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 what...it 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 over...you'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 end...so 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 message...it 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