Monday, 27 May 2013

Saying Goodbye

I'm not even sure where to begin today.  Typing in the address for the blog is difficult enough, now to put my emotions into words feels like an impossible task.  I should first say that through this tragic reality we have seen incredible kindness from our community.  I have not cooked at all and my freezer is full of frozen items to be eaten next week.  It's an incredible blessing when someone drops off dinner to Shawn and me, but currently people are dropping off dinner for my entire family, 16 people.  A person I have never met started an account to raise money for our family to go on vacation, a friend offered to clean my house, my table is covered with flowers and the cards took hours to read through.  We do not question whether we have the support of our community around us right now.  We most definitely feel loved.

I guess I'll begin where I left off.  On Wednesday morning after updating the blog, I went into Hope's room and sat on her floor.  The tears that came turned into sobs and soon my mom and sister were next to me as I'm sure the sounds woke them up after very little sleep.  I was numb, exhausted and overwhelmed.  Shawn did not even attempt to get out of bed.  Around lunch time Shawn's parents came to drop off Sadie and Shawn pulled himself out of bed and had a strength that was incredible.  Having Sadie is so important for us right now, she gets us out of bed every morning.  We pulled Sadie aside and told her that Hope was with Jesus.  She was confused and to be honest, appeared more afraid of our tears than of our words.  We decided to drop it and let her ask questions as they came to her mind and follow her lead.

It was probably 4 pm on Wednesday before we even began to consider Hope's funeral and how we wanted to celebrate her life with our friends and family.  How do you even begin to plan a funeral for a 1 year old?  I had googled funeral homes in Calgary but found the pages covered with pictures of old people and advertisements about pre-planning your funeral.  It reminded me of how wrong it is to lose a child and I was unable to proceed.  My sister in law jumped into action and called some funeral homes, started the process and made all the arrangements for a funeral home, a church to host the funeral and a caterer.  I sat on the couch and watched her on the phone, unable to move.

On Thursday at noon, Shawn and I drove in silence to the funeral home.  Anyone who knows me would be able to tell you that I like to eat when I'm hungry.  I do not tolerate feeling hungry very well and will start to feel ill if I don't eat something.  Usually a meeting at noon would be terrible for me as I would worry that I wouldn't be ready for lunch before and would be starving before it was over.  On Thursday, I didn't care if I ever ate again.  We sat down with a woman that took us through catalogues of caskets.  They are horribly ugly for children and look like a minky 80's suitcase.  We couldn't bear the thought of our precious daughter in something so ugly.  We decided to put her in a nicer, much more expensive casket.  The funeral home wasn't sure how long they needed the casket to be.  In order to figure it out, I had to take the sleeper I had brought of Hope's and lay it out in the casket to see which one she would fit into.  It was the most disgusting thing I've ever had to do and it will forever haunt me.

After going through a lot of logistical details for planning the funeral; locations, flowers, cremation, clothing and many other things, we had to pick out an urn.  We'd decided to have Hope cremated.  The idea of her body rotting in the ground was more disturbing than the idea of cremation for me.  We hope to take Hope to some of our favourite places, places we were never able to show her during her life.  They asked what we wanted the urn to say and the first thing that came to my mind was a quote by Francis of Assisi- "Preach the gospel at all times, and when necessary, use words".  We felt that it summed up the life of a 13 month old that never spoke, but truly made a difference in the kingdom of God.

That night we talked with family about what to do for her service.  I remember a funeral I went to in 2002 for a young Godly man that was taken too soon.  I remember seeing his wife worship Jesus and wondering how she had the strength to even sing.  I wasn't sure I'd be able to get a word out, but I really felt that I wanted to try.  God is still good and I wanted Him to know that I still loved Him, even though he took away someone I loved more than anything.  We talked about speakers, programs and the multitude of details that go into planning a service like this.  It was overwhelming to put something together so quickly.  I can honestly say that I had very little to do with it.  It was almost completely done by others and would not have come together without all of the help we received.

I also took that terrible trip to the mall, a trip to pick out clothes for my own child's funeral.  I wasn't sure how I would do, but managed to find some clothes and avoid a complete breakdown.  It was one of the first shopping trips that never involved glancing at price tags or checking the sale section first.  I needed an outfit, I wanted to find something quickly and I didn't care what it cost, I just wanted to go home.

Friday was a difficult day.  We woke up with anxiety about seeing Hope.  I wanted so badly to set eyes on her again, but feared I'd be disappointed with what I saw.  We had held her for hours after she'd died, but she was only dead for a short time.  I worried that she would look disgusting to me when I saw her in a casket and that I wouldn't be able to look at her.  I worried that standing there next to her as each person we'd invited came by would drain me and I'd completely collapse from exhaustion.  When we finally got into the car I felt like it took hours to get there.  We impatiently asked the funeral director to hurry up and bring her to us as he set things up.  As soon as they opened her casket, Shawn and I stepped forward and sobbed as we looked down at such a beautiful angel.  She still looked just like our Hope and I wanted so desperately to pick her up.  I could not get over the beauty I saw, even in a dead body.  In many ways she was more beautiful in that moment than I'd ever seen her.  I pulled a rose from the flowers on top of the casket and placed it in her tiny, lifeless hand.

We cried with many friends that night and introduced Hope to some for the very first time.  I thought I would never leave her.  Sadie reached her breaking point by 9:30 pm, as she was 2.5 hours past her bedtime and was begging us to take her home.  Shawn and I tucked Hope in and closed the lid of her casket.  We didn't like to the idea of someone else doing it for us.  I left with the dread in my heart that the next day would be the last day of my life that I would lay eyes on my baby girl.

Saturday was not easy.  I got ready for my own child's funeral, an absolutely horrible feeling.  We drove to the church with a happy Sadie in the backseat without a clue of what was ahead.  We walked into the room where Hope had been placed and Shawn and I opened her casket.  For the next hour, I never left her side.  I knew that others needed to say goodbye and that people wanted to see her, but I thought of no one other than myself at that time.  I wanted to look at her and I couldn't imagine walking away from her in that moment.  I looked at my watch multiple times with the dread of needing to say goodbye.  Just before 1 pm I saw the funeral home staff looming near me.  I looked up and they told me it was time.  Shawn and I wept over our baby girl as he tucked her in for the last time ever.  A gift that most parents have nightly for years with their children.  Something that had been stollen from us much too early.

We walked down the aisle of the church behind Hope's casket.  Something amazing happened as we walked through the crowd that had gathered to celebrate her life.   We found some strength in the Lord and in our community.  I had thought I would need a massive box of kleenex to survive that service, but I only used one.  We found the strength to stand and celebrate our daughter's life.  We do not deny that the pain is terrible and completely raw, but we acknowledge that God is good and we believe in His perfect will.

When planning her service, we had asked to have the message of Christ shared.  The only value we can see in Hope's death is salvation.  If someone hears about and believes in Jesus as a result of Hope's life and death, it is all worth it.  To anyone that heard the message of Christ for the first time or the 50th time that felt that pull in your chest.  We pray that you put your trust in Christ and believe in Him as your personal Saviour.  The only comfort we find is knowing that we will spend eternity in Heaven with Hope.  We pray that many join us in eternity because of the testimony that Hope's journey has been in your life.  If you do, would you tell Shawn and I?  We would be so encouraged to know that someone accepted Jesus for the first time and is now alive in Christ.

It is now 6 days since that horrible night in Edmonton that we held our lifeless daughter.  Many people have asked how we are doing.  That's a difficult question with a constantly changing answer.  We have moments of joy; watching Sadie laugh and play with her cousins, but we have moments of deep pain as well.  We are not sleeping well and avoid going to bed.  We struggle to imagine returning to normal life and are trying to even grasp what that looks like for us.  It's been so long since our life was "normal" that we do not even know where to begin.

We feel we need to get out of Calgary and Shawn is not ready to go back to work.  We want to be somewhere we feel comfortable and have made a few plans.  We will spend some time with my family in Radium for a few days, thanks to the kindness of some wonderful people.  After that, Shawn and I will be leaving with Sadie next week to go to Maui for a week.  We have friends that are away and have offered us their home and their vehicle.  The flights were very reasonable and we felt it was the best place for us right now.  We still plan to get away on an exciting vacation when our heads are clear enough to plan it, but for now are happy to go away.

I have been asked multiple times if I will continue to blog.  I don't have a true answer, but as I feel like writing, I will.  I'm not sure for how long, I assume that one day I'll be ready to finish this story and put an end to Mending Hearts and Bending Knees.  When that will be, I have no idea.  Please continue to pray for our family.  I think we are most afraid of how we'll feel when the flowers stop arriving, the meals no longer come and we are left alone.  I believe that is when the true pain will set in and we have no way of preparing for those days.  In those moments, we pray that God continues to give us the strength we need.


  1. You are such an example of a open and honest heart Amy. I think of you often and continue to pray for you and Sean's strength. You are not alone in this nor in the days ahead. You have made such a strong impression on my heart and surely upon others. One day at a time for now. I try to imagine the compassion you will share with others in the future, for it is very few who will ever truly understand the valley you are walking through. thank you for sharing your heart. may you sense His presence near.

  2. You are so right, Amy, about the time when you feel like people have forgotten and are getting on with their lives and you are still grieving. I pray that this community will not only not forget, but will remember to tell you that we remember. Because there are people that WILL remember, but they will just forget to tell you that they remember.

  3. I know ill personally never forget Hope, or her mommy, daddy & sister that loved her beyond this world and into the next.
    From one mom to another my heart aches for you. I feel like I know Hope through your writings and her passing has affected me in a way I wasn't expecting it too. Much to young, much too soon, but no longer in pain. Take comfort in that when you find that longing in your arms and heart.
    All my love.

  4. Thank you for sharing your story. I was raised Anglican but strayed for many, many years. While I wouldn't say that I am back to the place where I would attend church, I have certainly found myself praying more now than ever - thanks to Hope.

    I will continue to look for updates to the blog; I feel like you are part of my family now and I mourn along side your family.

  5. Amy, my heart aches reading your words. I don't have kids but I cannot imagine burying a child. I see God's strength in you and celebrating Hope's life at the service reminded me of God's faithfulness to strengthen us in times when we have no where else to turn. Watching you and Shawn sing How Great is Our God and Blessed Be The Name is something I will never forget. I am blessed to know you and to be your friend. Thank you for letting God work through you and being incredibly transparent in such an intensely difficult time in your lives. Continually praying for you all!

  6. Amy, please keep writing if you find peace in it. As family of a friend of yours, I've been thinking about you and your family over the past year, and especially since last week. Sharing your journey with Hope has touched many people, and you have made many friends and loved ones that you will never get to meet. You have become like family to many, and we will be wondering how you and Shawn and Sadie are doing. Hope and your family gained many prayer warriors during her struggles, and although Hope has now joined Heaven and you face your darkest hours, the many people you have touched are not going to desert you now.
    I've always been a follower of God, but your faith has awed and inspired me. As well, though I pray, I found Hope's journey and your family's story had me talking to God more often, and for many things - for His infinite wisdom and grace, for Hope's health on earth if He was willing, for your peace, and for thanksgiving for all that I have.
    You are incredibly strong and brave, and Hope is now in the most beautiful place, more beautiful than we can imagine.
    With much love to you and your family.

  7. I will continue to pray for strength and comfort for you and Shawn and Sadie. May you feel God's peace throughout the coming days!

  8. Thank you so much for your post, Amy! I know that it must be terribly painful for you to recount such terrible memories, but for those of us who have never had to deal with such things ourselves, it is very helpful so we can learn to respond better to you, and others in our lives who might find themselves in similar circumstances.
    Also, I feel that the impact of Hope's life is far from over. John 12:24 came to mind when I was thinking of Hope's life, and I can't help but wonder if perhaps this is still just the beginning. I do encourage you to continue this blog and, if nothing else, perhaps share some of the stories of how her life has impacted others on it, as was done at the funeral. I also think that allowing people to witness how God will be bringing you through the many ups and downs of the grieving process could be of ENORMOUS eternal value! At the same time, I don't mean to pressure you, since I realize that there will definitely be times where it is simply easiest to "forget" about it all and deal with your new day to day stuff. Please help teach those of us who are awkward how to respond (or not respond) so that we can be helpful to you and not hurtful.
    One final thought is, if you need anything, just ask! I don't want to overload you with stuff you don't want or need, but at the same time, I want to be there for you if you do need anything. How will we know when your freezer has room for more if you don't say?

    May the peace of God and his blessed rest be yours tonight and in the coming weeks!
    With all our love and prayers!

  9. I have wept for you many times in the past few days as I read the blog, saw the webcast of Hope's service, and just contemplated the horror of losing your child. As a mom to two young daughters myself (4yrs, 10 mos), I could barely bring myself to imagine the idea of bringing my baby's sleepers to the funeral home to fit her casket.

    You, Shawn, Sadie, and especially Hope have left an indelible mark on my heart and forever influenced my walk with God and my gratitude for my daughters. One person commented that Hope will have received a sparkly crown upon her arrival in Heaven for the souls that her life and witness brought to God. What an amazing thought for one so young to have a treasure to cast before her Maker already. My prayer is yours also - that more people will choose Christ as a result of walking alongside your family through this unthinkable journey. What an eternal legacy to redeem such a trial.

  10. Without reason I keep checking your blog these last days. You are close in thoughts... a part of my heart aches for you. Thank you for writing. Tonight it gives me words to pray for you. May you continue to feel God's mighty embrace.

  11. Hi Amy, I attended Hopes funeral on Saturday although I have never met you or your family. I just wanted to say that it was a beautiful ceremony and I find you to be such a remarkable mom and human being. I look up to you. You have taught me so much about life and motherhood and I will NEVER ever stop thinking about you, Hope, Sadie or Shawn. I hope the best for you and your whole family.

  12. Oh Amy, I have checked your blog so many times the past few days just to see if by some chance you were there. I have been so concerned about you and Shawn and longing to hear what you've been feeling and how you are doing. Thankyou SO much for finding the courage to pour out your heart and give us such a detailed account of the excruciating experience you have endured this past week. I keep thinking about you throughout the day and during the night, and am amazed at the grief I am feeling for a little child and her family that I have never met. Jesus asks us to bear one another's burdens...I want to do that for you Amy, and help to ease your sorrow. I don't know how...except to say that I have and am being deeply touched, humbled and challenged by you. I don't ever want to forget your precious Hope or I fear I will lose sight of what is of ultimate importance...the "unseen".

  13. Dear Amy Shawn and Sadie,

    I share every detail of your experience with Hope. I am so very sorry to hear of the loss of hope and have struggled many times with the loss of my daughter Isabelle, which you might have met at the Stollery. She passed away on March 11 2 days before her sixth birthday. I have also been following ur blog and thank you for sharing ur happiness and pain with us. When I read of Hope's passing all I could think was she was not alone and was with Izzy shining down on us all!! Your blog of Hope's passing stuck such pain in my heart as you were describing everything that happened with Isabelle and that I just couldn't put into words myself. I wept as I read as I could and can feel ur pain of the loss of Hope. No parent should ever lose their child but as with Isabelle as much as I wanted her to stay with me, I knew that God had bigger plans for her. It's been 2 and a half months and I miss her every single day!! I love her so much and I am in awe of ur strength to be able to share your story of Hope. God is wrapping his arms around you supporting you and ur family in ur time of grief and I never had the pleasure of meeting Hope or you and ur family, but you are blessed with a beautfiul angel who will be with you forever and always!!

  14. You are never alone.

    Celeste (Ryan and Christen's neighbour)

  15. last week as we were doing our prayers my Sadie (4) realized we didn't pray for Hope, I told her why and her answer was " Hope is dancing with Jesus and Gavin" ( Gavin is a little boy who we prayed for and went to heaven in April) Although we have never met, you and your family have been in our bedtime prayers since September. A few friends also share your updates so I know your family has made an impact. I have passed on the name of a book I think would be treasured in your home and hope it makes it to you. its called the invisible string
    Blessings as you take a much needed getaway

  16. Crying for you in your pain - praying for God's comfort for all of you. Much love, Norma

  17. I keep on thinking of you in the terrible time. I also lost my baby Daniel shortly after his birth 7 weeks ago, he had HLHS but it was also part of a chromosome disorder that we found out about after he was born. Its true, after all the flowers are gone and people stop asking you how you are (which is very hard to answer!), which is starting to happen now to me, its starting to get really hard, and I realise I just have to live with the sadness. I also have a 4 year old girl who really keeps me going! Your pain must be so great, but I can see that you have tried your best for your darling baby Hope and all we can do is trust God that he knows best, he knows why Hope had to leave you so young. I would like to recommend a book that I read, called "From Grief to Glory" by James W. Bruce III. My thoughts are with you, and may the Lord give you much strength in this time.

  18. Amy, my heart hurts for you and Shawn and you whole family. You are such an inspiration to others to which I give glory to your heavenly Father and your strong trust in Him. I was recently away and as I walked along the beach and looked at the footprints, I thought of you, Steph and so many who are on a journey of loss, pain and struggling. It reminded me so much in a real way that Jesus will carry us as we face these unearthly trials. Literally, I felt Jesus saying...see I am able to handle all that people go through and my footsteps are the ones you will see, mine alone. He is with you, but you are human. Praying that you will continue to blog, sharing your heart. Everytime I read it, I am inspired by the strength and wisdom He has imparted to you. Thank you for sharing, it has helped me to face the reality in our own family. We love you so much from afar, Richard and Debbie Tigchelaar

  19. Amy--I wanted to let you know that in all of this sadness-- I have become closer to Jesus. And the strength that you and Shawn had at Hope's funeral just made me realize that I want that- I want to put my trust and faith in the lord. I text Aleina Harrower that night and I asked if she was going to Beaulah the next day-- I have gone a few times with them and I just felt that I needed to go on Sunday with my husband and daughter. Your experience has helped me find god and I thank you for that! Thinking of you, Shawn and Sadie : )

  20. Amy, I wanted to let you know how very sorry I am to hear of Hope's passing. I've been following your blog for the last 6 months and have been sending positive thoughts for Hope daily. I have been incredibly moved by your strength throughout.

    On Tuesday, my little man was born into this world. It was the following day while breastfeeding him that I read your post about Hope's passing and broke down sobbing. While holding my new precious baby, I couldn't imagine having to let him go. I truly don't know how where you have found the courage to share your story. Please know that we will continue to send positive thoughts to you and your family in this extremely difficult time.

  21. Amy, as I read your blog all I could think of was what a witness and light for God you have been to so many. This verse came to my mind from Isaiah 52:7 " How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news" Amy let me just say your feet are stunning! Thank you for being a light in the midst of dark times.


  22. This blog about life after the death of a child may be helpful to you.

  23. Dear Amy,
    I fully remember saying goodbye to Eva. I remember the sobbing and the wailing. There are days still now where I am a mess in the shower. And, a year after her death, the emotions on the day she was cremated (Aug 26th) were more intense than the emotions on her heaven day (Aug 15th). People will say to you that her body left behind is just a shell (which is true). But we loved our children's bodies too. And it's their bodies we held and caressed through procedures, pain and in love.

    You strike me as a reader so here are two books that (there is a child's picture book available too which has helped our sons a lot and which Sadie might enjoy). The other book is Holding onto Hope by Nancy Guthrie. Her daughter's name was also Hope. I hold you in my prayers daily.

  24. something deletes accidentally in my comment. sorry. The first book is 'Heaven is for real' by Todd and Colton Burpo. (kids picture book available too). The second is 'holding on to Hope' by Nancy Guthrie.

  25. Hi Amy, Shawn and Sadie,
    I have been following Hope's journey through this blog from a distance, through friends from Camp Caroline. I am so sorry for the loss of Hope, and the devastation you must feel. However your hope, and continued faith in God through such a heartbreaking journey is beautiful and challenging and inspiring. It seems a small thing to say, as I know you would rather have Hope with you, but know that God is truly using this. Hope's life was large despite it's short time.

    Praying for continued healing for your hearts.
    ~ Jessica

  26. Hi Amy,

    I would love to send you a card. I have been following your story for... I don't even know how long now. I guess it's been close to a year, but I can't remember the first post I read as the first thing I did after reading it was go right back to the very beginning and get caught up. I've rarely gone a day without checking in ever since, and, as some others have said, I will miss your blogging if/when you decide to stop. Not because I simply like your writing (though I must admit, you do have a knack for it) or I'm interested in how your family's doing (which I am), but because your blog has almost become somewhat of a devotional for me. Your faith in Jesus is not only inspiring, but contagious. Hope has touched a lot of hearts in these last 13 months, and so have you. Hope couldn't have reached so many people miles and miles away without someone to tell her story, and you did it. I don't know how, but you did. God bless you for having the faith, the courage, and the selflessness to do so.

    And so I would love to send you a card- to remind you that I'm praying for you guys, and to also say thank you- but I don't know you personally (heard of your story through my friend Megan Enns) and obviously don't have your address. What I am wondering; however, is whether you have a P.O. Box for people like me who might like to send you something? If not, please consider these comment posts from everyone on here to be like little cards. Even though we may not understand what it must be like for you and your family right now, we are praying for you, because God understands, and only God can truly mend a broken heart.

    Thoughts and prayers from across the country.

    ~ Deanne

  27. Amy,

    We too have been wondering how you were all doing. I think of you all often each day. I know there are times where knowing this is God's plan will be little comfort. I know because I have times like that...but God is there...still there ready to comfort again when we are ready. I thank you for this last post again showing so much emotion. Something I wasn't given the right to do as a child...thus grew up having no emotion and not being able to even name them. You continue to show me that you can believe in God and have blunt awful feelings.

    Thank you for the gift of your memories and feelings,

    Naomi of The Butterfly Gang - Ontario

  28. Cheryl, Montreal28 May 2013 at 21:27

    Dear Amy and Shawn and big sister Sadie,
    When I heard the news I was soo angry because I had poured my heart into each and every pray with such intensity that it felt like God had to listen and grant this miracle to your family. I needed to see this miracle happen for Hope, for your family and in some way for myself.
    When I got married back in 1976 we made a commitment to live a Christian life and bring up our children in our Catholic faith. We perserved through all our trials and good times and were very involved with our church and our children were active members. The man I married brought me closer to God by his actions and prayers and struggles and commitment to our faith but his active involvement made him a target for some women whose husbands didn't believe and weren't participating, yada, yada..he became the 'go to guy to cry to and cry on' for these women. My trust though was TOTALLY with him and God till one day 24 years and 3 teen children later he just simply walked away with one of them. We went from being the Christian, faithfilled role models to the town's newest scandal. I lost hope and trust in God back in 2000 and tried to walk away from the shock, whispers and sadness this brought into our community. Your blog straight from your heart made me pray again and establish a connection. I'm going to try and keep it going and pray like that for my grand children and my own children and keep your family too in my prayers. God bless us all as we travel this "broken" road together.

    1. So sorry for your pain Cheryl. That must have been tremendously difficult. Thanks for sharing and I'm glad you God used this blog in your life.

  29. Amy - I watched Hope's service online & it was beautiful & such am amazing tribute to someone who truly changed too many lives to count. I believe God knew that she only needed a short time here to make such enormous change. After watching you & Shawn give such a beautiful eulogy too, it is obvious that God knew you two were the perfect people to be Hope's parents. I have never seen such grace in such an unbelievably tragic circumstance.

    I will pray for strength over the next days & months & hope that you, Shawn & Sadie may get some much needed rest & maybe a little peace while on your trip to Hawaii.

    Even though we have never met, I feel that I know you & your family & will continue to check for updates if and when you feel like posting.

    Thank you all for sharing your journey, it changed & touched many lives.

  30. Dear Amy, shawn & Sadie, I had the privilege of watching Hope's wonderful rejoicing funeral service here in Scotland,although I have never met you & as I read your blogs, I felt I knew you all very well, shed many tears at the funeral! You are an amazing couple & used greatly by God, only eternity will reveal the actual impact this situation has made on so many lives. One day we will meet in Heaven what a glorious day that will be!!I leave you with this verse Nehemiah 8-10 .......the Joy of the Lord is your strength xxxx Anne

  31. The service online was a blessing. Sending you much love, Lyndsay

  32. While I cannot say that I have necessarily accepted Jesus as my saviour, I can honestly say that I have been deeply moved by some kind of spiritual power by your story and yourselves. I cannot stop reading your blog, the happy and the sad times, all of it. You are a gifted writer, Amy, and those who read your blog feel so close to you because of how gifted you are. In times of deep pain and sorrow, it takes someone very special to be able to articulate their feelings the way you do. Your gift has likely brought a lot of comfort to others, and will continue to so long as your blog is available to be read.

    In my culture, when you look at a child, you are thought to be looking at the face of God. I am not a Christian, nor am I deeply religious, but after following your story for so long, I do feel that Hope was a spiritual messenger, and you are her voice. I have always found comfort in the spiritual, despite not being especially dedicated to a faith or religion, but in knowing Hope through your words, my spiritual connection is definitely much deeper. We may never fully understand why she had to go through what she did and was not be able to live a life that others who loved her the most dreamed for her, but her short life undoubtedly had meaningful and powerful purpose. Many of us have heard of or read stories similar to yours, but due to your gift of being the perfect voice for Hope, somehow it had had even more of a global impact. Hope is truly captivating (I have used that term to describe her even before you used it yourself at the service) - and I say "is captivating", not "was captivating". I never met her in person, but looking into those eyes of hers in the photographs, the fact really is undeniable how extraordinary she is. She is an extremely special little girl in so many ways. I wonder sometimes how people I do not even know could affect me in such a way... there has to be something more powerful at work if this is the case, not only with me but with so many others.

    The pain for you Amy may not end soon, as you were chosen to be her mother. As moms, we feel pain for our children even more deeply than anybody else ever could. Even believing with all your heart that everything that happened was God's plan can never erase it, this is the burden that mothers bear. With time, I hope that you will be able to carry this burden with more ease.

  33. I was baptised in late 2012, and go to North gate Baptist church. I have had a hard life of death and loss. I was raised in a broken home, had the only parent in my life kill himself. I ran away from a quiet, no interaction home with my grandparents. I had loss issues. love issues. I got into drugs and sleeping around. I thought I had someone to love, I got pregnant, then again another child, I got beat up, gossiped about. a lot happended, years later my sons went to live with their dad, who lied told stories about me to my sons. While my smoked pot and stole cars. The months before my sons living with their dad I wanted to know GOD, what a year and a half. I was homeless, stocked, put in the hospital, I made it thou, then my son eldest. Got sick seizures. The Devil wanted me in every way, My friends missed who I was before, people asked what did God do? He Stayed that is what he did every bad thought tear, he held me, how do I know, because the pain I could have felt wasn't there. I was told about your family in church, stay strong. Remember his Grace is with us, he shield protects us. My son still has seizures. But They my sons now LIVE with me, GODS grace is there, heaven is real. I was scared and attacked while reading your GOOD bye. I said out loud go away Satan. God don't listen to the devil (job) GOOD byes are always hard..I have gone thru a lot of them. BE strong, and honestly when the cards aren't there, remember they are, you have them already. I look at the funeral book of my fathers, and remember he was loved, and loved me, don't be afraid like I was as a teen to talk to someone okay please call some of your friends and ask them If you need to talk ask them if they will listen. Open thous cards again call on Gods people in your need to speak his promise time and time again. it says better to go to a neighbor close then a family far away. Please to any one of this families friends know what that mean to someone in a loss, It means, this family is also hurting and stumble in tears aswell, friends close have the armor on and have a shoulder to lean on and listen to. please someone be ready to say I will take a call at night for them. Also when I had no one I called the prayer line to hear another believer speak the word the promise the love when I was alone. Please get the radio and cds of church music ready it helps- my prayers are with you as the holy spirit tells GOD our sighs and breath out word. My tears are with JESUS and GOD. Bless your daughter with grace. c.g north gate baptist

  34. Sorry My ex stole cars and went to Jail and I got my sons back.

  35. I am sobbing and my heart is wrenching as I absorb the depth of your agonizing loss. I have been reading your story and have spent many night tucking in my baby praying for yours. I am so thankful for your openness and am honored to spend eternity with you and precious Hope.

    You are an inspiration and your humble reliance on The Lord is admirable. I think of the Beatitudes when I pray for you... that you would find comfort in the arms of the Holy Spirit and in the faithful promise fulfilled in Jesus Christ.

    I will continue to pray for you..

    - Tara from Virginia