Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Ellie's Star

It's hard to believe that four months ago we were at the Children's Museum with two healthy kids. I remember sitting on the floor with Ellie waving colored scarves around her head. I can still picture her sweet smile through the pink scarf, her arms extended upward to try and reach it. She would let us put the scarf over her head and just sit there for a second. Then she'd grab it and pull it down with a huge, goofy grin. That girl loved peek-a-boo. In my mind, it plays back like a movie, one of the last vivid memories I have of our happy, healthy girl.
That morning I was supposed to have a massage. Our lives had been kind of stressful and Dave scheduled a massage for me so I could have a little break. For some reason, I didn't want to go, I didn't want to be away from the kids. Instead, I decided I wanted to go somewhere fun with the kids. I can't tell you how glad I am that I chose the museum with my babies instead of my massage. I would have never forgiven myself for being away from her that last morning for something as stupid as a massage. Looking back, my need to be with Ellie that whole day, was the only sign I had of what was to come. I still can't believe we moved through that entire day, never knowing what was coming...

For the last four(ish) months, I have been piling things into the port-a-crib on our porch. Ellie didn't spend a ton of time in the crib but I would put her in there while I cooked to keep her from throwing all of the toys out of her reach. In the days following Ellie's death, I put some things in the crib so Max couldn't get to it. At first it was things like gifts in memory of Ellie, posters and pictures from the funeral, her guest book, deflated balloons, stuff from her grave site. Over time I added some of her things too, the sweater that sat on the back of the chair in the living room that she wore two days before she got sick, her stocking cap, the blankets from the hospital, her diaper bag.
Last week, I went through everything and put it into storage tubs. It was hard to go through everything, deciding what to do with her things. My heart wants to save everything she ever touched or that was even near her. I want to keep anything that reminds me of her or may someday remind me of her. My mind though, resists the idea of keeping certain things. Funeral programs, funeral folders, the blanket from the hospital that we left covering her. I put these things into the tubs anyways, I know someday I will want them. Maybe it is just so absurd that I have funeral and death mementos instead of a toddler, that my mind can't make sense of it.
As I sorted through the port-a-crib, I looked at the funeral program and folders. The program is the schedule for the service: hymns, scriptures, etc. The folder had Ellie's pictures, some poems, family information and a note from us. It broke my heart to look at those. I can still picture Dave and I sitting in front of the computer, trying to figure out the best way to say good-bye to our baby. There aren't really the right words for this kind of situation.
But while I was looking at the folders, one poem made me smile. And it made me smile because of a gift that we got earlier that day from one of Dave's former co-workers.

When we picked out poems for Ellie's folder and service, we wanted words fitting for a baby. A bright, happy, joyful baby. And when we found this one, we thought it was perfect...

And the gift we received made it that much more fitting...

They had a STAR named after Ellie! It's perfect. The star's new name has been added to the International Star Registry and if we are ever able to figure out this star chart- we will be able to look up in the sky and see her star. This is an amazing gift. To have Ellie's memory preserved in this incredible manner makes me so happy.
A bright star in the dark night's sky is the perfect way to keep Ellie's light shining.


Deanna said...

What a gift! She is a shining star, so bright. I will now look deeper to the sky, watching for your precious Ellie. Thank you for sharing.

Jamie said...

What a wonderful idea! That was a beautiful program. I have done the same with the stockpile of things. {Hugs}

Erin said...

Your daughter is beautiful. Thank you for sharing the picture of the items you carefully saved in her crib. I know it seems so strange looking back to think of how you never expected a tragedy to come... My thoughts are with you.

TanaLee Davis said...

I have a similar experience..TanaLee's memorial program makes me cry every time I look at it...most of all the letter my husband wrote inside it...I feel awful that I couldn't carry to term and save my hubs the tears he shed when she passed after 7 months of life...a condition linked back to her premature birth. For a long time we put keep sakes in plastic bags from the hospital in her crib to keep safe. It has since been cleaned out but it's difficult to go through what I have left of my little girl and the memory that was left behind.

Kelly Jones said...

When I look at the sky tonight, I'll think of Ellie, her shining blue eyes and adorable smile.

I have been reading your blog for a couple of weeks but have not commented because I didn't know the right words. But this morning I decided even my inadequate words are better than silence. Ellie and your family have touched me. What a beautiful little one! I am so sorry for your loss. I just wanted you to know that someone miles and miles away was thinking of Ellie and your family.

Tiffany said...

girl, i know exactly how you feel. my goodness was it so hard to pack up my baby's life (and death) into storage bins. it sickens me that we had to do that. i love Ellie's star. i had been thinking about that, and i think you made the choice much easier. ;)

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