Sometimes we have to teach our children about some very harsh realities of our world.
One of those realities, that I never imagined we would have to face with my seven year old son, was the death of a friend.
One year ago (January 20, 2012) our sweet friend, Ellie, was killed in a tragic accident. During the weeks that followed we paused, took time to remember Ellie, and most of all, took time to cherish each other.
I have experienced death up close before - my mother-in-law, grandparents, and older friends.
This, however, was so different. It was a sense of loss so deep and sad.
As I struggled to tell my dear little boy about his friend, we all cried. Then, we started talking about Ellie and remembering our brief time with her.
The funny thing is, after sitting with our pastor at church and talking about Ellie, Grant said to me, "I don't understand why everyone has to talk about it, mom. I know where Ellie is, in heaven. Why does everyone have to keep talking about that?"
The next Sunday he wrote a note of all of the things he would do in heaven.
Jesus said we should all have the faith of a child. I was so comforted by my little boy.
To Grant it was so simple. His faith was so secure and he knew Ellie was with God. That was enough for him.
This song, was written by John Waller. He performed it at Ellie's funeral. Her funeral was the most beautiful, poignant, and faith inspiring event I have ever had the privilege of attending.
Ellie is in the front row, far left. This preschool class of little ones had been together since they were 18 months old. It is a small preschool, one we were blessed to be a part of with both of our children.
I recalled how Grant often told me he would marry Ellie. He told me he would buy here a pink cell phone and a green pick up truck. He said pink was her favorite color and she would like that. If you knew Ellie, you would know that she was way too headstrong to fall for any silly little boys like Grant.
Once when we spotted Ellie's mom in Wal-Mart, Grant proclaimed, "Mom! There's my mother-in-law!".
Ellie's mom encouraged me to start homeschooling. She had two boys she was homeschooling, while Ellie and Grant were in preschool together. I saw their family's lifestyle and how bright the children were. It gave me courage to homeschool my own children.
I remember waiting outside of a homeschool Spanish class - Grant and Ellie were occupying themselves while their siblings were in class. Grant was determined to show Ellie how to play Angry Birds on my iPhone. She took the phone from him and showed HIM how to play.
This group of kids was unique and fun. Those four years in preschool were a BLESSING to all of us.
While, like many other parents, I can say that the past year has flown, I am certain for Ellie's mom and dad it has been the slowest year of their lives. Each holiday and special day that passes my heart aches for them. It aches for her brothers who are missing her. It aches because as a mother I can only imagine the sorrow Ellie's mother is experiencing.
Despite the pain, so many blessings have resulted in the past year, too.
Through Ellie's memorial Facebook page we have seen acts of kindness inspired by Ellie's passing. We have seen healing through God's mercies; best of all we have seen a faith in God that has developed in Ellie's family.
I would love to encourage you to share some love today in honor of Ellie. Here is the official notice from the family:
We've been wondering what to do on the anniversary of Ellie's death on January 20th, 2012. By all measure, that was a terrible day. But, January 20th, 2013, is a different day. This day is a gift to be savored, like all others. It is a day that will trigger difficult memories, but we wish to turn the day into a positive by creating new memories serving others.
Please help us honor Ellie and her love and joy for life. We are asking anyone who would like to join us to perform a random act of kindness inher name on Sunday, January 20th.
Please feel free to share any ideas that inspire you and that we might all enjoy doing for others.
Ellie Ruth Nigro - 02/15/05 - 01/20/12. You are loved, missed, and remembered!
Please share this event with anyone that might like to join us.
God Bless You!
Todd, Kristen, Tyler, Jake, and Ellie (from Heaven)
Won't you join us in doing something kind for someone else today?
Life is precious and too short - it's way too short to NOT commit random acts of kindness each and every day of your life.