses gave to my family & I is one in a million! In remembrance of Elise it is my honor to treat them to some dessert.



"Elise, Heaven holds you before we do."




Here is just a tiny side note... When I arrived to the hospital with Ava, the suitcases, and cakes I wasn't sure how I was going to make it to the lobby where I was set to meet Nancy. Making it from the car to the parking ramp elevator was a challenge to say the least. The elevator doors opened and three women were inside. They all jumped out to help me. I was so relieved. They were all nurses there on their day off to attend a mandatory meeting. They inquired about what all the stuff was for and where I was going. I shared a tiny bit of Elise's story and explained what the donations were and about our memorial celebration. One of the women started tearing up. I assured her I was doing okay and to not be so upset because it's truly a day for healing. I explained that I enjoy giving back to the P.E.N.D. program that helped preserve Elise's memory as part of our yearly celebration.

She shook her head "No"... and then shared her story. Her term daughter was stillborn 28 years ago. She helped me along with the other women to the hospital lobby. She said that no matter how many years pass I will never forget Elise because 28 years later she remembers lossing her daughter like it was yesterday. This statement I believe to be true! She thanked me for letting her help me in honor of her daughter, Jessica. We shared some tears and hugged goodbye. This is just another reminder that God places people in our lives for specific reasons. Nothing is by chance. Our paths crossing was not by accident. It was part of that women's God given purpose to be in that elevator to help me get inside the hospital with all of our donations in-tact. It was part of my God given purpose to need her help in order for us to share our stories. I believe it's all part of "The Plan" and it's certainly heart warming!

Nancy Kingma & Ava... "Thanks for making all of this possible Nancy!"



A gift for AppleTree/Lighthouse Learning Academy... We donate a Heaven inspired book each year along with a sweet treat. I look forward to the day when Ava can help share her sister's story and help pick out the book we give in memory of her.



This year we gave, Someday Heaven by Larry Libby... A great book I read after my Dad past away.




Elise received a package on her birthday... I love getting mail for her!



She received a Beautiful "E" Ornament for our Christmas Tree. Thanks Heeringa family!



We also received flower's from the Ward family from Utah... Three roses for Elise's 3rd Birthday...



Rob's rose garden for Elise bloomed another round this fall!



10/13/2010... Elise's resting place on her 3rd birthday...



My Dad's resting place on Elise's 3rd Birthday...



Pre-Ceremony... Our immediate family gathering in the cemetery...



Ava's hooping it up for her sister's birthday!



Ava giving Elise's Stone some love taps...



A special sister's kiss...



I'm reading the "We Remember Them" poem on behalf of Elise & my Dad...



I read two poems that were new this year.

Little Footprints

by Dorothy Ferguson
read in memory of Elise...

How very softly
you tiptoed into my world.
Almost silently,
only a moment you stayed.
But what an imprint
your footsteps have left
upon my heart.

In Loving Memory of You

by Debbie Heydrick
read in memory of my Dad...

Quietly I'm remembering you
in the silence of my heart.
Each thought of you, a treasure
while we are now apart.
At times I'm filled with longing;
Your face I'd love to see,
To feel your warmth, to hear your voice,
to have you here with me.

But God has a plan; He created you
and numbered all your days.
May he hold you in His loving arms
and surround me with His grace.
With the hope of reunion in Heaven one day,
I entrust you to His care.
Cherished memories of you live on in my heart.
Your life is a gift we share.

Jack lead the, "Our Father"...


Group photo with Rob...



Group photo with me...



I'm helping Ava get her balloon's ready to release... She was very excited!


Ava's love notes are on their way to Elise & Grandpa!



All of our balloon's are on their way to Heaven... I hope my Dad can help Elise catch all of them!



Up Up Up Up Up... Up they go!



We were all happy they cleared the trees...



Jack & Emma treated Elise to some Halloween Decore'...



Jack & Emma also left Grandpa Barron some Halloween Decore'...



Family Photo...



Elise's Spot at the end of the evening...



Our mailbox balloon's are out & our lights are on @ Home Sweet Kolkman...



Our Birthday Cup Cake is inflated for Elise...



Our neighbor, Lori Hart, made cookies for us and left them with a thoughtful note while we were in the cemetery...



Our family & friends gathered for a great meal...



We sang "Happy Birthday" to Elise & my Dad...

We had Carrot Cake (One of my Dad's favorite desserts) in memory of him...



Angel Food Cup Cakes for Elise!



We ended the evening watching Jack, Emma, and Ava play... I love how they love each other!



It's truly hard to believe three years have past since we last held Elise in our arms. As time moves on so does our grief. Rob and I reflected this year on how Elise would have been the same age Ava is now when we brought her home from the hospital. Every memory we have made with Ava over the past 18 months are all the memories we were cheated from making with Elise. It's hard to know what life would be like with a three year old. It's hard to know what our lives would be like with two girls to chase around. It's hard to know what it would be like to watch sisters grow up close in age. It's hard to know who Elise would be. We mourn for all the missed moments that cheat us from knowing who she'd be today. We will continue to dream about our little girl who's days were numbered all to short. Rob and I will help nurture the relationship between Ava and Elise as gently as possible because even though they are apart they will always be sisters. Our love for Elise will never end because families are FOREVER!

[Love] bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.
1 Corinthians 13:7-8

No comments:

Post a Comment