The short version is that my third daughter, Kristen Elaine, was born May 7, 2009 with a pulmonary sequestration on her right lung. At just over 3 months old, Kristen went in for surgery to have this mass of extra lung tissue removed. An equipment malfunction at the very end of what was otherwise a perfect surgery caused a vein to her heart to tear. Despite efforts of the medical staff to resuscitate her, she passed into the arms of Jesus on August 17, 2009.
Click here to access a static copy of our CaringBridge site. You can maneuver through it and read all the journal and guestbook entries, if you like. There are also a few pictures. You can no longer leave messages on it, however, as it has been deactivated (well, it will be soon, but please leave messages or comments on this blog NOT on the CaringBridge site!). The journal entries themselves (February through November 2009) have been copied over to the home page of this blog, as well. The archives down the right side of the home page will lay out all the entries for you.
A friend of mine wrote the following poem the night that Kristen died. It summarizes Kristen's short time with us so beautifully, and I am grateful to Colleen for sharing it:
by Colleen Newman
Baby Kristen was born in the earliest days of summer
after months of anxiety and fear
to much rejoicing! She was finally here!
The terrible days of worry seemed to fade away quickly
as everyone marveled over such a little miracle.
Kristen was a cherished daughter, a precious grandchild, an adored sister, a child of God.
Every day of the summer brought a new wonder
As her family and friends lavished love on her.
Mama and Daddy and Emily and Grace
know every sigh, every smile, every inch of her skin
They held her hands and her feet, rubbed her tummy and back
Smoothed her soft cheeks and marveled at her tiny ears, tiny chin.
Hours went by looking into Kristen's wise baby-eyes
and telling her how much she was wanted, how much she was loved...
how much she looked like her big sisters!
Summer slipped languidly by as Emily and Grace told her stories
about how long they'd waited for her, and how much they had planned for her.
They dressed her up and posed for pictures
and proudly introduced her to her church family.
Aunts and uncles and cousins and grandmas and grandpas
happily fought for the right to hold her "just a little bit longer."
Mama and Daddy rocked her and held her and
love love loved her.
A small town smiled again and again at our own little miracle,
thanking God for bringing her here.
Then at the end of the summer came the greatest sadness
anyone could ever know.
Kristen had to leave us with the summer
and she is still our little miracle
Mama and Daddy's cherished daughter
Emily and Grace's adored sister
Precious granddaughter and niece and cousin.
God's child is sitting in his lap, secure in His love
and in ours.
We will never forget the days and the joys of Kristen's summer,
the small time she was given to us.
Emily also wrote a poem about her baby sister about six weeks after Kristen's death. It is such a treasure to me...
by Emily Nicole Eckels, age 11
My little baby sister,
Oh, how I miss her
I want to wrap her in my arms
And keep her safe from harm
But she's in Jesus' arms now
Baby Kristen sure knew how
To make an impact on the world.
She fought everything hurled at her,
Her days were filled with laughter
She looked off into space
Maybe she saw God's grace
Lots of her pictures were blurry,
She seemed to be in a hurry,
To do something very important.
She got lots of hugs and kisses,
And love from her big sisses
She got lots of clothes and toys,
Not many were for boys
Mom and Dad loved her,
Friends and family hovered,
To see who would get to hold her next.
And now we miss her so,
I wish she hadn't had to go,
God in heaven above,
Is cradling her in His love
I'm sure we'll always miss her so,
As a matter-of-fact I know
That we'll never have a more special little girl.