"Grieving the loss of a child is a process, it begins the day your child passes and ends the day the parent joins them."

Friday, May 28, 2010

April 27th & 28th, 2010

The following picture boards were made by Ashleigh and her friend Kelsea. They did a great job. It was very difficult for both the girls to do. Kelsea loved Carly nearly as much as Ashleigh. They worked until the wee hours of the morning to have them ready for visitation on the 27th. If you click on each picture, the picture should enlarge for better viewing.

The following poster was made by Carly's class.


Many flowers were sent, several came from across the United States. They were all beautiful and they filled the viewing room and beyond. Ashleigh and her best friend spent hours upon hours putting together several picture boards and a video clip that was played during visitation. Carly's classroom made a poster and each child told the teacher what they wanted to say to Carly. The teacher typed up each saying and printed them off and placed them throughout the poster board. Under each saying, the child signed his or her name. The one that choked everyone up, was from Shanna, it said "Carly please come back from Heaven, I want to play with you again". 6 of Carly's classmates came to the visitation. One of course was her best friend, Shanna who went to preschool with Carly from the age of 3 1/2 . They were best buds. Kept in the same classroom each year because of the bond they had. Poor Shanna, she was in such denial. She had no understanding of what was taking place. Shanna was convinced that Carly was coming back from Heaven to play with her and that Carly was only going to be gone for a while and then she'd be back. Even though her mother talked to her during visitation and reminded Shanna that "Carly will not be coming back. Carly is in Heaven with your Papa". Shanna would NOT hear that. She just wouldn't. Other friends of Carly's that came were very much aware that Carly was never coming back. We hugged those kids tight and we cried with them. We thanked the kids for being Carly's friends. We told the kids that Carly loved her friends so very much and we were so glad that they loved her back. We told the parents that we felt they should be very proud of their children for being so kind and compassionate to our girl. It was very difficult to see all those kids. But, it made us feel good knowing those kids did love our girl. Many kids from the upper grades came too. I didn't know many of them, but their parents told Paul and I that their kids insisted on coming to tell Carly goodbye. What an impact our little girl made on everyone.

On a side note~Carly's Oncologist, Dr McAllister and Carly's Nurse Practitioner, (from the cancer center) Judy were both at the visitation on the 27th. Dr. McAllister was the on call doc for that week and couldn't be gone long enough for the service. They were both very upset. I guess it likely had something to do with them both seeing first hand, how Carly fought to survive her leukemia, chemo and 2 nearly fatal blood infections. They were both really shaken up.

These flower arrangements, Carly would have LOVED! Yes, you're seeing the smaller one correctly; it's a dog. And, it was sprayed with a tinge of tan colored paint (hard to see that in the pic). It looked very similar to Carly's 3 year old cockapoo. Who misses Carly as much as we all do :( . The one behind the dog is an ice cream cone done in Carly's favorite ice cream flavors; strawberry and vanilla. Both these were purchased by both of my sister in-laws.

April 28, 2010:

We arrived at the Funeral Home by 10am. The service was to start at 11. Our local Funeral Home is very old. I believe, at one time, years and years and years ago it was an actual house which was turned into a Funeral Home. Although, all of the years that I can remember, it's been a Funeral Home.

As people started arriving, our family had already been seated. We could see that the Funeral Home Director was scurrying around and pulling chairs out and placing them all over. In the hallway, the entry way on the ramp, which the caskets are rolled out to the waiting hearse. There were even people seated on the stairway that lead to the second story and standing out on the entry way steps. We were all very surprised at the amount of people who were in attendance for Carly's funeral. And pleased to know, that our precious girl did in fact touch many, many lives.

As we sat waiting for people to be seated. A steady stream of people came to pay their respects to our family and to view Carly. As we sat, we noticed the people coming in. One was Carly's infusion nurse, Susie from the Cancer Center at UofM. A few people beyond her were Carly's Cardiologist, Dr. Crowley, from UofM. and our family Doctor, Dr. LaBerge.
We spoke to each one of them before they were seated for the service. Dr. Crowley knelt down with tears in his eyes, telling us that "I wish I could have done more for Carly". We thanked him for the many years and wonderful care that he had given to her. Even though she hated his Donald Duck impression, for which he was famous for! Carly was his only patient that told him "NOOOO", when he'd come into the exam room quacking just like Donald Duck. A little background on Dr. Crowley, he has been a Pediatric Cardiologist with UofM for over 30 years. He is one of the kindest, caring most compassionate doc's that we ever encountered over the course of our 8 years with Carly.

11:00 the service begins:

**for those of you who don't realize it, you can click on the blue wording to link you to the readings and such**

Our Pastor spoke a few words and we prayed. Then we had the song "Go Rest High On That Mountain", by Vince Gill play by CD over the intercom. After another short message from Pastor, "Jesus Loves Me", sang by a children's choir was played by CD. (my mom always sang that song to Carly). We then had a reading which was done by my Aunt Linda, it was the Down Syndrome Creed. The next song that followed that reading, "Every Mothers Prayer", by Ciline Dion. Then came another reading, this one read by our Pastor. Heaven's Very Special Child. After that reading, our Pastor, unbeknown to us, announced that we was going to play his guitar and sing a song for Carly. I don't know the name of the song, keep forgetting to ask, but he changed the wording up a bit and put this in the chorus, "Carly's singing in the choir". Hopefully someone can recognize that short verse and let me know the name of the song. None of us has thought to ask the name of it...The service went on, Pastor read Ashleigh's letter to Carly and smiled through the entire letter, even though everyone else in attendance, was in tears. He continued on with the service, and did a wonderful job. He choked up a couple of times, surprisingly not during his singing. We also had the song In The Garden played by CD, to which many people sang along with us. As the service ended and all prayers were said, we had one final song played. Carly's most favorite song, "The Climb", by Miley Cyrus.

One of Carly's several "The Climb" performances. It was taken on Christmas Day. Wish I'd thought to switch on the movie mode on the camera.

As the funeral ended, both my brothers and 2 of my cousins husbands, carried out our baby girls coffin and loaded her into that god awful hearse. While arm in arm and side by side, Brad, me, Paul and Ashleigh followed behind.

I'll blog about the amazing balloon launch at the cemetery next week. Trust me, it was just that...AMAZING. Some people even say that it was eerie. I only wish that someone would have thought to pull out a phone and snap a picture. But honestly, everyone seemed to be just to mesmerized, to have thought of a picture.


Ellen Stumbo said...

Thank you so much for sharing. I pray that the process of writing this down brings some comfort to you. I am sure that the process if full of tears and memories. IN a small way, know that we walk this road with you, that we cry with you and our hearts are so heavy for the loss of Carly.
Sending you a big hug. As your heart aches for Carly's absence may it also soar in the beauty of the memories and sweet moments that will forever be treasured in your heart.

my family said...

Hugs and lots of prayers coming your way. Carly touch so many people in her short little life. She was such an inspiration to many

Rochelle said...

Beautiful, what a wonderful celebration of Carly's life. Love the classmates poster and the flowers. Thanks for sharing this day with us. I know we would have loved to be there and celebrate her life with you.

Anne and Whitney: Up, Down and All Around said...

I cannot stop the tears in my eyes as I read this... thank you for sharing what abeautiful visitation and service you guys had for carly. I am with Shanna, I just cannot believe she is not going to be back from heaven, I am sure you guys feel this even more! thinking of you!!!!!!!!!!!!

The Sanchez Family said...

Oh the tears I'm crying reading this. Oh Carly was so loved. I don't even know you and I feel your pain so deeply and the loss of your beautiful daughter. Just know that Carly moved mountains in her small precious life. She and you are amazing. What a beautiful angel she is in heaven now.

Debbie @ Three Weddings said...

Oh Joany, I just keep wishing it was a dream. It's just not fair for all of you. She was so precious. You continue to be in my thoughts and prayers every single day. I pray you will one day find a little peace and can start to enjoy life again.

Cathy said...

I just read this post to my husband. We are both sitting here in tears. It's obvious how much Carly was loved. Precious girl...precious angel.

Me said...

Thanks for sharing this Joany. Everything sounds beautiful and this post brought tears to my eyes. I think about all of you ALOT.

Michele Risner said...

I've been to a great deal of funerals in my lifetime, but never one like this. It wasn't just because it was a child; or that Carly is my niece; but the fact that there were soo many people there. A real testament to the fact that she touched so many lives and gave so many people hope. I swear that was the longest funeral procession I ever saw as well...I could see cars for miles behind us.

Mary said...

My heart aches for you. The photo of Carly singing is gorgeous. I just can't quit sobbing. Please know your family is in my thoughts and prayers.

Denise said...

Oh Joany.....I can't believe that I still have tears left but as I read this post of yours, it hit me all over again. We miss Carly!! I haven't been able to keep up on all your posts with all that is going on with Ella but I do as much as I can. I have been having blog friends send in pictures of their kiddos to put up on Ella's hospital wall. Would you mind if I printed out one of the ones I have of Carly to put on her wall? I don't want to do it without your permission but really want her there. Please email me at adjvollmer@aol.com to let me know. Praying that your days are getting a little more peaceful each day. We love you guys and think of you ALL the time!!

Monica Crumley said...

What a beautiful and emotional post filled with love from everyone who knew your Carly personally. I can't imagine how hard it was putting together the posters with all the picture reminders. What a lovely girl she was and will remain in everyone's hearts. Thank you for sharing the details of those two days.

Anonymous said...

I am crying as i read this, as i am sure you were crying as you wrote it. i hope writing about Carly is healing to you. You are in my mind daily.

Kelli said...

Thanks for sharing. We will continue and pray for peace during this time of need for you and your family. That last picture of Carly singing is great.

Michelle said...

I can't imagine how emotional it was for Ashleigh and her friend to put those picture boards together...what a wonderful job they did. AndCarly's class - oh my! In tears at the poster board they put together and the kids that wanted to attend. She did touch so many lives in her too short time here on earth.

Tina said...

This was so hard to read, I am choked up and have tears in my eyes right here at work!!! I don't know how you are doing now but I do hope that the pain is a little more bearable...you are so brave, thank you for sharing those two days with us. I have no doubts that Carly was and is very much loved and her funeral is proof of just that. She continues to stay in my thoughts.