For those of our friends and family who were unable to attend Norah’s memorial service, we have decided to post it here for anyone interested.
First, we played “Over the Rainbow” by Israel Kamakawiwo’ole
Then, Brian spoke:
“I’m a stay at home dad, before that, I was a paramedic. I’ve seen some awful, awful things. After I stayed home with the kids, I became a teacher of healthcare professionals, specifically with teaching certifications of life-saving measures on adults and kids.
We were always very careful (as parents), but still had fun with our family of 6. We have a lot of structure, if you’ve ever been to our home, you’ve stepped over gates, seen our outlet covers, our list of emergency numbers. We took every foreseeable precaution to keep our kids safe.
Thursday, June 30, we had a great day. We took our whole family to the splash pad and park, had dinner as our family of 6. We gave the babies a bath, put pajamas on them, kissed them goodnight, and laid them down in their cribs. They went to bed happy, full and complete.
I woke up that morning to the sounds of little boys playing and a little girl ready for breakfast, like I had every morning for the past year. I went in to get my girls changed, and something was wrong. All my planning, training and experience only gave me one thing at that moment: that I could not help my little girl.
I’ve seen tragic death, but it was always in its’ own compartment in my brain. Empathy was shared from my limited experience. NOTHING prepared me to come even close to the new feelings I experienced. This happened to other people, not to me.
The past few days have been the hardest of our lives, but we are still a family. I still wake up to the sound of little boys playing and a happy little girl who loves her daddy. That’s what gets me through these days. Our family is changed forever, and I don’t know what the future holds. But, I will keep them close and hold them tight, because there are things we just can’t control.
We are still awaiting autopsy results, but the wait until preliminary findings was still the worst. We questioned everything we did or did not do or check. While some mystery remains, we now know there was no preventing, detecting or ultimately changing what has happened”
“Norah was, I always said, our “special snowflake”. She needed just a little more. A little more rocking, a little more food, a little more everything. She was a “tough nut to crack”, but when you finally impressed her enough, you were handsomely rewarded. With a big, toothy grin, a hearty belly laugh, or a little dance she’d just come up with.
She had a squinty smile like me (and grandma) and loved playing with her twin sister Lucy and her big brothers, Logan and Luke. She was going to be an assertive little girl, I could tell already. At nap or bedtime, she’d peek out her curtain if the boys were in the backyard, just wanting in on whatever it was they were up to.
In her much too short life, she was loved so fiercely by so many. She really loved playing peekaboo in their little circus tent, eating just about anything you gave her (I don’t think we’d given her anything she didn’t like!) and loved to look at the world when we held her upside down. Though she wasn’t spoiled, we never even had to tell her no yet. She was starting to talk, and had words for “mama”, “daddy”, “Logan”, “Luke” and “dog” (sorry Lucy!). She was soooo close to walking. She enjoyed her 1st birthday cake thoroughly, as you can see in the pictures. She never liked a bath. I never knew a less than 1 year old that needed detangler, but she did! She had pigtails at 4 months and her hair was past her shoulder blades in the tub when it was wet and straight. She got her first tooth on Halloween and was dressed as a cabbage patch doll, along with Lucy. She waved for the first time on her brother Logan’s birthday on February 22. Her first and only Christmas she was teething and had a cold, but managed to be cute and play with her siblings and wrapping paper anyway. She said her first word “mama” on March 21, the only one of our kids to say that before “dada”. She was my mini-me to an astonishing degree. We bought a park swing for our backyard, so the girls could swing together, and they both loved it.
I never would have wanted to pick a last day with my Norah, but the last day our family shared was full of sunshine, strawberry bathing suits with a hat she kept on, and smiles. I am so thankful for the video and pictures I took that afternoon. She was vibrant, beautiful, and full of life. And the, a few short hours later, she wasn’t. I hope we will find some answer to this horrific tragedy. We have been told it was nothing preventable, not anything we did or didn’t do or see, but, of course, I’ll always wonder.
Our beautiful special snowflake is gone forever. We will never understand this and wish we’d had more time with her. I’d do those first hard days with newborn twins for the rest of my life if it meant we could still have her with us. We would do anything. I’m thankful for the life she lived, with us, full and happy. We will always love and miss our Norah Jane.”
“When We Were Young” by Adele