On October 23, 2010, our precious angel Grace passed away from a rare seizure disorder called Early Myoclonic Epileptic Encephalopathy (EMEE). We hope to share her story and the challenges we face as a family through this blog. So please join us as we set out on Gracie’s Journey.
Back in college, I met Amy, who became my heart sister in the Zeta Tau Alpha Fraternity. Like many of us, we lost touch after graduation, she went on to law school in Chicago and I ended up in grad school in Reno. Luckily, through Facebook, Amy and I were able to connect again a few years ago. She was living in L.A. and working her dream job as a lawyer. I became a speech pathologist and was running a business in Sacramento. Our paths crossed for a brief visit in the Summer 2008.
Then, in 2010 I was so happy to learn that Amy was engaged and later, even more excited to learn that we were both due to have babies that year! We exchanged gifts and chatted about our hopes and dreams for our little ones. She even sent me my first baby picture frame, for our ultrasound of our little growing girl. When Grace was born in July, I shared my labor story with Amy and told her not to fear the epidural!
Amy's precious boy, Jake Ryan was born just two and a half months after Grace. A short month later, we lost our precious Grace and were completely devastated. Many of the weeks after that are distant blurry memories for me as I think the trauma was just too much to bear. In early Dec 2010, even though little Jake was not even two months old, Amy flew out to visit us for a weekend. I can't imagine how difficult it was for her to part with him for those few days, but my sister knew that I needed her. I didn't have to ask, she just knew, and she was by my side when I needed her most. Amy knew in her heart what I needed, and I guess that is the true meaning of a heart sister.
Amy and her fiancé, Mike, postponed their wedding plans to focus on baby Jake for a while. I think everyone who attended their wedding this past weekend would agree that it was worth the wait! It was a beautifully planned wedding with great attention to details that made sure all guests had a great and memorable time. For Brien and I, the best part was seeing Grace's name in their wedding program on a memorial page. Amy wrote some very touching thoughts about our dear girl and how Grace was Jake's angel baby friend.
I don't know why Grace's life had to end shortly after Jake's life began. It doesn't seem right or make any sense at all. I thought that Amy and I would be sharing baby firsts and toddler stories together, but we're not. It helps though to see Jake and how well he is doing, he was a big hit at the wedding and is really developing a unique little personality. Amy told me once a long time ago, when Jake was an infant that he often laughed and smiled in his sleep. She thought he was dreaming of butterflies or playing with Gracie. Today, Amy tells me that she sees some of Gracie's spirit in Jake and believes that they started out as angels together.
Even though Amy and I lost touch for some time, I have no doubt that we will continue to be connected now and in the future. Sharing her special time has helped give me hope for the future, which for Brien and I is not always easy. I am so blessed that through Amy, I have discovered the true meaning of a heart sister!