We will always remember Ellie for her love for others, her creativity, sensitivity, and delight in life! Ellie's light has spread far and wide... may it continue to shine in our hearts.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Happy Birthday, Ellie!

I can hardly believe that today Ellie would be turning 12. It is so hard to imagine sometimes, when in our minds she will be forever 9. But then we look around and see Ellie's friends who are now as tall as I am, and the realization hits that she would be different at this age than what we remember.

Just the other day, John was looking through old documents on his computer and he came across something I wrote about Ellie when she was 5 - long before she was ever sick. The Today Show was doing a contest. They were promoting a Martina McBride song (click on the title of this blog entry to go to the song) and wanted mothers to submit essays on their daughters. I never sent mine in. I guess I figured that in the world of children, no one would find anything terribly remarkable about mine. Everyone thinks that their children are amazing, so I just wrote it up and forgot about it. I never even showed it to John. When John found it all these years later, what struck me was that this was simply my own thoughts on what my sweet Ellie meant to me when there was no cancer looming dark on the horizon... no thoughts of losing her to color my opinions with the rose colored glasses of motherly grief. This is what I wrote:

"As I watched Martina McBride perform 'In My Daughter’s Eyes' on the Today Show, I cried while I thought about my five-year old daughter, Ellie. That was the first time I had heard the song, and I was struck by such a truthful portrayal of a daughter’s love. I have been so blessed by my daughter’s life. I know that I am supposed to be the mom, but Ellie has taught me so much! She is such a loving, imaginative, and articulate little girl. Some days Ellie wants to be a ballerina or a decorator when she grows up, but more often than not, she wants to be a mom just like me. Ellie constantly challenges my view of the world with her perceptiveness and her own unique form of logic. One day she told me that she would help me decorate when I am on TV like all of the decorators that I enjoy watching. (As if it is a foregone conclusion that I will be on TV one day.) When I attempted to explain that the decorators on TV know so much more about decorating than I do, and have much more experience, Ellie’s answer stunned me. She said 'they all had to start somewhere, didn’t they Mom?' Ellie also shows such a depth of love for everyone that she cares about. When I apologize for being grouchy with her, Ellie is quick to say 'It’s o.k., Mom, I love you. You are such a good mommy.' She is also wonderful about coming to me to confess any wrongs on her part. She will show me things that she has done that she could have easily hidden, and she will often come back to me, even a day later and say 'I’m sorry that I didn’t obey you right away when you told me to get ready for bed last night.' Every day I feel so blessed that God gave me the love of such a special little girl, and I realize that while I am trying to teach and guide her, I am actually being taught the most of all."

I found something else that I wrote even longer ago - twelve and a half years, to be exact. I was sorting through boxes of things that had been stored here when we were in Montana, and I came across the baby book that I wrote in when I was pregnant with Ellie. On page after page, I wrote in a way that only an expectant mother can... I poured out my hopes and dreams for the future. One particular page stood out to me above all of the rest...

Thursday, March 19, 1998
"Our fourth anniversary! It's hard to believe that four years have already gone by. On this day, especially, my heart is overflowing. John and I have had the most wonderful four years together and now God has blessed us with a baby. It just seems too good to be true! This evening as I am surrounded by my wonderful family, it seems that God is too good to me. I look around the table and I see loved ones on all sides. I hope that this tiny life growing inside me will inherit wonderful traits from each person - both through genetics and later, through imitation. Surely one heart cannot take so much love. Maybe this new little beating heart will somehow sense it and grow to learn that the more you love, the more love you have to give. If I could have only one wish for this baby, it would be that she would love people with all of her heart!"

As I continued to look through the boxes of things, I started going through pages and pages of Ellie's art work and writings. One of the papers I found in the box was something Ellie wrote. It said "I like to help other pople. I like to rite and to dro. I like to seng songs and make things and deckorate. I love my famillie. The end." The one thing that God chose to bless her with, over and above all of Ellie's special qualities, was an extra big capacity to love. He filled her up to overflowing with the kind of love that I dreamed for her when her own heart was just starting to beat. In the grand scheme of things, Ellie's 9 years were like the blink of an eye, but she spent them wisely. She loved to the fullest.

Today I just miss her. Really I miss her everyday, but today I choose to really focus on all of the quirky, lovable, and crazy things that made her my Ellie girl. She could push my buttons so hard that I wanted to scream, and then turn around in the next breath and love me so sweetly that my heart hurt. She was complicated and lovely and funny and wise. And I REALLY really miss her. Badly. I would give anything to have her here again, rearranging my house and throwing glitter on the floor. Or insisting that we light a candle at the dinner table even when the meal was thrown together on paper plates. Or patiently teaching her little brother how to play a computer game (and then locking him out of her room because he is a pesky little brother, after all). Or snuggling with her daddy on the sofa. Or snuggling with ME on the sofa!

Then I realize that Ellie's reality is not mine. I miss her, but just for me. For Ellie, there is no more pain... no more tears... only joy and love and peace that have no end. So I guess God's birthday present gets to trump mine... again. Drat. I can't compete with that.

18 Comments:

At 5:11 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your post, your hopes and dreams written when you carried Ellie and when she was five years old are ALL incredibly poignant, eloquent and lovingly tender. No rose colored glasses needed when it came to Ellie. She was a gift to everyone who knew and loved her and I thank you for sharing your beautiful child with all of us! Ellie truly had a capacity for love that was a joy to behold. Ellie touched my heart and soul in ways I could never even put into words. Sarah I am crying for you and with you!! I love you all so very much! Happy Birthday Sweet Ellie! xoxo Love and hugs, Kathy

 
At 5:37 AM, Blogger Becky K. said...

Happy Birthday to Ellie and big huge hugs to you!!!!

Becky K.

 
At 9:00 AM, Blogger britta said...

Happy Birthday in Heaven Ellie!!!! You are loved by many, including those who never knew you!

 
At 10:32 AM, Blogger Karlie said...

Sarah,

I can't even begin to comprehend the pain of your loss, but God has given you such a gift for expressing yourself through writing. And reading this post brought tears to my eyes as I walk with you through the reminiscing and then the realization that Ellie is in such a better place.

Happy Birthday, Ellie! I'm sure your celebration with Jesus is just glorious.

God's Peace,
Karlie

 
At 11:22 AM, Blogger Celena Daniels said...

So beautifully said Sarah! The memory that sticks in my head about Ellie was how excited she was to see us on our 1 year anniversary trip. She made a card, painted a rock, and had table decorations that simply showed how much she loved us. And then when we got back from our hike - late as it was, and even though her energy had to be conserved, she ran toward us and gave us the biggest hug! It was so special to Nick and I and I will always remember that! I also loved to watch her with Nick as her eyes would bat and she would follow him around and Nick just soaked it all in. I just sat back and smiled. I still have that rock she made us and will never forget how easy her love poured out for others. I have put it in a place that I see everyday and it truly is a reminder to love like that. We miss her a lot and can't imagine how much of a hole there is for you and John, but know ONE day you will see her again and that just brings hope to us.
We love you and stand beside you today with love and tears in remembering your sweet precious girl who was such a gift to so many!

Celena

 
At 4:26 PM, Blogger Rob and Corrie said...

I never met Ellie personally, but I am remembering her today...and praying for you.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, SWEET GIRL.

"In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, receiving the end of your faith—the salvation of your souls." (I Pt. 1:6-9)

 
At 10:26 PM, Blogger Oregon Criss's said...

Bless you Sarah and your honest perception of the way life rolls sometimes! I loved the last line of your blog- God is just no competion for sure! I know I'm coming 'late' in the day to wish you all my prayers to get thru the day- so instead tonight I pray that all your loved one's 'tomorrows' birthdays can somehow be better than the ones you've endured before and that thru each one you rest peaceably and passionatly knowing that already part of your heart is at home in heaven :) I for one feel so blessed for getting to know you by praying for Ellie.

 
At 3:11 PM, Blogger LindaSueBuhl said...

Our internet was down for several days and I missed this post - oh Sarah - she was the MOST special little girl - her quirkiness, love of so many people and experiences - bless you for sharing this with us and your open heart about Ellie - I thought of the birthday party just before she went to heaven - with Egyptian costumes and theme - she is so living it up in heaven - bet there is extra glitter on order all the time. Love to all of your

 
At 7:33 PM, Blogger Lauren and Hennessey Herrera said...

I don't know if you remember us but we sure remember you guys. I think and pray for you even still. We still talk about Ellie with the kids. She made a big impact on us. Happy Birthday to your sweet Ellie! Lauren, John, and Hennessey and Hayden from Shawnee Drive!

 
At 7:34 PM, Blogger Lauren and Hennessey Herrera said...

I don't know if you remember us but we sure remember you guys. I think and pray for you even still. We still talk about Ellie with the kids. She made a big impact on us. Happy Birthday to your sweet Ellie! Lauren, John, and Hennessey and Hayden from Shawnee Drive!

 
At 11:36 PM, Blogger Joan Anne said...

Happy birthday Ellie! God bless you more.




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At 11:41 PM, Blogger Joan Anne said...

Happy birthday Ellie! God bless you more.




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At 9:57 PM, Anonymous Corner Mystery said...

hello friends ^_^, nice to know u

 
At 5:59 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Happy Belated Birthday to Ellie! It is beautiful to read all the lovely things you have written about Ellie. She is a very special girl that still touches the lives of those here on earth. May God continue to Bless you with little reminders of Ellie. May these reminders give you comfort. Hugs and Prayers, Nancy Martens

 
At 6:41 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

.

 
At 11:39 AM, Blogger Sheila said...

Happy 13th Birthday, Ellie! I still thank Jesus for your life, though I never knew you. :-)

Praying for you all.

Sheila

 
At 7:16 PM, Anonymous Lisa said...

Love that.

 
At 3:11 PM, Anonymous Arish Dhawan said...

happie bdae ellie....

 

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