Saturday, September 19, 2009

Cali's Day

Thursday September 17th was Cali's Life Celebration. It was beautiful. The sisters from our church along with family set up the building in the morning which allowed Thomas and I some time to spend with Cali alone before the viewing began. This time with her was quite special. I had written a letter to my sweet girl the night before, so this time allowed me to read that to her. I held her close and Thomas held my letter for me to read. It was quite difficult to get through as it consisted of my deepest emotions. But I am so happy that I had the chance to do that. When I was finished we put her in her tiny little casket, fixed her dress, her little hairband and welcomed friends, family, and visitors. We had many guests. It was so great to have so many people come to support us! Thomas and I both said afterwards that we had expected some downtime between guests, well there wasn't ever any downtime, in fact there was a line out the door the whole time. Thank you to those who were able to make it! And I do know there are many who were with us in spirit and I thank you too. Once everyone had a chance to see Cali we closed the door, had a family prayer and I kissed my Cali girl's little forehead for the last time. I love my little girl so much. I can hardly believe that I won't see her little body again in my lifetime. I miss you little girl.

The service was perfect. Thomas began the service with Cali's life sketch. He worked so hard on this, wanting to give his little girl all that she deserved. He was worried about being able to tell her whole story so others would know Cali. But many commented after that they felt like they were there through her 7 days of life. He did a great job.

My dad and Thomas' dad followed as well as 2 musical numbers. Jillian played what we now affectionately call "Cali's song" it's "A River Flows in You" by Yiruma, one of my favorite artists. Then my cousin Kristen sang "I am a Child of God" with some modified words. It was beautiful. We couldn't have asked for more from the service.

Then once it ended Thomas carried little Cali out to the limo and we drove up to East Lawn Memorial Hills where Cali was to be buried. When Thomas and I were trying to decide where to put Cali I struggled. I hated the idea of having to leave her somewhere when we don't know where we'll end up. I wanted to be able to take her with us. But, then an option opened up that comforted my heart. Cali could be buried with her great-grandpa. That is where she is now. She is buried above Thomas' grandpa at East Lawn Memorial Hills. It is so beautiful up there, with little bunnies and deer, a view of the whole valley and lots of trees and flowers. The perfect place for our little girl.

Well,the graveside service was also perfect. My Uncle Ed said the dedicatory prayer and our little sisters blew bubbles over Cali. Thomas and I had nicknamed Cali "bubble queen" because she loved blowing spit bubbles, so we tied this into her memorial. After the bubbles Thomas and I released 7 butterflies, one for each day that Cali lived. It was beautiful! The butterflies were so colorful and most of them fluttered around us for a little while before flying away. It was perfect. Everything I wanted for my little girl.

To top it all off when we left the church building after dinner there was a PERFECT, COMPLETE rainbow right in front of our eyes. It was perfect. The forecast had called for a day without rain, and until that time there were blue skies. This was a miracle just for me, just for Thomas from our little girl. I know that she talked to Heavenly Father. She told Him that she knew our hearts would be broken, that we missed her so much and that we needed a little something from her, to know that she was still with us. And I know that a loving, kind, merciful God gave that to us. I know it because inside me I felt more love in that one moment than any other specific moment of my life. I had my husband by my side. My love, my strength. I had my God above. And I had my daughter in my heart. At that moment I felt whole. I had my family with me. And though I don't feel whole right now, I hold on to that moment and know that I will have that feeling when we meet again.

I love my Cali girl. I miss her so much. My empty arms ache to hold her. To rock her. To cradle her. To love her. My human mind is trying desperately to keep every detail of her physical body in my memory, and yet already it's hard to recall clearly. Every moment is a challenge, every thought, every action. I don't know how long it will be this way, my heart says it needs to be this way forever as I don't want to let her go, but I know that slowly life will begin to be lived again. I don't like that, I feel like the whole world should stop, but I know that is the natural course, the course that Cali wouldn't want me to fight. So I put one foot in front of the other with my trust in God that He will lead my steps. I will never be the same because for 1 week I got to hold an angel. And for eternity I'll get to love her.

The pictures from the video (and the video itself) were taken by Jen, a volunteer photographer from Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep. She has done a fantastic job. More pictures to come!


nennermommy said...

((Crying)) It was a perfect day for Cali and it was a beautiful service!!!
Thank you so much for letting me be apart of it! I feel so honored!
Always in my heart.....

Lisa (Espanish for "Lisa") said...

Thomas (and Adrienne), this is Lisa (Randolph) Brown from high school/church.

I had heard the news through the grapevine, and had prepped myself (or so I thought), but when the picture of your beautiful little girl was the first thing I saw, I cried. What a sweet baby! I ache for the two of you, though I cannot know your loss. What a sweet tribute to Cali (and I have a special love for that middle name as well). I hope the two of you are finding much comfort and love through this rough time. My prayers and thoughts are with you!


The Standrings said...

what an extremely touching video and post. adrienne, my heart goes out to you and your family. i know i cannot understand how you are feeling, but you know someone does. we will keep praying that you will find peace and comfort.

i'm jackie. he's doug. said...

What a day. I'm so glad it was just what you and Thomas wanted to celebrate her sweet life.

You're still in our prayers.

Jen said...

This was a really beautiful tribute to Cali. What a sweet girl... Sounds like it really was a perfect day :) I so badly wanted to attend her celebration and let you guys know I'm definitely here supporting you two :) Lots of love. Jen

hazel and ej said...

such a very heartfelt piece. beautifully written. I have been following your blog for some time now, your family has always been in our prayers and we will continue to do so.
thank you for sharing sweet Cali with us..

Nicole said...

Thomas and Adrienne,
I'm so happy that I could be a part of Cali's special day. There was so much love felt in the room - I will never forget the way it felt. I loved the life sketch and the release of the butterflies. And the rainbow was heaven-sent. Taylor and I watched the slideshow together and he also sends his love and sympathy. You are continually in my thoughts and prayers.


Jeff and Nichole said...


Oh, I don't even know what to say. What a special beautiful angel.I have thought about you every day this week,and I realized I don't have your number. Call me or text me so I have your number (801-735-6936) whenever you get a chance. The slideshow was beautiful. My heart breaks for you, and our prayers are continually with you. I am so grateful that you had a wonderful celebration.


The Mathews Family said...

I am so glad that her celebration was everything you wanted. It really was so touching and tender and the spirit was so strong. I know that she was here for such a short time... but know that she has touched so many people. My girls still include her (and you) in their daily prayers. My heart and thoughts have been with you guys constantly. Again, if I can do anything for you please let me know. We love you!

The Mathews Family said...

P.S. I enjoyed the Cali's heavenly sky the whole drive home. When I walked into the house Nate said, "I feel like I'm looking at a Sepia photo outside!" It was a beautiful ending to a beautiful day. And might I mention... absolutely appropriate that Cali's rainbow ended right down the middle of 'Y' Mountain!

Brittany said...

Thomas & Adrienne--Brittany (Stewart) here. I am so sorry for your loss. I cannot possibly imagine what you are going through but I am glad that you have such supportive family and friends. I hope that being members of the church has been able to bring you some comfort. Your little girl is beautiful!! I cried and cried as I watched your wonderful slideshow. How blessed you must feel to have had such a wonderful little spirit be a part of your lives. Like Lisa said, Cali's middle name is wonderful and I am sure that Koryn is there to help you and your little one. I love you and we are praying for you!
XOXO - Brittany

Mama Brooks said...

Adrienne & Thomas, thank you for sharing this sacred experience with us. So many weep with you and hold a place in our hearts for you and Cali. Thank you for your faith. May "God be with you'til you meet again." Love, Laura Brooks

Teri Dunaway said...

Thomas and Adrienne: I am Bethany Keisler's aunt, and was led to your site from her own site about Emma Kate.

Please know that you are in our prayers as well. Cali is a beautiful little angel, and I thank you for sharing her with us.

You have been blessed, but I know your hearts are aching. Mine aches also. I hope you feel God's arms around you during hard times, and you hear his whispers of comfort.

God bless you.

Angela said...

Beautiful. Thanks for letting us in your life.

Jenny Lincoln said...

Your beautiful Cali and your family have been in my thoughts all week. I'm so sorry for your loss. The slideshow and everything you have written is such a great tribute to your beautiful angel and her life.

Anonymous said...


You have a strength that is so inspiring and admirable. This was beautiful, thank you for letting me read it. I think of you often and hope that you can feel whole again. Thank goodness for a gospel through which we know we can see our families again. You are in my thoughts and prayers.


John Ross said...

(I am a friend of Bethany Keisler)

I don't know you but heard about your precious angel from Emma Kate's blog.

I can't understand what you are going through but I do know that your strength is an inspiration to me. That video was beautiful and she truly is an angel. You are in my prayers.

In Him, Lindsay

michelle said...

Adrienne, it's interesting, but reading this makes me love you so much more. I am so proud of you for celebrating the life of your beautiful daughter and for accepting her death, because that's how you will heal.

Janae Walker said...

i loved this video! wow, thanks for sharing it with us!

carolyn q said...

The service sounds like it was fitting for the Princess she is. I so wished I could have been there and as the clock ticked closer to the time of the service I was very much thinking of you all and praying for peace in your heart to be able to endur such an event.
I can't but think how proud Cali is of her wonderful parents. (Hugs)

Christina said...

I wish I could have been there to celebrate Cali's life with you. The video is beautiful and I love the modified I am a Child of God song.
What a blessing Cali will always be to lead and guide you. I hope you feel her walking with you often.

Hugs & Prayers,
Jacob's Momma