This blog is an uncensored look into my soul. I am writing this as part of my healing process, but am leaving it public so others can follow me through my journey.

If you'd like to start from the beginning, click on the beautiful, adorable picture of Hailey on the right hand column.

You can also email me at: haileyshalo@yahoo.com

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Journal Entry: August 30, 2009


Hey My Little Oogy-

Well I'm really starting to miss you more and more each day. Last night I gave Ava a bath for the first time since you passed away...yes she has been getting regular baths!!! Anyways, I almost lost it. I kept picturing your naked little chicken butt climbing into the tub. Looking at your Dora bubble bath just hurt so much. Later that night I was looking at the program from your service and broke down hysterically. I really needed a good cry.

I miss everything about you. I miss your light golden blonde hair and the ratted nest it made. I miss your almond shaped bright blue eyes. I miss your little ears that I never pierced because I couldn't bear the thought of poking one more hole in you and putting you in any extra unnecessary pain. I miss your little button nose and crooked teeth. I miss that gorgeous smile and infectious giggle that came out of your mouth when I tickled you. I miss your little chin and the cute freckle you had just below it. I miss your skinny little arms and your strawberry red hemangioma birthmark. I miss your little belly and g-tube site. I miss your cute little "Mickey" button where we attached your g-tube. I miss your little bum and the two perfect dimples you had right above each cheek. I miss your adorable legs and the scar you had on your knee from when you fell at swimming lessons. (You were so brave that day!) I miss your little feet and those crooked toes that looked just like Daddies! I miss how different you look from your two sisters and how much you look just like your Grandma Pat! I miss hearing your yell, believe it or not, I'm really missing that so much right now. I miss your adorable voice and the way you used to say your words with a German accent. I miss how you were always up for eating, no matter how hard it was for you. I miss how you'd get up in the morning and the first thing you'd say with a huge smile on your face was, "peesh." I miss how proud you were of yourself everytime you did something new or that you thought was difficult. I miss hearing you say, "Mommy, lookgh," as you would proudly walk down the stairs with no hands. I miss seeing you run in our room telling Daddy, "Me beau-ful," when you were all dressed for church. I miss seeing you suck your upper lip whenever you were tired. I miss checking on you and changing your diaper every single night before I went to bed. I miss peeking in the nursery at church and watching you following directions with all the other kids. I miss when you would come meet me in Young Women's after church with the biggest smile ever on your face as you showed me what you made that day in nursery. I miss watching you and Lexi play together as she would dress you and put makeup on you and teach you all she knew. I miss watching how sweet you always were to Ava, giving her hugs and kisses. I miss how excited you were about life and everything that it brought your way. I miss how much you loved swimming lessons and how proud you were of yourself when you would tell me, "Mommy, me no cry!" I miss hearing you yell, "beep," or "lellow bus" everytime we'd drive by a jeep or yellow bus. I miss how you would say, "All done!," when you didn't want to do something anymore, even if we had just begun. I miss how you would say, "Almorsht done," when you were taking forever to eat and I would tell you it was time for a nap. I miss how adorable and proud you were when it was your turn to get your hair cut the day before you died. I miss how brave you were at the doctors even though you'd been through so much pain before. I miss seeing you peek out the window at therapy when I was coming to pick you up and hearing you squeal, "Mommy here," as I'd come around the corner and you'd see me. I miss you at church and how you'd get everyone's attention, always yelling about something. I miss being stopped by people everywhere we went who thought you were absolutely adorable. I miss your hugs and kisses and hearing you tell me you love me. I miss EVERYTHING about you, EVERYTHING.


I still can't believe you're gone. That day started out amazingly. We went to the doctors and you were so good. You were in the best health you'd ever been in...clear lungs and ears! You'd gained weight, tipping the scales at a whopping 25 lbs! I was so proud of you! We stopped at Albertsons and I let you get a bag of chips. You were so excited when you found them and carried them to the register! I made you your favorite lunch of quinoa and broccoli and then put you down for your nap, as usual. We were so excited to go to dinner that night a Daimon's for Grammie's birthday. Then when I went to get you from your nap and saw you laying there in your crib, sprawled out on your back, blue as can be, my world came crashing down around me. I grabbed you, screaming your name, shaking you, doing everything I could to wake you up, knowing deep in my heart it was too late. You were so cold. You were already gone.


Hailey, I know it was your time to go and you chose it and that you have already made an immense difference in the lives of so many, but selfishly I want you back. I want you home with me. I want you home where I can hug you and kiss you and hold you. I love and miss you so much that words cannot describe it. I'm so lonely without you . Our family is not complete without you here.


Even though I tried to be the best mom to you, I know there were times that I failed. I'm so sorry for those times. I'm so sorry for the times that I got frustrated with you or was impatient or yelled at you. I'm so sorry for all the times I took you and your precious life for granted. You were so strong and such a fighter that at times I thought you were invincible. Now I know you weren't, and I would take back every second I didn't spend with you or enjoy you. I never imagined that you would be taken from me, especially at such a young and precious age. You are a miracle child and I am more than honored and grateful that I got to be your mommy. You are so special. You've had such a huge mission here on Earth and changed so many lives in your short 3 years and I know you have a much bigger mission in Heaven.


I am going to trust in my Heavenly Father that He knows what's right and what's best, but please know that I miss you so much and no one will EVER take your place in our family. You will be loved, honored, and remembered as much in 100 years as you are right now. I look forward everyday to when I get to hold you in my arms again.


I love you baby girl. I love you with ALL my heart and soul. You are beautiful.


Love, Mommy

Monday, September 28, 2009

Journal Entry: August 29, 2009

Hey Oogy-

I was just talking to Auntie "Leesha" and she said hi. I'm sitting here at your place and its absolutely beautiful. I think you would really love it here.

First I have to say thank you so much for the last 2 dimes you sent me! You don't even know how much you made my day. I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that you're with us. Yesterday Lexi came to me and said, "Mom, I heard Hailey talk to me." I asked her what she meant and she told me about how she lost a lego piece that went to the ship her and Daddy were putting together. She was thinking about telling Daddy a lie and then she said that she heard your voice in her head tell her not to lie to Daddy, but to tell the truth!" I was shocked when she told me that because I know little kids don't make that stuff up. She doesn't know about the experience I had when I heard you tell me you chose to go to Heaven, so I know she didn't get that "idea" from me. Anyways, I'm sure you probably already know, but she listened to you and told Daddy the truth. Thank you for being there for your sister. Please stay close to her. She really misses you a lot.

I know you're probably busy up there, but I really hope that you stick around here with us too. We miss you so much and take a lot of comfort in feeling your presence and seeing your signs. Even though you're not a little baby anymore, you'll always be my little baby girl.

Yesterday, we went to Grammie & Grampie's house. We jumped off the boat dock and actually swam in the canals! It was so fun. Our little monkey was sitting on the dock representing you. (By the way, I hope you're not offended that we didn't pick a butterfly or cute little animal to represent you, but lets get real here!) Anyways, I swam from their boat all the way to the bridge by their house and back!!! No one thought I could do it and I even beat Grammies and Daddy! You would have loved it and been so proud of me. As I swam back I could just picture you standing on the dock yelling, "Go Mommy!" I also couldn't help but look around at how beautiful it was there and imagine waht it's like where you are. I know you're loving it there and probably wouldn't come back here even if you were able to.

Well baby girl, I'm going to go now. It's ridiculously hot out here! Please keep an eye on your grandmothers and come visit me soon!

I Love You.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

A Sign of the Dimes

Written: August 24, 2009

So I asked Hailey for a sign to know when she was nearby...something special that was just hers. I didn't want butterflies because I see them too often and would always wonder if they were from her or just a coincidence. I also didn't want pennies because we always felt that those were a sign from my grandma letting us know when she was there with us or thinking of us. On the Thursday after Hailey passed away I got out of the car on my street and saw what looked like a penny in the middle of the street. I walked over and picked it up to find that it was actually a rusty dime. (Weird...I didn't really know that dimes rusted, but now I do!) Anyways, I thought that maybe that could be our little sign. I went in the house, put the dime down in the kitchen and didn't think much more of it because of everything else going on.

That Sunday we went to a Catholic mass that was dedicated to Hailey. I had to use the restroom and to get there you have to go outside and walk all the way around the side of the church and into another door. It was quite a little walk, but don't forget it never rains here in Cali! The whole way to the bathroom I talked to Hailey telling her how much I missed her and how much I needed to know that she was here with me and that she was happy. I asked, actually, begged her to send me a dime as a sign that she was with me and heard me. I looked the entire way to the bathroom, in the grass, the bushes, the dirt, on the sidewalk, over the curb, etc. I looked and looked and looked and I begged and begged and begged, but found nothing. Honestly, I was really disappointed. I went into the bathroom, really bummed and discouraged and wondering what the heck was wrong with me thinking that Hailey is seriously listening to me and going to send me a dime.

As I walked out of the bathroom my eyes glanced diagonally to my left, and on the ground, way over in a corner, about 20 feet away was what looked like a penny. I walked over to pick it up and to my shock and excitement it was a DIME! It was stuck down in the pavement so I couldn't pick it up, but I COULDN'T believe it!!! (I'll include a picture when I upload it.) My little girl had heard me and come through for me. She was there and loved me!

Then I thought that I'd get a special piggy bank for all the dimes that I receive from my little angel. I looked everywhere for the original dime that I found the Thursday before in my street, but couldn't find it. I was really bummed about it. Well sure enough, the next day, Monday, I was upstairs sorting out about 10 piles of laundry in my hallway when I heard a weird clinking noise. I looked down and there it was, right in the middle of the carpet - the original dime! The first one I found that Thursday afternoon in the middle of the street!

The following day (Just go with me here...I know I'm jumping around a bit!), a week to the day of Hailey's passing was Lexi's birthday. We have Disneyland passes so all she wanted to do was go to Disneyland. Of course, all I wanted to do was NOT go to Disneyland. I know it's referred to as "The Happiest Place On Earth," but when your 3 year old daughter just suddenly passed away a week before...it's not so happy. However, how could I rob my daughter of her birthday request because I was sad? I didn't want to punish her for my emotions, so I sucked it up and went! It was excruciatingly difficult for me. I had a really hard time keeping it together, so I kept asking Hailey to send me a dime. I told her I really wanted to know that she was with us and happy. All day I talked to her and literally begged her to send me a dime, as I forced excitement and smiles for my other precious daughter. When we were finally getting ready to leave we walked up to the Monorail platform. It's quite high and I was leaning over the rail thinking of the last time we were there and Hailey ran off thinking she was so funny. The monorail honked its horn because it was getting ready to pull away and Hailey literally jumped about 2 feet off the ground. I don't think I ever laughed so hard! Anyways, a little smile escaped my lips and I looked down at the Nemo ride below. All of a sudden I noticed something tiny and silver gleaming in the sunlight. It was soooo far away, that it only looked like the size of the little black dot in your eye (iris?). I took my camera, zoomed in as far as it would allow me, took a picture, and then zoomed in on the picture, but it was still too small to tell. So I begged my wonderful husband to go and ask one of the workers if they would check and see what it was. He obliged and walked all the way down the ramp and explained the situation to the lady (who probably thought we were literally off our rocker). She said no one walked over there, but agreed to go check for us anyways! She had to go through the line, jump over the submarine ride, onto another platform on the other side. And yes, sure enough...it was a dime! I was beyond thrilled!!!

These little miracles are real. Our loved ones are still very much alive and aware of us and they love us. I know my baby girl comes around us and comforts us when we need it. I am so grateful for a God who loves us so much that he's will to give us these little tender mercies.

My original dime!

The dime at Disneyland.
This is zoomed all the way in.
See if you can find it - You can click on the picture for a bigger view.
(hint: It's to the right of the yellow box.)

The little thing I painted to put Hailey's dimes in.
(I wrote "sents" because they aren't pennies "cents," but they are "sent" from Heaven!)

Thursday, September 24, 2009

First Letter to Hailey

Those of you who read my journal entry on Hailey's funeral (which I like to call a "service" instead of a funeral), or for those who were there at her service, you'll probably remember that I wrote letters to Hailey throughout her life. I've done this for all of my girls and still continue to do so. I always thought I was writing them in case something ever happened to me, so they would know how much I love them and how proud I was of them. Never in a trillion years would I have thought one of my children would not grow up to read them. But, since this is the reality, I've found it comforting to continue writing to Hailey when I'm feeling particularly sad or missing her more than I feel I can handle. Some of my journal entries that I share will be the letters I've been writing to Hailey since she passed away. If you're wondering why I often call her, Ooge, it's because that was her nickname. It's pronounced kind of like Scrooge without the "scr." It came from when she a newborn baby in the hospital and Kim and I would go visit her and joke around saying, "Oo ja boo...oo ja boo boo doo!" Anyways, the name just stuck and she actually called herself that for a long time. We would ask her, "HAILEY, what's your name?" And she would reply, "Ooge!" Gosh I love that little girl.

Anyways, here's my next journal entry.

(If you haven't read the talk I gave at her "service," you may want to check it out. It mainly consists of the letters that I had written to her while she was still here with us. You can find it under the entry entitled The Funeral.)

August 24, 2009

Hey Ooge-

Well today has been a rough day. I had a very hard time keeping it together. I cried quite a bit and spent most of the day in bed. I know that's not what you would have wanted me to do, but you have to be patient with me. I feel like the roles have been reversed - like I'm the little child who's struggling and you're the loving mom prodding me along. I'll tell you though, I miss you so, so , so much its unexplainable. I can't even believe this is happening. I've been walking around in a daze all day just wanting to yell at everyone and tell them that you're gone. I'm sure you already know all this, but I feel so much closer and better when I write to you.

So, dimes huh? I guess that's our little sign. I'm still wondering if you sent me all those dimes or if I'm just reaching for anything and everything I can to feel close to you. But as I'm sitting here writing this to you I can hear you whispering in my ear, with a smile on your face, "Yep Mom, I sent them!" And I have to tell you, my girl, that they made all the difference in the world. That one at Disneyland was the biggest miracle of all! I couldn't believe it!!! (I'll explain this more in future entries.) Please Oogy, please keep sending them when I need them. I'm begging you for that. Tomorrow we're going to Disneyland again with some of Daddy's friends, and as you probably already know, I'm not very excited right now. I'm terrified about how I'm going to get through the day there, so I'll be looking for your dime.

Hailey, as much as it devastates me to have you gone, I know you made the right choice and that gives me so much peace and comfort. I am so proud of you. It's funny how you continue to make me proud even when you're not physically here. I can't wait to sit back and watch all the miracles you work from over there! I couldn't be more honored to be your mommy.

There are a few things I am still very unsettled and concerned about:

One is when you passed away...I want to know exactly what happened. Did you suffer? Were you asleep? How long were you gone before I found you? The image of you when I walked into your room and the events leading up to it continue to haunt me like nothing I can explain. I just really need some kind of answer about that.

Two is when are you going to come visit me? That's more of a hypothetical question because I've been praying about it a lot and already received the answer of, "In due time," but come on, you've lived with me for 3 years and therefore know that I'm not the most patient human being of all! :) Oh, and please come visit me in a dream. I know you like shock value, but seriously if I see you standing in the living room or my bedroom, I'll probably be there to visit you quicker than I thought!!!

Three is what do we do about this huge gap in our family here? I hate to call it a hole, because you still fill that spot and NO ONE will ever take your place or fill that hole for you, but it's just so uncomfortable. What do we write on our Christmas card? Can we still write your name? I couldn't imagine not, since our family still and always will include you. And what about family photos? They will NEVER be complete without you. A family picture without you physically in it is NOT a family picture. That is not our complete family! So how do we handle that?

Hailey, I miss you and I'm hurting more than any words could ever begin to describe or explain. And just because you chose to go doesn't mean that I'm not a little mad at you. So I need you here with me in spirit as much as you can be. I need dimes and little whispers as often as possible. Just as I'll NEVER, EVER forget you, please baby, don't forget me either. I'm already waiting for the day when I can hold you again.

I Love You.

Since writing this journal entry, I've found an answer as to what I should do for family pictures and events. One of the dear mothers I met at the cemetery when I was visiting told me of a friend of hers who used her son's favorite bear in every family picture to represent him. So, that's what I did!!! Hailey didn't really have a favorite stuffed animal or doll, but she LOVED to make monkey sounds, so I found the cutest little monkey online. It's really small and has magnets in it's hands and feet. Now I take it with me anywhere that I would have normally taken Hailey. It has magnets to cling onto a stroller, is small enough to fit in my purse, and still big enough to be seen in pictures. Plus, I still have children small enough that it looks like theirs when I'm carrying it around!!! Of course, it will never make our family feel fully complete, but we're doing the best we can to honor Hailey and keep her a part of our family here on Earth while she's away. Make sure to look for her in any future pictures I post. When you see her send me a message!!!

Here she is!!!

(I'm currently working on getting her a dress and bow so she looks a little more feminine!)

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

My Journal

Well now that I have basically told the whole story of Hailey's passing and my beliefs about it, I feel it's time to start sharing what I've written in my daily journal. Again, as I have said before, I am a very open and honest person, living my life like an open book. However, there are definitely some things regarding the experience of my daughter's passing that are even too personal or sacred for me to share. So I will share as much as I feel comfortable and appropriate from my journal. Please keep in mind that as I wrote these journal entries I hadn't thought of starting a blog yet, so they may be a little choppy to read, but that's what was coming out of my mind at that particular moment. I hope this will give you a glimpse into my soul and help you understand where I am in this journey and why I feel and/or believe the way I do.

So here goes:

My first journal entry: August 22, 2009

I'm not exactly sure why I'm writing here in a journal because I don't write in journals like this, but for some reason I had the impression that I need to write my feelings and experiences down to possibly pass on to someone else one day.

Right now I'm sitting here at the cemetery, which we now call, "Hailey's Place," and I am at complete peace. It's absolutely gorgeous here. Hailey is resting on a small hill, under a beautiful tree, among all the other small children who have been called home so early in their lives. The sun is out. There's a gentle breeze. The birds are chirping (and cawing). Pinwheels are twirling rainbow colors. Wind chimes are jingling soft melodies. As Hailey would say, "It's a beau-ful day!"

The experience of losing a child is one that I think every parent fears more than anything else in life, yet way deep down inside also believes that it will never happen to them. I also think that every parent has said, at one time or another, that if anything ever happened to one of their children they would never be able to go on living. I was both of those parents and I was wrong on both accounts.
Here I sit at my baby girl's resting place and think, "Oh my gosh, it happened to me." Here I also sit still living, breathing, functioning, and even laughing at times. I'm surviving. There have been so many miraculous experiences that have come out of Hailey's passing and as we've been promised in several blessings, there are many more to come!

Hailey has touched so many lives already that it's unbelievable! There were over 800 people at her service and we've raised over $10,000 (now up to $16,000 since I originally wrote this!) already for the Hailey Mayz Foundation! I cannot wait to start helping people with all that money. It's going to be awesome!!!

I now know, without a shadow of a doubt, that Hailey chose to leave and go to Heaven. When we told Lexi about Hailey's passing, I was unsure of what to say. Sean and I knelt down and prayed that Heavenly Father would guide us as to how to explain to a 6 year old little girl that her sister had died. When I started to tell her, it was as if I wasn't even the one speaking. I told her that while Hailey was sleeping Jesus came to her and asked her if she'd be willing to go and help Him up in Heaven with all the little kids. Of course, Hailey said yes because she knew that we all had each other here and would be okay. After our talk, I felt very comfortable with what I had said and was quite proud of myself for the way that I had explained it. This is not one of those talks, like the birds and the bees, that you play out in your mind over and over again.

Anyways, a few nights later when I was talking to my mother-in-law, I'll never forget an experience I had. Trying to explain it is like trying to explain exactly how child birth feels to a man...pretty much impossible, so please bear with me and try to imagine what I'm describing. I was standing in my kitchen at about 2:00 in the morning after talking with my mother-in-law for several hours...she's very uplifting. The spirit was very strong there and all of a sudden I heard in my own head Hailey say to me, "Mommy, it's okay. What you told Lexi was correct. I did have the opportunity to stay here on the earth if I wanted to. I was given the choice to cough up that food and survive, but I, myself, chose to leave. I wanted to go and I knew that I could make a much bigger difference there than I could here on Earth." This was an experience that I have NEVER had before in my entire lifetime. It really stunned me. The impression was amazing and gave me such comfort. (That was after I went upstairs and processed it a little...or maybe a lot!) It was TRUE, 100% TRUE...she had made that choice. That makes sense now because she had coughed up food countless times and knew exactly how to do it. Now I can't say that I wouldn't kick her dimply little butt for making that choice if I could, but my foot would just go right through it anyways, because I miss her like crazy, however I can say that I am so proud of her. I know that she made the right choice...not for me personally, but for her. I don't think I could have done that.
Hailey's dimply butt!
I don't believe that everyone is given the choice to stay here or go on when that moment arises, however I do believe and know that Hailey was given that choice and I love her even more for being wiling to make that sacrifice (Although, I'm sure for her it wasn't much of a sacrifice at all.) to change so many lives.

I love her sooooooo much.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The Funeral

Hailey's Funeral Program: Click Here

We all lined up in the hallway of the church and Hailey was wheeled out in front of us. Her "bed" was closed and at that moment it hit me that my baby girl really had died. We were really having a funeral for her. This really happened to me. Well, I lost it, to say the least. The tears just started streaming, then flowing, then pouring, uncontrollably.

I walked next to Sean and clutched the outfit Hailey had on the day she passed away. We entered through a side door in the front of the chapel. I tried to look out over the crowd, but really couldn't see much through my tears. I was trying so hard to be strong and not break down into hysterical sobs, but there was no way I could control the tears.

We slid down to the middle of the front row and I just sat back in my seat, feeling like this was all a dream. I couldn't take my eyes off Hailey's "bed." I was just waiting for the lid to pop open and Hailey to jump out with a huge smile on her face. Unfortunately, that didn't happen.

I honestly don't even remember the order of things or exactly what was going on half the time because I was literally in my own world. It was beyond surreal. My thoughts were jumbled and chaotic. This is the best recap I can give...we had an opening prayer and then Sean's father got up to speak. His talk was beautiful.

Dan's Talk: Click Here

The next thing I remember is EmmaJane, my visiting teacher from church and good friend, getting up to sing. I cannot even put into words the beauty of her voice and the song she sang. All I remember is hearing Hailey's name in the song and just losing it emotionally. The waterworks came on again, full blast. I will also try to get the words to the song.

After her singing, my sister got up and spoke. She did a great job (probably because she stole those Tums from Hailey!). Lexi walked up with her and stood by her side the entire time. I was shocked that she did that, but had to laugh when she corrected Kim on one of her statements about Hailey. Honestly, I don't even remember the comment or the correction, but it was Lexi being honest about Hailey's "not always perfect" behavior!!! Kim's talk was very light and had many funny memories, which gave us a brief break in our grief.

Kim's Talk: Click Here

There was another beautiful song in there somewhere, sung by the young women I teach at church. I was so honored that these young girls were willing to take their Saturday afternoon and be there to support me. They loved Hailey and Hailey loved them. Every Sunday after church, Hailey would run up to show the girls what she had made that day in nursery...that's going to be missed greatly. But, it was such an honor to hear these beautiful young women sing.

Next, it was time for Sean and I to go up. I heard from many people how shocked they were that Sean and I were willing and able to get up and speak at our own daughter's funeral. I see it as more of an honor. How could I not? This was my baby girl. I had to let everyone know who she was to me, how amazing she was, and what her life meant. I also wanted everyone to hear my testimony of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the miracle of hope and peace that it brings with it. I am not a preachy person at all, but this was important. This was what was going to save my family and I from this great loss and keep us moving forward. So here I was. It was the weirdest thing because I wasn't nervous at all, believe it or not, I was actually excited to speak. If Hailey was there with us in spirit, I wanted her to see her mommy up there telling the world how much I loved her and how her passing away would never be in vain. I wanted my baby girl to be proud of me, her mommy.

As I looked out over the audience, I was literally stunned by the number of people there. (About 800)! Yes, that's right...800. I could not believe the impact my baby girl...MY baby girl...had on so many lives. Wow! There's not much else to say here, except to attach my talk for those of you who were unable to make it or who would like to read it again. (Sean's talk was written more in shorthand, so I won't be posting it. Unless he decides to translate. He did a wonderful job though!)

My Talk: Click Here

After some final thoughts from our Bishop, a closing song, and prayer, it was time to take my baby girl to her official place of rest. The pallbearers walked out of the row and picked up her "bed." I have to say that I was so proud of my dad for being able to carry his granddaughter. She was everything to him and I know it took all his strength to be able to do that for me. I was honored to have each of those wonderful, upstanding men carrying my daughter in her little "bed" to her beautiful resting place. They were each chosen, individually, for the importance they hold in our lives and our family. So I'd like to say a special thank you to each one of them.


When we were getting ready to leave the church I was surrounded by family, friends, friends of friends, old co-workers, old high school friends, parents of Lexi's friends, etc., etc. I'm not going to name any particular names, in order to respect everyone's privacy, but I want each and every one of you...those who I personally saw and spoke to, and also, those who came and slipped out unnoticed how honored and grateful I am that you were there to support not only myself, but my husband, daughters, parents, sister, in-laws, and so on. Each one of you made a difference by being there and those of you who were unable to attend, we know that if there was any way you could have been there you would have. So I thank you as well, for the cards, thoughts, prayers, flowers, calls, etc. Never did I ever imagine how loved we were. We saw people we haven't seen in years there to support us and heard from people we didn't even know personally. Literally, each one of you made a difference to us. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you.

Upon arriving at the cemetery, which we now refer to as "Hailey's Place," I saw her little bed there with the beautiful flowers laying on top and was again overcome with grief. Although I truly believe that she chose to go, it doesn't always make it easy to accept.


We gathered around and Sean's Uncle Charlie (Sean's mother's brother) dedicated the grave for us. It was so beautiful and peaceful there and I could really feel the spirit. After the dedication, three of my dear friends lead a balloon release in Hailey's honor. (The balloons were biodegradable for all you "green" folks!) Kelli, Wendy, & Alicia had balloons made with Hailey's picture on them and the caption, "It's a beautiful day." The balloons were yellow for the family (Hailey's favorite color) and white for everyone else. They played the song from Peter Pan, "You Can Fly," and when it says, "Off to Neverland," we all released our balloons!!! It was so awesome!!! I received countless compliments on that release. Thank you girls. I love you.





We decided not to stay for the lowering of Hailey's "bed." That was a memory I knew I couldn't handle. I have to say though, as I end this entry that I feel good saying that the funeral and burial of my beautiful 3-year old daughter turned out to be one of the most beautiful events I've ever experienced. It's definitely one that I would have NEVER chosen to experience, no matter how many lives were touched, but since I had no choice in the matter, I am so happy that it wasn't depressing and hopeless, but instead, as Hailey would have said, "It was a beau-ful day."

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Before The Funeral

Most of that day is quite a blur, so I’ll try to remember as much as possible. The first thing I remember is running out of my house to get in the limo carrying a 2-liter bottle of Diet Coke and a cup filled with ice. I’ll admit, I’m a Diet Coke addict and I had no cans left…this was not a day to go without.

When we walked into the church, I had no idea what to expect. Even if I did expect something, what I saw would have greatly exceeded those expectations! Some of the amazing women I go to church with had taken pictures off my blog and created the most stunning display as a tribute to Hailey. It was absolutely gorgeous. There was a video tribute playing (I am working on adding that to the blog), tons of photos blown up and framed in beautiful frames, flowers, and even a bag of the famous, Lay’s Potato Chips. On each flower vase was a word, taken directly from my blog, describing Hailey. I was awestruck.

Then the tears started to flow. I was so honored that she was MY daughter…that my Father in Heaven trusted me to raise her and love her. Looking at Hailey’s bright, beautiful face and her huge smile just took my breath away and I ached once again to hold her, but I knew that as happy as she was in those pictures, she was even happier now.

We walked into the room where the viewing would be and I practically ran up to Hailey. She looked just as beautiful and peaceful as she did the day before. She even had a little smirk on her face…that’s so her. (And I’m not the only one who noticed it!) The viewing was beautiful. We couldn’t believe how many people had taken the time to be there with us to celebrate Hailey’s life. And hers was definitely a life worth much celebrating. As I hugged people and watched everyone coming in, you could feel the peace and joy in that room. Not joy that Hailey was gone of course, but joy that they got to be a part of her life even if only a small part.

Once everyone had gone into the chapel, we decided to bring Lexi in to see her little sister for the first time since she passed away.

On a side note…I wrestled a lot with the decision of whether or not to allow Lexi to see Hailey, but as I prayed about it and discussed it with Lexi, I felt that it was the right thing to do. I told her that it was her decision if she wanted to see Hailey or not and either way would be completely okay. When we went to the first viewing for just our family the day before, I had Lexi stay at a friend’s house. I wasn’t sure how we would all deal with it and didn’t want her to be traumatized or see her sister’s death as a devastating thing. Part of me wishes I had taken her that day, after that amazing experience we had there. I took pictures of Hailey in her "bed." That may sound very weird to some of you, but she looked beautiful and I knew that one day I may want those pictures to look back on. So when we got home Lexi asked me if she could see them. We went upstairs alone and I showed her the pictures I had taken. I figured I would use her reaction to help me decide whether or not to let her see Hailey the day of the funeral. She looked at the first picture and said, “Mom, Hailey looks beautiful…just like she’s sleeping.” It was then that I knew it was okay for her to personally say goodbye to her sister.

On another side note…I was going to put some pictures that I took of Hailey on this blog because she did look so beautiful and peaceful, however after much thought and prayer, I felt that they were too sacred to share in such a public forum. Plus, there are many who may be uncomfortable with such images and I felt it better to have her remembered alive and full of life.

Back to the viewing…As Lexi walked into the room, I thought I was going to fall apart. She walked in looking terrified as to what to expect. I walked over to her, took her in my arms and asked her if she was sure she wanted to see Hailey. She said yes, so Sean and I walked her over.

The look of love on Lexi’s face was indescribable. She reached her hand out and picked up Hailey’s cold little fingers, put them to her mouth and kissed them. It was such a pure, sweet moment. It took every bit of my strength not to fall apart. Then she took Hailey’s baby blanket out of my hands (I had been carrying it for days and planned on keeping it forever.) and placed it over Hailey’s body, tucking her in. I could no longer stop my tears. I gave her a big hug and told her how warm Hailey would be now. She told her sister she loved her and to have fun in Heaven.

We then took some family pictures, just for our personal viewing and put all of our little mementos in Hailey’s bed with her. Our dear friend Nancy gave us these little ceramic hearts with another small heart cut out of the middle. We wrote on them with a marker, put one half with Hailey and kept the other half with us. Her "bed" really was full. By the time we all put our special mementos in there, you could barely see Hailey’s little body! It was actually kind of funny. I put a thing of Tums in there because every morning Hailey would go into my drawer and ask me for one. (If she only knew I needed them because of her!!!) Well, after putting them in there, Kim was telling us that her stomach was really sick and upset, so out came the Tums…Kim took a couple…and back in they went. I could totally hear Hailey, “No Auntie Bim…those my Tums!!!”

Everyone said their goodbyes and left the room so Sean and I could have one last moment with our baby girl. Was this really the last time I would see her? How in the world was I going to let them close her little bed? How was I seriously going to say goodbye? I think the only way I was able to get through that was knowing that her little bed will once again open wide, she will jump out, yelling, “ME HERE!,” and I’ll hold her in my arms…all on that beautiful day when Christ comes again!

***A very special thanks to Sean's cousin, Sheli, for the gorgeous pictures she took during this very sensitive and emotional time. She did an amazing job of capturing the services for Hailey in a beautiful, dignified way. We will cherish these and the rest of the photos she took for our entire lifetime.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

The Viewing

So the time had come to go and see my baby girl. It was very bittersweet. I was craving with every ounce of my being to see Hailey again, but I was also struggling with knowing that I wouldn't be able to pick her up and hold her in my arms. How was I going to restrain myself from that?

When we arrived at the mortuary (I hate that word), we had to wait a few minutes before we could go in and see Hailey. I was starting to get really nervous and anxious. I finally had to step away and sit down on a chair in the hallway. I kept telling myself I could do this. I was shaking and nauseated. I just wanted to curl up in a ball and pretend life wasn't going on around me. My mom came up to me and hugged me and told me that Hailey looked absolutely beautiful. She warned me about her hair...but at that moment she could have had a mohawk and I would have been okay with it. Nothing really mattered, but seeing my little girl.

On a side note...
I originally wanted to go and dress her, but was advised against it due to the intense emotions that it might bring. I was struggling with the decision and wondering if I would regret not being the one to dress her, after all, I only had one chance. I went upstairs to pray about it and as soon as I finished, Sean walked into the room and asked me to really consider allowing someone else to dress her. He said he would support me either way, but really felt that I shouldn't do it. Well, those of you who know Sean, know that he is very easy going and usually lets me do what I want (smart guy!). So when I saw the honest concern in his eyes, I felt like that was the answer to my prayer and I needed to allow someone else to dress her. My mom came to me and asked me if I would like her and Pat to do it. Wow...What an honor! If I wasn't going to be the one to dress Hailey, who better than her two grandmothers? Who else loved her as much as her parents? I actually felt somewhat excited about it.

I decided to give up even more control (so not me) and allow Lexi to pick out the outfit Hailey would wear. She was so excited to be given that responsibility. The first thing she said was, "Her Lay's potato chips shirt!" Okay, so I was thinking more along the lines of a pretty dress, but Hailey did LOVE that shirt. Our neighbor Matt made it for her on her birthday and she wanted to wear it every second of every day. Hailey really wasn't a girly girl anyways, and I knew if she could pick out her own outfit, she would have picked that same darn shirt. When my mom and Pat were leaving to dress her I couldn't help but cry and hug them and ask them to make her beau'ful for me. They even put her hair in little pigtails and painted her nails (she loved having her nails painted!).

Little did I know how necessary this process was for them too. That experience gave them a bond unlike any other. Two grandmothers together, dressing their beautiful baby granddaughter...It was a very sacred experience with a few miracles intertwined, the details of which I will leave out, due to their own privacy. But one thing I will say is that they knew Hailey was right there in the room with them the whole time.

Okay, now back to the viewing. After sitting down for a few minutes I had to be alone and talk to Hailey. I got up and walked into the bathroom. While in there I felt like I needed to ask Hailey to help me here. This is roughly what I remember saying, "Hey baby girl. I miss you so much and am dying inside right now. I'm supposed to go see you in a few minutes and I'm not so sure I have the strength to do it. I NEED to know that you are okay and here with me. Please, I am begging you to help me through this." After this, I walked out and the next thing I knew Sean and I were being ushered into the room.

As I walked in I could see her "bed" laying open to my left. I could see her little pigtail sticking out and at that moment my knees started to buckle. I didn't think I could take another step. Sean held onto me and we slowly walked toward her. This is when the miracle happened. As I looked up at her, I thought I was going to literally fall apart, but instead when my eyes fell upon her precious little face, the strongest feeling of peace I have EVER had came over me. It was something that I literally cannot explain in words. I knew she was right there with me, holding me up. I looked at her and instead of tears, I broke out into a huge smile. Hailey was happy! She was there! She had heard me! I now knew first hand, what the Holy Ghost can do to comfort and bring peace to a troubled soul. I now knew first hand, why He is often called the Comforter. I was comforted. I felt more at peace than I had ever before. It was a literal miracle right before my eyes. As Sean and I stood there and looked at our baby girl there was a bonding experience like none other. The three of us were there together in that roon, knowing that we were one for eternity.

As the rest of my family walked in, not sure of what emotional state Sean and I were in, you could see their faces relax as soon as they felt the peace and comfort that filled that room. Although there were some tears shed that day, what was supposed to be a devastating experience, one of sadness and questions of why, instead turned into a miraculous, uplifting event full of peace. The Lord had come through for us. Our faith once again lifted us up and carried us when we needed it. For those of you who have never read the poem Footprints in the Sand, please read it. It was always my favorite poem, but I never knew it would describe my experience so perfectly.

We left the viewing that day with a peace, comfort, and even joy unlike any other. I can't say we were necessarily happy with the situation, however in a situation such as this, we could not have asked for a better experience. I know Hailey was there and was so proud of us!

Monday, September 7, 2009

The Next Few Days

The next few days were a complete blur. Family and friends flew in from all around the country. There were people at my house continually, bringing dinners, flowers, gifts, love, and support. In some ways it was very helpful, but in others it made it hard for me to grieve. I grieve and cry much better when I'm alone. Many times I would disappear into Hailey's old room and just lay on the floor clutching the clothes she had on the day before. I don't think I put her clothes down for 2 weeks. I would sob hysterically. My emotions and grief were out of control. I literally didn't think my body could take the pain from such a great loss. Then, just as I thought I couldn't go on any longer, someone would come find me and offer me some peace.

A good support network is one of the most important things you can have in a trial such as this. My family, friends, and church family went way above and beyond the call of duty. God has a lot of blessings to start pouring out on these people!! I personally believe the most important thing to have is a knowledge of who our Heavenly Father is, how much He truly loves us, and what His eternal plan is. Knowing that I would see Hailey again one day and that she is happier there than here was really all I needed to help me keep moving forward. Secondly, after having a knowledge of this, you need to firmly believe it and have faith in it. This is literally what has kept me going. Knowing that my daughter is safe and happy, in paradise, with other family that have gone on before her, and with our Father in Heaven, has brought me more peace than I can even explain. She will deal with no more pain, sickness, gagging, etc! She is free of all that! What a blessing for her. I have a strong suspicion that what we see as a tragedy, she sees as a miraculous blessing.

A couple days later we went to the mortuary to pick out Hailey's bed (casket). We decided to call it a bed instead of a casket. Although this was a heart wrenching experience, my family was once again there for me. Believe it or not, we even found ourselves laughing. As we sat and talked about what we wanted to leave in her bed with her, we were laughing that by the time we were done putting stuff in there someone would have to sit on it like an overstuffed suitcase to get it to close. Also, someone in my family (I'll keep nameless) wanted to get into the "beds" and try them out to be sure they were comfortable.

Next we went to pick out a plot at the cemetery. I literally felt like I was walking outside of my body. I have driven through that cemetery many, many times before. A family who lives nearby here lost all 3 of their children (ages 5, 4,and 2) in a car accident a couple years back. I mourned and cried for them many times and every time I would pass by the cemetery, I would cut through there and visit them. Now, here I was bringing my own daughter here. When we pulled up there were two girls there about my age sitting on a blanket next to one of the stones. After picking out the perfect spot for Hailey...in the children's section, right underneath a beau'ful tree, we started talking to the two girls there. They had both lost children and met there while visiting. Now they go together every Thursday. I could tell that they had lost children just by the way they talked about Hailey. They seemed to remember everything I said about her and would then use her name and the little things I told them about her when they would talk to me. It was comforting to know that they recognized that my daughter is not just a little girl that died, but she was a person, loved with all her heart...Hailey and her life mattered.

Luckily, amidst the fog that I was walking through, I didn't have to do much else but grieve. People were at my house cooking, taking care of my other girls, cleaning, helping with the funeral plans, running errands, doing my laundry, etc. I don't know what I would have done without all those of you who helped me out. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Once everything was planned we had to wait a day before we were able to go see Hailey for the first time since all this happened. I was so nervous, yet so excited to see my baby girl again. It was almost as if I was going to pick her up from being at Grammy and Grampies for the weekend to bring her home again. It sounds weird to have excitement for a viewing, but I just wanted to see her again so bad. I craved to see her little face and body and be in the same room as her.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

That Fateful Day

August 11, 2009 ... That day started out like any other...actually better in a lot of ways. It was my mom's birthday and we were all going to one of our favorite restaurants for dinner that night. Lexi had spent the night at a friend's house so it was just me, Hailey, and Ava that morning. I had made a doctor's appointment for Hailey to get a checkup before we left on vacation a couple days later. The doctor said her ears were perfect (she had chronic ear infections), her lungs sounded clearer than they ever had before, and she had even gained 4 lbs!!! She was up to a whopping 25lbs! I was so proud of her and planned on posting her weight gain on my Facebook status. I remember so clearly how she was so proud that she was able to reach the elevator buttons so she could push them. And when she was done with her appointment she picked out 2 stickers, one for her and one for Lexi.

After leaving the doctor's we stopped at Albertsons so I could get a couple things and she made her famous request, "Mommy, me get lellow peesh." At first I almost said no, but then I thought, "She was so good at the doctor's so why not." Wow...am I glad I said yes. Hailey was so excited and ran up and down each aisle looking for her chips. When she found them she yelled, "Mommy, look, me found them, me found them...right there!" She grabbed the package of the mini bags of chips and with a huge smile on her face, proudly carried them to the register. As we walked out of the store, her chips in her hands, I clearly remember telling her to hold my hand in the parking lot because I didn't want her to get hit by a car. That image flashed in my head as I thought for a split second of what I would ever do if something happened to one of my children. Little did I know.

As we drove home she watched Strawberry Shortcake in the car and munched on her little bag of chips. I remember looking back at her and she just looked back at me with this little smile. It was a beau'ful day.

When we got home I made Hailey lunch. It was one of her favorite meals, quinoa with butter and broccoli. (Quinoa is pronounced Keen-wa and is a grain...it kind of reminds me of oatmeal.) Anyways, as she sat at her little table and ate, I laid on the couch because I wasn't feeling that great and was exhausted. She turned around and looked at me and said, "Mommy, why you tired?" Then she walked over to me, kissed her hand, and put it on my forehead. Of course, I was warmed to my soul and I told her thank you and that she made me feel all better.

After she finished eating, I picked her up and told her it was time for "nigh, nights," and as soon as she woke up we would pick up Lexi and go to Grammies house. She was so excited. Before taking her upstairs she said, "Mommy, wait, me give Ava hugs and kisses." I put her down and she ran over and wrapped her arms around Ava and gave her a big kiss on her face. It's as if she knew what was about to happen and wanted to make sure to say goodbye to her baby sister.

I carried her upstairs and as I reached the top of the stairs I asked her for a kiss. She looked right into my eyes with a big smile and gave me the cutest little kiss right on my lips. All was good. As I laid her down, the last thing she said to me was, "No nigh, nights." That last statement literally rips me apart. What I wouldn't do to be able to go back, turn around and say, "Sure baby girl...I'll let you stay up this time." As I walked out of her room, I said, "You have to go nigh, nights, so we can go see Grammies for her birthday. I love you!" That was the last time I heard my baby girl's voice, looked into her big blue eyes, felt her warm skin against mine, saw her radiant smile, or felt genuinely happy.

I went and laid down for about an hour and when I woke up I started getting ready to go to my parents' house. I got Ava up, fed her, dressed her, then made a few phone calls, all the while having absolutely no idea what was to unravel. When I was all done, I realized Hailey had been sleeping for over 2 hours and so I decided to go check on her. I knew she was super tired after going to bed the night before 2 hours later than normal. (She was at the pool that night with her Daddy having a BLAST!) I went and got her clothes ready and then opened the door, not prepared for how my life, as I knew it, was about to end.

Wow, I can't believe I'm actually writing this...

I walked into her room, fully expecting to see her sitting up in her crib with that big smile on her face. Instead, I noticed she was laying on her back with her hands and feet spread out, her head at the foot of her crib. Her eyes were half open, her mouth was open, and she was bluer than words can explain. I dropped her clothes, ran to her crib, grabbed her in my arms, and started screaming her name. "Hailey, Hailey, WAKE UP, COME ON BABY, WAKE UP." She was so cold, freezing. I ran into my room and laid her on my bed, all the while saying, "Oh my gosh, oh my gosh..." I grabbed the phone and immediately dialed 911. I screamed at the lady, telling her that my daughter wasn't breathing, and she was blue, and so cold... "It's too late," I sobbed, "It's too late." I then moved her to the top of my stairs so I could see when the paramedics arrived. I was literally holding her by one leg, upside down, hitting her on the back, screaming at her to wake up. Deep down inside, I already knew. I was shaking like never before. The lady on the phone told me to start CPR, but when I breathed into her mouth bubbles came out of her nose...nothing made it into her lungs. I then grabbed my cell phone and called Sean while still talking the operator. I just kept yelling that she's gone...it was too late.

When the paramedics got there it took all I had to stand up and leave her side to get the door. They came running in so fast and started working on her. It was then that I called my mom, on her birthday, to tell her what was happening. After several minutes, the paramedic ran down the stairs holding her in his arms. Her head was cradled in his arms and her arms were flailing by her side. I don't even remember them leaving for the hospital with her because I was too busy screaming at the top of my lungs and sobbing harder than I ever thought possible.

Sean pulled up and I ran out into the driveway. There I saw all my neighbors standing around just watching this unfold. I ran over to Sean and started screaming. He kept asking me what happened, but I don't think my speech was coherent enough to understand. One of the policemen who was there offered to drive us to the hospital since neither of us was capable of driving at that time.

The whole way to the hospital I sobbed hysterically. All I kept saying was, "Sean, you should have seen her. You should have seen her. I think it was too late." I knew I was in serious denial because I kept picturing myself on Oprah in a year or so talking about Hailey and how she was unconscious for an hour, but they managed to revive her and she turned out totally fine. I would tell everyone how the impossible became possible and how they should never give up on anything. Then Oprah would introduce her and say, "Hailey, come on out." The crowd would stand up and cheer and Sean and I would be so proud of her as she walked across the stage with her big blue eyes sparkling and her infectious smile radiating throughout. She was always so strong and such a fighter, so why not this time, right? Plus, I have always believed in miracles. Unfortunately, that thought was just a way for me to cope with the complete and utter shock I was in. (I do however, still believe in miracles.)

Upon arriving at the hospital, Sean and I were ushered into this little room where these ladies that had "Bereavement" on their name tags met up with us. They tried to calm us down and talk to us, but of course we wanted none of it. All we wanted to do was see our baby girl and hug her and hold her and know that she was okay.

One of the ladies finally told us that we could go see her, which I thought meant she was okay. We had been through many hospitalizations with Hailey before and many close calls, so why would this be any different? As we walked into the room, there were tons of people in there. Hailey was laying on the table while one nurse was pressing a bag together to breathe for her and another was pushing on her chest doing CPR. Matt, our neighbor, was there and him and Sean started to give her a blessing. As they began, the doctor said something. I don't even remember what it was because the pain and shock was too great, but I do remember my knees giving out under me and a nurse literally catching me as I fell. A doctor came running to my side and helped hold me up as I sobbed and screamed at the top of my lungs, "NO...DON'T STOP. THEY CAN'T STOP. KEEP GOING, THEY CAN'T STOP. PLEEEASE DON'T STOP." I looked up and saw Sean and Matt sobbing as well, and then I heard Sean say, "Please accept this little girl into your arms..." My baby girl, my precious baby girl was gone. That was the last thing I remember for a while.

All of a sudden I thought of my mom on her way, my dad on his way, my sister, Lexi...what about Lexi? How am I ever going to tell her that her little sister was gone? The nurse came to me and asked me if I wanted to hold Hailey. She placed her in my shaking arms, wrapped up like a little angel, and I thought at that moment that the pain would literally kill me. I would NEVER let her go. My mom walked in and I handed Hailey to Sean; I stood up, looked at my mom, and said, "Mom, she didn't make it. She didn't make it." She ran over to Hailey and sobbing kept telling the medical staff, over and over, that they had to do something. She finally was able to sit down and hold Hailey in her arms. Her little grandbaby was gone.

Next I talked to my sister on the phone. She was at work and I didn't want to tell her the outcome until she got to the hospital, but she could tell that something in my voice was seriously wrong. I ended up having to tell her at work, which I am so sorry for. Luckily she made it safely to the hospital, even after breaking every traffic rule known to man. When she walked in she just sobbed and sobbed and sobbed.

My heart was breaking for my Dad. He adores Hailey. He had such a special bond with her. I can't even count the amount of times that he drove back and forth with me to the hospital to visit Hailey everytime she was there. He was right there by my side through her first couple years. The second he would see Hailey, his face would light up like a child's on Christmas morning. They were buddies. He walked into the room completely unaware of what was about to hit him. I ran over to him sobbing, and told him she didn't make it. His just melted and we fell into each others arms and just sobbed hysterically. He walked over to her and just sobbed, saying, "No, no."

Along with my family, we had tons of friends there before I even had a chance to register what had just really happened. I don't want to name personal names because my mind was very fuzzy and I wouldn't want to risk leaving someone out, but let me just say that the people who I needed there were there. They rushed out of work at a moment's notice and were there by my side. Work was no longer a priority at that moment, they had put me first. I have to say that thank you for that. I literally have some of the best friends anyone could ever have the privelege of knowing. My bishop was also there within 20 minutes, along with several other church members. My church family is also amazing. The blessings and service from all those who cared for us had started the second they heard the news.

Once things semi-calmed down...we were never really calm, Sean and I just sat in the room together, by ourselves, holding Hailey, crying, talking to her, and having no idea what to do next. Where did we go from here? How do we tell Lexi? How do we go home without our baby girl? Who was going to stay with her when we weren't there? Would she be warm and comfortable? Would she be scared? Would we survive this?

We looked at each other and at that moment, sitting there together, holding our precious, beloved daughter, we vowed to each other that we would make it through this. We would stick together and never leave each other. We would take care of our other two girls and make sure they were okay. We would not get angry with God or give up. We were the only 2 people in this entire world that knew what it was like to be Hailey's parents. We owed it to Hailey to keep her family together.

The time came that we had to leave. Lexi was on her way and we had to be there when she got home. My heart was so broken and yet it still had to break more for Lexi. As we put our baby girl down, I literally thought that this must be exactly what hell is like. I felt like I was going to completely fall apart and never be able to get back up again. My arms were already aching; every part of my soul was aching...I was empty. One of the ladies from church offered to stay with Hailey for us until the coroner (I HATE that word) came to pick her up. We all piled in the car: my dad, mom, sister, Sean, & me...and drove home in utter and complete shock and devastation. There were literally no words. How could something like this happen to me?

As we pulled into our neighborhood we realized that every single tree had a pink ribbon tied around it. Then we turned the corner to our street and saw a beautiful memorial to Hailey on our front lawn. Our neighbors were showing us how much they truly cared.

When Lexi got home, I heard her get out of the car excited to see me. She came running in the house as if all was well. After holding it together for about 2 minutes and saying hi and giving hugs, Sean and I told her we had to talk to her for a minute. I still had no idea what I was going to say...I mean, what do you say at a moment like this? Before Lexi got home Sean and I had gone upstairs, kneeled down on the floor, and prayed together. We poured our hearts out to our Father in Heaven and asked him to guide us in what to say to our other precious daughter.

When she came upstairs, we sat on the bed next to her and I was already crying. I looked into her precious, innocent eyes and said, "Lexi, today when Hailey went to sleep for her nap, she didn't wake up. While she was sleeping, Jesus came and asked her if she wanted to go with Him to Heaven and help take care of the other kids there. She was so excited to help Him and she knew you and Ava would be okay here with Mommy and Daddy, so she said yes." Lexi looked back at me and replied, "You mean Hailey died?" I said, "Yes, honey, I mean Hailey died." She grabbed me and started to sob hysterically, like I'd never seen her cry before. Once again, I thought the pain was going to kill me. My body and soul was numb. I was now dealing with the pain of the loss of my daughter and added onto it, the pain of another precious daughter of mine. My parents and sister were waiting downstairs and could hear Lexi sobbing. After a while she wanted to go downstairs and see everyone. We walked downstairs and she asked if we could say a family prayer. So we sat and prayed together. (As if anything could possibly be funny at that moment, knowing our family, it would come upon us. We paused the TV in order to say our prayer and as my mom looked up she said, "Ummm...wait a minute." We all stopped and looked at the TV and all you could see, covering the entire screen, was a girl's chest in a black bra. There happened to be a Victoria's Secret commercial on and it was paused right at that moment.) Only us...but we actually giggled a little.

We had just taken our first step toward healing, we laughed for but a second.

Friday, September 4, 2009

My Beliefs

As most of you already know, I am LDS (Mormon). So I just wanted to let you know what I believe about Hailey and where she is right now. You may or may not agree with me, and that is totally fine, everyone is entitled to their own opinion and I will take no offense!

I believe that we are all children of our Father in Heaven (God). We lived with him prior to coming to the Earth. He sent each of us down here to the Earth to receive a physical body. Our mission here is to decide, by our own free will, whether or not we want to eventually return to Him.

Jesus Christ is our brother. He came here to teach us the correct way to live our lives and then to die for us, taking upon Himself, the blame for all of our sins. He is each of our personal Savior. I know if I was the only person on the face of this Earth, He would have gone through everything He did and died on the cross just for me.

Hailey was entrusted to us by our Heavenly Father. I believe that in some ways she was on loan to us until He needed her back. Upon her death, I believe that her precious little spirit entered paradise (what we call the Spirit World) to rest and learn and wait for Christ to rise again. When Christ comes again, Hailey’s body will resurrect from the grave in its most perfect form. Sean and I will then be given the chance to raise her during what we believe will be the millennium (1,000 years where Christ will rule and reign on the Earth). Our family will be a family unit for eternity, never to be broken apart again after the resurrection. After the Millennium we will be judged according to our works, hearts, and desires to be placed where we will remain for eternity.

I believe that the “veil” between the Spirit World and our Earthly world is very thin. Therefore, Hailey can come visit us in spirit whenever she wants or is necessary. She can literally see us and talk to us, if we are quiet and listen we may just be able to hear her prompting or feel her presence. (I have already had several of these experiences, some of which I plan to share at a later date and some of which are too sacred and personal.) Hailey is also up there with her family members that have passed on before her; she will never be alone.

Lastly, I believe that Hailey is not a little baby spirit anymore. I believe that upon crossing the veil and entering the Spirit World, her little mind was opened and she was able to see the whole picture, which grew her up quite a bit. She is now there continually learning and helping take care of her family (and friends) here on this Earth.

Of course, there are many more beliefs intertwined with these, but I just wanted you all to know in a basic form exactly what I believe and know to be true in my heart, so you have an idea and knowledge of where I’m coming from in my reactions and dealings with my grief. Again, you don’t have to agree with me, as a matter of fact, you can think I’m totally off my rocker…I won’t be offended, I promise!!!

There is an AMAZING book I read called, The Message, written by a man named Lance Richardson. He was on life support for 3 months and went to the Spirit World several times. His cousin who had passed before him showed him what it was like there and let me tell you…I had to think twice about not purchasing a one-way ticket over there!!! J/K Seriously though, it was one of the BEST books I have ever read and has had the biggest impact on me of any book I have ever read. I would recommend it to anyone who wonders what its like where Hailey is!!! I totally believe it 100%, with every fiber of my being. My mother-in-law, my mother, and my sister have all read it and absolutely loved it too! Check it out…it’s not very long either!!!

So in closing, I hope you now have a basic understanding of what beliefs and mindset are. Let me be honest and say that my faith in God has only gotten stronger since this tragedy with Hailey. I know that the human which is me sees it as a tragedy, but the spirit which is Hailey sees it as a blessing. I also know that given the choice, she would want to remain exactly where she is. This gives me a lot of comfort and peace. My beliefs and faith has literally pulled me through this so far and carried me when I thought I literally couldn’t take another minute of this pain. If you’ve ever read the poem, Footprints In The Sand, you will know what I mean when I say that He has literally carried me.

Introduction

Well I don’t really know where to begin with all this, so I’ll start first by saying thank you from the bottom of my heart to each and every one of you for your immense love, compassion, and support, not only to myself, but to my entire family. People we haven’t heard from or talked to in years have come out of the woodwork to be there for us. It has been beyond uplifting and miraculous. As hard as this experience has been, it has totally strengthened my faith in mankind. You, yes you personally, are an amazing human being who deserves to be blessed for the service you have just given.

I have been feeling very impressed over the past few days to start a blog chronicling my experiences and feelings throughout this new and most difficult journey in my life. These first few weeks my entries will probably be very long, but I have tons to write and share and catch up with you all on. So just read at your leisure!

So many people have been telling me that they are constantly wondering how we are doing, what we are feeling, what we believe, etc. I also know that many of you probably have tons of questions and aren’t quite sure how to ask or if it’s appropriate, so here I am to answer them.

For those of you who know me well, you already know that I talk a lot (and I type like I talk). You also know that I am an open book. I am very candid and honest with people about myself, which is exactly how I plan to be in this blog. I plan to just let it all out, tell you how it is, no holds barred. So be prepared for that!

My intention is to write each day, even just a little bit. So please feel free to log on daily to see how the day is going. I will most likely post each evening before bed. So I’m hoping that this will help at least someone…even if its just myself!

We are currently doing quite well. I always used to say that it’s easy to say you have faith in God when all is well and life is good, but it’s when your life as you know it is shattered that you really know if you have faith or not. Well I can confidently say that I HAVE FAITH! I have not once cursed God or been angry with Him over this. I know He loves Hailey and me and only does things for a reason and for our best. If it weren’t for my faith, I would literally be pumped full of sedating drugs, in a ball, in a mental hospital. I would not be able to deal with it. But instead, here I am: getting up each morning, putting one step in front of the other, continuing with life, and sometimes even having a laugh or two. Yes, I am devastated…literally beyond any words. No, I am not hopeless…I am full of hope! That keeps me going everyday.