Sunday, May 4, 2008

Tommy's letter to DeLanee

I was so excited when I found out that you were coming into our family. I could not wait to hold you in my arms and feel your soft skin. When we found out that you had several problems we had a very hard decision to make. The doctors wanted us to abort, but even with the problems you had and chances you had to make it we did not abort. You are my daughter and I love you no matter what. I was surprised you made it as long you did. Six months in you mommy’s tummy! Then it was time for us to bring you into the world. When you were born the room lit up. I knew then that Heavenly Father was there. The spirit was so strong. I was so happy when you were born! A proud daddy! I was able to give you a blessing, and that was our first time together. That was so special for me to feel the spirit flow though me and give me the words to say. When they handed you to me I just held you. I knew that our time would be short. All I could think about was “this is my daughter – look how beautiful she is”. You looked so much like your big brother. I know that you would have had thick black hair which is your Daddy’s trademark. Now my arms ache to hold you, and my heart is broken. For the next time we hold each other is when we meet in heaven. I long for that time. To see, hold and kiss you. I try to be strong for your Mommy but sometimes I just cannot help but to let the tears fall. When I think of all the time we were going to have and memories we were going to make. To see you and your big brother play together. You are and will always be my little princess. I know that the pain will never go away, but I will learn to deal with it. I will long to hold you in my arms and watch you grow. I know that you were too perfect to live in this world so Heavenly Father called you home. What gives me comfort is knowing that we will be together again. I love you and always will.

Your Loving Father,


Becky's letter to DeLanee

My Little Angel,

I write this letter with my arms just aching to hold you. You were gone from me so quick that I struggle to remember your face. Those moments you were inside me were so precious and treasured. We were one and I came to know you, my little girl. I felt as if my hand was in God’s as we both worked to develop you tiny body and spirit. You were a little fighter and you stayed with me as long as you could. I think for a moment you had forgotten our Heavenly Father’s mission for you too and wanted to stay as badly as I wanted you to. You tried to stay for me, and even proved so many wrong, but in the end he called you home.

In the short 6 months you were with me, I dreamed of our days together. I dreamed of rocking you for hours as I studied every little feature on your dainty face and every wrinkle creviced in your tiny hands. I dreamed of the pretty pink clothes I would dress you in and then re-dress you just for fun. The pretty hair ribbons and bows you would wear in your thick dark hair would show off the gift from your father. Well, you would just be the envy of every mother. I would have been there for every moment of your life. Your first words – your first steps. As you grew older I would get to share things such as teaching you to throw a softball and riding a horse. I dreamed of us shopping together and giggling over our favorite movies on our “girls night”. And then me being more nervous than you when your first date arrived knocking on the door. I know I’d have to keep your dad in tow on this night. Your first dance, your first boyfriend, your first break-up, your first drive in the car, your first prom, and graduation and college. The day you were married to the love of your life would be one of my happiest. I dreamed of the beautiful woman you would grow into and also the best friend I would gain. We would have many, many years to make memories together.

But my dreams were just that – dreams. In reality I was being forced to give you back. Those dreams seem so far away right now but they are not gone – just tucked away. You and I will do all of this and more and I will wait. As you drifted in and out of my life you stayed long enough to rescue me. You opened my eyes to the truths I’ve always known and deepened my conviction. I will be worthy to have you placed back into my arms that have been aching for so long and I will get to give you all the love I have inside. Thank you DeLanee for showing me the way. Thank you for what you have contributed to our family – without you we may have never known. I know you will always “tug” at my heart as a reminder to me so that I may be worthy of our reunion. DeLanee, you are my treasure laid up in heaven and there my heart lies also. I will come my little angel. I will!

I love you,


Our poem for DeLanee

Two weeks after we had DeLanee and as we were contemplating what to put on her headstone, we felt like a poem would be a good way to honor her and came up with the following:

She came into this world, far more perfect than you and me,
She could not stay long, though her spirit we could see.

Heavenly Father called her home for there was work to be done,
A calling meant for her - not just anyone.

Though her body was small, her spirit was so great,
Heaven needed her now. No, it would not wait.

A daughter of God - a precious angel indeed.
She will help find and teach lost spirits in need.

Though her work is not centered on just heaven alone,
She calls to us each day and beckons us home.

A reminder for us to live faithfully,
so when resurrection day comes, together we'll be.

Our Heavenly Father's plan sometimes brings us sweet sorrow,
Though in his arms today. . .ours tomorrow.

February 16, 2004

The Aftermath

After burying our daughter, we had a road ahead of us that consisted of ups and downs and twists and turns. The days that followed the funeral were the hardest. The first thing that happened was my milk came in. I felt this was such a cruel reminder of what had just happened. I had enjoyed breastfeeding Garrett so much and to know that my milk was available to a baby that would never taste it broke my heart. Although everyone's hugs were so welcomed, as they pressed their body to mine, it hurt me more than just physically. After all the business of planning the funeral and well wishers slowed down the reality of it all set in. I wasn't sure how to go forward when my mind was set to go down a different path than the path I now walked. I tried in many different ways to distract myself from the sorrow and grief that was constantly knocking at my door. I could only sleep if I had successfully drained myself that day to a point of complete exhaustion that I could fall into bed without allowing my thoughts any time to take over. I would often stay up until the late hours of the night and sometimes morning working on a scrapbook for DeLanee. This took me several months to complete which was such a blessing. I was so grateful to have so many pictures to work with. I also was very blessed to have a job at the time that allowed me to bring my son. Before, I had primarily been a stay at home mom. I think if I had not had the opportunity to get out of the house and turn my focus to something else, it would have been much harder. I returned to work within a couple of weeks for this reason.

Although when I did begin to leave the house that meant I now had to learn how to "deal" in public. There are quite a few instances I remember that I handled terribly. On one occasion I ran into an acquaintance in Wal-Mart as I was getting some Valentine's Day candy for Garrett. She had her baby around the same time I had DeLanee. When I saw her little boy I made a comment like "you got your's huh?" That poor woman. I'm sure she didn't even know what to say. Another time my mother picked me up at work to take me to lunch. I couldn't even begin to make it through my sub sandwich without everyone else staring at us and wondering why on earth I was sobbing so hard. I also remember going to the park, the grocery store, or restaraunt and seeing women with a blanket over their shoulder breastfeeding, or, holding their newborns and I'd just want to blurt out everything about my baby and how I'd just lost her to all of them. Answering the question of "how many children do you have" was another detail I had to learn.

These challenges were not met with much support though. During the pregnancy and especially after DeLanee's death, the spirit that was in our home was heightened to a level that I believe will never again be matched. It is impossible to put into words the feeling that resided with us. Whether we were feeling the prayers and love from those around us, ministering angels watching over us, or, both, the spirit was so incredibly strong and carried us through many, many hard days. In fact, I remember when that overwhelming feeling left. It came a couple of months after and it was as if it was saying "you can do this alone now". When I realized this, I wanted to beg and plead with my Father in Heaven to not let it leave. I wasn't ready to do this on my own!

I had a particularly hard day when this happened. I was consumed in the reality of my situation and was literally falling apart. I felt as if I had burdened my close friends, mother and sister enough and that I DID need to learn to handle this on my own. It was then that I said a prayer that something, or, someone would lift the heavy feeling I had that would allow me go on. It wasn’t 10 minutes later that a sister from our ward knocked on my door and stopped by to see how I was doing. She stayed for about an hour and we chatted as our boys played. Her prompting to listen to the spirit saved me that day. I was so thankful that she was in tune with and took time to listen to the spirit. There is a scripture in D&C 84:88 that says: “I will go before your face. I will be on your right hand and on your left, and my Spirit shall be in your hearts, and mine angels round about you, to bear you up.” This sister was my angel that day. It was through her that my Heavenly Father was gently urging me on and telling me "yes, you can do this on your own".

As we were learning to deal with our new circumstances, I noticed the "sweetness" that Tommy and I's relationship began to take on. The weeks and months following her death we were inseperable and we clung to each other. There was but only one person on this earth who knew EXACTLY what each of us were going through and that was each other. There were times that when I was falling apart he would come to my rescue and vice versa. Our marriage had not only adapted but had taken on a sweeter and deeper love because of what we were experiencing. What a blessing this was to us!

It was also during this time that the spirit talked to me several times regarding the passing of our daughter. It was confirmed to me that not only was she happy and doing what she was supposed to be doing, but she was called home to be a missionary to much of our family who had not yet had the opportunity to receive the gospel. Tommy is the first in his family to be baptized and receive the blessings of the temple. Garrett was the first of his posterity to born into the covenant. There is not a doubt in my mind that this is what keeps our DeLanee busy. I also received confirmation that there were many reasons for DeLanee's passing and that we would have the opportunity to learn of them in the years to come.

Day by day and week by week the "normalcy" began to return to our lives. We were so thankful for the blessings that came to us during this particularly hard time - sent to us by our Father in Heaven. Our knowledge of the plan of salvation and the blessings of the temple that we have a forever family and that we'll be reunited again someday is what carried us through then and what continues to carry us through now. We are so grateful for a loving Heavenly Father that created this plan and for his Son that makes this possible.