Monday, April 28, 2008

Emma's Service

Ahhh...I feel like I can finally breathe after the last few days of trying to get everything organized! Things went really good though. She had a beautiful service. The day started off by having snow on the ground and it was really windy. But I told Jon that it had to be windy because God was just blowing all the clouds out of the sky for us so that we'd have a beautiful sunset for Emma's burial. And it turned out that way! Anyway...back to the beginning of the day. We got to the church around 1:30 and finished setting up for the funeral. I can't say enough about Parker Kohl Funeral home...they are awesome! They took such good care of us. We were even allowed to come to the funeral home the day before and dress our little Emma. We weren't sure we'd be able to do it (emotionally I mean) but I wanted to try, since I never got to dress my little girl. And you know was surprisingly easy. It felt really good to be able to do that. And she looked so pretty in the purple and white dress Jon and I picked out for her. The outfit even had little bloomers and booties to go with it! So cute! John and Steve Kohl are so good to work with and the little extras they did for us were amazing! They had her at the front of the church when we got there...the little white casket was so pretty. I told Jon though that it's not even right that they make them that small. No one should have to bury a body that small. The flowers you all sent were so beautiful! Thank you all for those! My house smells wonderful today! The visitation was from 2:30 - 4:30 and there was a constant stream of people to see our little Emma. It made us feel so loved to see all of you there. Although I told Jon that I never realized that funerals are kinda like weddings...everyone is here to see you and yet you don't get enough time to visit with everyone the way you'd like to! Thank you all for coming...we appreciate each one of you and wish we would have gotten to spend more time with you! Emma even had two of her favorite nurses show up...that meant a lot to us! We heard it over and'll never know how many people your little girl touched in her short life. We definitely know that to be true! The service was just perfect. We started out by having Brian Ferrell sing "With Hope" by Steven Curtis Chapman. Just a perfect way to start out the service...the song says that we can cry with hope, we can say good-bye with hope, because we know our good-bye is not the true. We know we'll see Emma again someday in Heaven...our pastor said it this way to us...doesn't Heaven seem a little more real now that you have this little one up there? Can't wait to see her again! And then we had some scripture reading, Jon said a few words (I don't know how he did it...I would have never been able to do that!), prayer, and Sam put together an awesome video of Emma...he said he's going to try to post it on our blog and also some clips from the service. We also played the song "Praise You In This Storm" by Casting Crowns because Jon and I feel like that is our theme song right now...and Sam took the video of the sunset that Jon and I had taken the night Emmalee passed away and put the words to the song on there...very moving (I'm just glad I watched both videos before the service...I would have been a lot more emotional if I hadn't...he did such a good job). And then our Pastor gave a great really was moving! To close out the service all of our nieces and nephews (all 8 of them!) sang Emma's favorite song, "Jesus Loves Me". I sang this song to our girl because I think the words are so appropriate..."little ones to him belong. They are weak but He is strong! Yes, Jesus loves me!..." The kids were so cute and they did such a good job. Then we took the processional down to Valley Grove Cemetery (which is only about 3 miles from our house) and we laid our little girl to rest. It was a beautiful setting and the sun was shining. It was a little windy and cold but beautiful! They actually laid Emmalee in the ground while we were all there and then Jon started to put the dirt back on top. My dad later came and helped him. I think that was probably the most emotional time of the day. It doesn't seem possible that I could be burying my little girl! But it was also neat that her dad was doing it and it was so much more personal that way! So that was the day in a nutshell for anyone who wasn't there. Again, thank you to all who were there to help us say good-bye to our sweetheart. She sure did look pretty, didn't she?! We'll be sure to try and get that video on here. And like I had said before...I'll share some of the professional pictures with you all as well. It might be a few days before I get those on here...but I'll get them on here soon! Oh...and some of you were wondering about a memorial fund...we did decide to set one up for Emmalee at the First National Bank in Northfield, MN. We aren't sure what exactly we are going to do (we have few ideas) but we can let you know when something is for sure. Thanks you all again and thank you for continuing to keep us in your prayers while we go through the grieving process! But we know God is good all the time and He will continue to hold us close to Him!
Jon, Ali and Emmalee


Jonathan, Amanda & Luke said...

It sounds like it was a beautiful service; I had no doubt it would be.

Anonymous said...

What an emotional day for you. I'm glad you got your sunset. We were praying for a clear day. I almost fell out of my chair when you said you had Emma in a purple and white dress. Lauren was wearing her purple & white dress on Saturday too. I wish we could've been there to celebrate Emma's life. I can't wait to see the clips of the service. We are planning on coming out in June and would love to take you out to lunch. We will keep you in our prayers.


Anonymous said...

I simply do not know what to say except that you are an exceptional couple and I love you both so much. May God continue to hold you!
love, mary g

Anonymous said...

You two are amazing!You've helped me grow in my faith just by listening to all that you tell us. Mom told me some of the things that your pastor preached on and the thoughts he had for you were amazing as well. Keep them close to your heart! I heard it was a beautiful service. I really wish I could've been there too. I pray for you daily that God will see you through each hour of the day instead of trying to face the whole day at once. Thank you for sharing your story.

Jennifer Dowdy (Sharp)

Krysta Dittmar said...

It sounds like Emma had such a beautiful service. You and Jon are in our prayers.

Angie said...

So glad I was able to be there. There were so many things I saw that day that I really can't put into words or explain at all. It was so good to be able to see you guys. Ali-if your email is still the same as it always has been, I'm going to email you soon...rather than write a book on your blog. I love you guys. :)

Anonymous said...

Ali and Jon, I was asked to leave you some comforting words, and I don't think I can offer you any comfort. The Lord is the only one that can hold you at a time like this. The only one that can show you and reveal to you the purpose for all of this. I can however attest that the Lord is good and does provide comfort and reveals Himself through these situations. Reading your blogs about Emmalee is so comforting, but at the same time so heartbreaking. My husband and I also gave birth to and lost our little girl, Savannah, in January of this year. Our babies are a testimony to how valuable life is no matter how short or long. Emmalee was loved and will be loved by many. Her story will encourage others to search for God and want to know the love that He offers us. After Savannah passed away, I feel as though I was lead to 1 Corinthians 13, the famous verses on love. In many instances, I believe that they are used for weddings or romantic love, but I believe it refers to a brotherly, universal love. Love never loses faith or hope. Love never gives up. From reading your blogs, I know that is the way that you loved Emmalee. You prayed for a miracle and believed in your heart that God could if He chose to. You never gave up on her, and most importantly you never lost faith in the Lord that created her. It is so hard to hope and still lose them, but the Lord's truths never fail. He did heal our babies. Praise the Lord for sending His Son, Jesus Christ, to die for our sins and create a place where we can spend eternal life with Him. Thank the Lord for defeating death so that we may continue to live and worship Him. Our children didn't really pass altogether, but passed this world to live with Him in Heaven. We will see them again, and that day won't seem to come soon enough while we are here on earth, but we will get to spend eternity with them. I am so sorry for the heartache that you feel. Only a mother can know what it is like to carry a life inside of her, expect to take on that role of being a mother and then lose that life. I cannot explain the way I hurt, but it does. The pain that we feel only shows the love that God put in our hearts for that child we really never got to know. I miss my daughter, just as you miss yours, but God provides that strength and renewed perspective to see the joys and blessings in our lives. Thank God for that because who knows where we would be. Ali and Jon, I am so sorry for your loss. May the Lord be your strength and your truth. If you need anything at all, even if it is just to talk please call us.
Lucas and Suzanne Wilson

Mandy Cavaliere said...

It sounds like Emma's service was beautiful. You will continue to be in my thoughts and prayers. Love, Mandy

Anonymous said...

We were not able to attend Emmalee's services, but our thoughts and prayers are with you. God Bless You:)

Brett & Zabrinia Schaffer

RK said...

I was directed to your blog by a friend (I don't know their connection to you, honestly) and I have spent the last hour reading your story. I just wanted to tell you thank you for being such an amazing example of trust and faith in God's best plan. I cannot imagine what you've lived through, the heartwrenching decisions, but I can feel your heart for the Lord in your words, and that can make the difference for someone who finds your story when needing encouragement and peace.

My daughter is 17 months old and has Down syndrome. She had AV canal surgery at 3 months, and she's our precious princess. We've had friends go through both of these procedures that Emmalee had, and it has been so hard to sit by and watch. Only with God's strength have these families endured. He is good, all the time. Won't that reunion be AMAZING one day in heaven!?

Blessings to your families.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the details of the service and burial! I wanted to be a part of the celebration of her life, and now I feel like I have been. Ali and Jon, you are such brave and beautiful people! I am so blessed by your faith. I am so happy you had a sunset, and that you got to dress your little sweetie. Such a hard thing to do, I'm sure, but I am sure you will cherish that.
We will continue praying for you!
Emily & Kirk