Friday, December 23, 2011

12 Days of Christmas Continued….

Tomorrow is Christmas Eve, and I hope that this year has been good to you and your family. As promised, here are my other six stories of hope and inspiration of the past year. I feel honored to know all of these people, and they are just a few of many, many others who have helped me end this year with some hope.

Jen- My old grad school buddy, who is a super speech pathologist, mom, and now romance novel author! Jen said that one day she woke up and just said she wanted to write a book. Now, her book, The Marker, was just released at Set in the late 1800’s in Sacramento, this novel is a perfect blend of romance meets history. Check it out at:
Although I had not seen Jen almost ten years, when Gracie passed away, she rushed to our side and attended Gracie’s memorial. From her I have learned that old friends are the best friends, and also that following your dream is easy if you just say what you want to do… and then do it!

Sadie- One day we received email from Sadie, and this email eerily arrived only a few days after Grace’s Angel Day last Oct, a time when things were very difficult. Sadie lived in Massachusetts and had somehow found Gracie’s blog on the web. She was astounded by the similarities of Grace’s story and the story of her own daughter, Eva. Baby Eva was born in August 2010, and diagnosed with EME a few weeks later. Despite all the medical intervention possible, Eva passed away in October 2010. We were just astonished to find that Sadie and her husband were, in essence, going through exactly what Brien and I had gone through at almost the exact same times. Given the rarity of Grace and Eva’s disorder, I have no idea what the odds are that Sadie and I found each other but I thank my lucky stars that we did. From Sadie, I have learned that as mothers, we did everything possible for our angels and will continue to do so for now and forever. I only wished that we didn’t live so far away!

Becky and Steve- I know we’ve written about Becky and Steve before, as well as Keri and Nathan, but their stories have also given me hope and comfort knowing that there are others out there who “know what it’s like.” Becky and Steve lost precious baby Elle to Epidermolysis Bullosa, a rare genetic skin disorder, at the tender age of eleven months. They continue to honor her memory in her blog and also by helping other families with children with this condition. You can read more about her at:

Keri and Nathan- Like Becky and Steve, we met Keri and Nathan last year through a UCD support group for hospice patients. These parents lost their sweet baby Lily last December to a rare form of Leukemia. Keri told me about the bricks at Fairy Tale Town and how they bought one for Lily because it was such a magical place that Lily and her older brother, Jonathan enjoyed so much. When we decided to buy Gracie a brick, Keri made sure to request that all three girls (Lily, Grace, Elle) be put next to each other. She even went down there when they were laying the bricks and brought drinks for the masons to thank them for their hard work and making sure our girls were together. Keri and Nathan also arranged for us all to meet and picnic there once the bricks were put in and gave us each part of the cement made into cute shapes. Keri and Nathan, and Becky and Steve are some of the most thoughtful people I have ever met and they are also making sure that their girls’ memories live on in all that they do.

Joe and Danielle- These two friends had the opportunity to move from Sacramento to Hawaii many years ago and fulfill their dreams of island living. Since then, they also gave birth to a wonderful daughter, Jilee, who is now two years old. Several months ago, she became very ill and was then finally diagnosed with Leukemia. Luckily it’s the kind of Leukemia that is very treatable, however in order to receive treatment, they had to move her to a hospital that is on another island from where they live. Thus, they have now made the Ronald McDonald house their home away from home and have put their lives on hold in order to help their baby heal and be there for her around the clock. Thanks to the help of their amazing friends and family, fundraising has allowed them to focus on Jilee’s heath and all of their efforts have been spent keeping Jilee happy and healthy, no matter what. From them I have learned that it doesn’t matter where you are or what your circumstances, as long as you are together, you are family, and you are loved. I truly believe that love will heal Jilee, and she has plenty of it!

You- I can’t tell you how much that YOU have helped me just by reading our blogs. Knowing that so many people care about us and about keeping Gracie’s memory alive gives me all the hope and inspiration that I need. I can only hope that you will continue to read. Happy Holidays to everyone and I hope you have the merriest of Christmases!

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