Dear Evy:

promising to live a happy and simpler life in honor of my evelyn

Dear Evy: Prepare Yourself

August 30, 2014

Evelyn, I could feel you with me tonight. I really needed you, and you were there. This whole week, one sentence has been going through my mind. Not sure why there are some different days, times, moments I fixate on, but usually they are not the positive thoughts. But when I stopped by the cemetery this evening, I felt you next to my cheek. Best feeling in the world to comfort me when I’m thinking of the worst feeling in the world.

My fixation has been on the most dreaded words a parent could ever imagine. It was Wednesday, late evening, your last day. We were exhausted. It was the longest day. You had crashed 2 or 3 times already, one of the times your dad and I were in the room watching. They had just switched you to a new ventilator. This one was louder and shook your lungs so that they would stay open to pump the oxygen for you so that your little body didn’t have to struggle. I had to lay down. I was overwhelmed. I curled up and shut my eyes. It was a twenty minute nap. I am thankful for that nap because it gave me enough strength to get though the hardest part of my life.

I was woken up by your dad and a nurse. Instantly I jumped up and asked “Oh no, what’s wrong?!?” The nurse said that nothing has changed. Oh I could breath again. But when I took my eyes off of you and looked back at the nurse, I could tell she had more to say.

“You need to prepare yourself that she might die.”

Worst words in the world. I had never thought that would be the final outcome. I had so much hope.

She said we needed to decide on how long we wanted them to keep trying to prolong your life. I had so many questions. Well what were your chances? Are you worried about all of the fluid? Is the expensive medicine working? They said that they were worried about all the fluid building up inside of your body and that eventually the medicine to keep your heart beating would stop working. Devastating answers. I didn’t want to give up on you though. But they just kept pushing epinephrine which was the only way to keep your blood pressure high enough. After my millions of questions and the hopeless answers, I looked at you through my tears. I mean I really looked at you. You weren’t my baby anymore. You weren’t my Evelyn. You had so many needles and bandages all over you tiny body. You had gained so much weight from all of the fluids that they were pushing but you couldn’t expel. You were so swollen. You had tried so hard but now it just looked like torture. I knew it was time to let go. It was time to say goodbye and let your little body rest.

So as those words resinate in my head: “You need to prepare yourself…”, it was nice to really feel you with me. I need more days like that Evelyn. More times to feel your sweet breath or your soft skin touching my cheek. I pray to you daily to give me strength and to watch over the three of us here on Earth. I don’t pray for you because I know where you are and that you have no more pain. Only joy.

Your Aunt Bug just sent me this song and it seems fitting. I know you are dancing and cuddling up on Jesus’ cheek with your slobbery open mouth kisses 🙂 Love you so much. Goodnight sweet baby girl.

August 26, 2014

God Wink #4

This God Wink comes from my dear friend Shelby Baxter. Here is her story.

This past weekend we were boating and saw a beautiful bald eagle fly from a tree on the Kentucky side of the river. Having never seen a bald eagle in the wild before I was amazed by its presence. It immediately made me think of Evy and singing “Eagles Wings” at her funeral. I vividly remember sitting there singing the hymn as you and your family prepared to leave the church just moments after you had shown such poise and love by speaking about your simple, laid back Evy. I wanted so badly to be able to do something to ease your pain, but it was YOU comforting a church full of hundreds of your family and friends.

As I continued to watch the eagle fly up river I thought of your sweet baby and the lessons you have unknowingly taught me in the past months. Imagine our surprise when we saw ANOTHER eagle swoop out of the tree and proceed up the river bank following the route of the first. At the sight of the second eagle l thought of Ellie. I don’t know exactly how I feel about signs but what were the chances of seeing not only one, but two bald eagles that day? Maybe this was my mind manipulating my feelings because I had talked to Andrea and knew you were spending time together last week-maybe. But I prefer to take this as just another lesson I’m learning from all of you. Andrea and Beth-while I do not like the circumstances that brought your families together, I love that you have forged a friendship and support system. I am so very thankful that you have each other. Thank you both for showing me such grace, fortitude, resolve and strength. I do not know that I could ever accurately put into words the admiration I have for you. I thank God to have the privilege to call both of you my friends. Thank you for guiding me to be a better person.



Thank you Shelby so much for taking the time to write this to me. I just love hearing new Evy stories and how she has affected people and that she is not forgotten. Love you.

We sent lanterns up to the girls on Sunday in memory of Ellie's Birthday.

We sent lanterns up to the girls on Sunday in memory of Ellie’s Birthday.

Sweet little girl, it has now been 3 months since we’ve held you in our arms and said goodbye. It’s crazy that it has been so long already. At first, we couldn’t look anywhere in the house without thinking of you. It felt so empty. Sadly life has gone on and in our day to …

Continue reading

Our little girl died from Francisella tularensis.  Francisella tularensis is a pathogenic species of Gram-negative bacteria and the causative agent of tularemia. The doctors just call it tularemia. In my research it is also known as ‘rabbit fever’. The exact cause of death is unclear, but it is thought to be a combination of multiple organ system failures. Rabbits, …

Continue reading

Life has been so hard since the autopsy report. I have wrote you several letters that I just haven’t been able to post. The autopsy results were the same as the preliminary results, but the in depth reading of each organ failure has just put us in such a sad place. It’s like reliving each …

Continue reading

August 4, 2014

God Wink #3

My baby’s funeral was absolutely beautiful. I know it was a funeral, and most would think depressing no matter what. But not my baby’s. We were celebrating her life and everyone involved exceeded my expectation. They made saying goodbye to her physical self so much easier. Our priest, Father Chris Craig, who married us, came from Madison to do the funeral mass. His homily was wonderful. Jim Waldon, who also did our wedding music, had also asked the children’s choir to participate. They were amazing. They’re soft, sweet voices were perfect for my baby. The Ave Maria was beautifully sung. I asked Angie Myers to sing a song just for Evy. Angie too was apart of my wedding, of course. She came up with a compilation of wonderful songs that fit perfectly. She actually recorded Evy’s song so I can listen to it in my car. I wish I had all the music from the funeral. That is how beautiful it was.

On Eagle’s Wings played as we proceeded out of church behind Evy. It is such a beautiful song. Although I really didn’t get to hear it. I heard all of the other songs but only heard the first few lines. Between my sobbing and thoughts, I just missed it. And then we were out of church. At the Celebrate Evy I was told a wonderful story about the last song.

Angie Myers had waited for Jim Waldon to come down from the balcony after his last song. She wanted to know who was playing the violin during the last song. As soon as she asked, Linda Rechtin (another very musically inclined friend) said yes, she heard it too. She had thought Patrick Wunderlich might have been up in the balcony. Patrick also played the violin at my wedding. Jim was taken surprised by this. No one was playing the violin. Angie asked if he did something with the organ. He did not.

The violin’s played for my baby.

A total of four people had heard the violins play during the processional song. That is amazing. They said the violins played so beautifully and so loud. I did not actually hear the violin being played at my own wedding, so I feel it is fitting that I did not hear it at Evy’s funeral either. But I am so thankful that Angie Myers, Linda Rechtin, my cousin Jason Steininger, and my father Mike McCabe were listening with open ears to share their story with me.