April 30, 2010

Here's Lookin' at You, Kid

The night Anne Marie died, a photographer from Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep came to the hospital to take pictures of Anne Marie. This wasn't something we had planned beforehand, but providentially a new friend of ours asked if we wanted to have pictures taken, and it worked out that a photographer was able to come that night. I love these pictures. They are the only ones I have had of Anne Marie that don't have tape or tubes covering her face. They are the only pictures I have of Mary Margaret cradling her baby sister. And they are a reminder of that last night with her. I look at these pictures and I remember giving Anne Marie her first and only real bath, dressing her for the first time in her little pink dress, and sitting with Brandon in Anne Marie's room holding her and never wanting to let go. I was able to touch her tiny body all over and kiss her lips that had before had been covered.

These pictures are priceless, and yet because she was so swollen that last day, they don't look exactly like she really looked before she became so puffy. When I think about Anne Marie, I think about her the way she looked when she would open her eyes and gaze at me. I picture her when she wasn't swollen and puffy and when she would wiggle her fingers and move her arms back and forth. On her last day she was so puffy that her eyes were almost swollen shut. I remember late on that Saturday afternoon standing at Anne Marie's bed talking to her and stroking her and hoping and praying that she would open her eyes one more time. I didn't think she would be able to, but I so wanted one more look. And she did. She cracked open one of her little eyes and looked at me. It seemed to take so much effort, but she did it. I won't forget her peeking out at me through her little swollen eyelid, nor will I forget the photographer who came up to the hospital late on a Saturday night to capture memories of that last night with Anne Marie.

I also didn't think I would have any more pictures of Anne Marie without tubes and tape -- until yesterday, when Brandon brought me this:

A picture of our girl -- soft, peaceful, looking right at me.

Brandon's friend Chris worked on Anne Marie's picture for several hours and was able to photoshop the tubes and tape out of it. I have been gazing at this picture off and on all last night and this morning. Every time I come back to look at it, it takes my breath away just like it did the first time I saw it. She is so, so beautiful and looks so peaceful.

I continue to be so grateful for all the people who have blessed us, and this picture I will treasure all my life.


  1. She's beautiful in every picture I've seen but this...what a treasure!

  2. what a precious gift! She is very beautiful, fearfully and wonderfully made.

  3. Oh, Susie, she is so beautiful. I am praying for you dear friend. Thank you for your sweet comments on my blog. I cry everytime I see one.


  4. Lee Anne DeLapp9:53 AM

    I have to agree with everyone else..........Priceless!!! What a memory!

  5. Beautiful picture of a beautiful girl! What a treasure ~ the picture and her short life.

  6. All of your pictures are so beautiful but this last one is the most precious pictures I've seen of your Anne Marie!

    Your posts about your sweet baby continue to bring tears to my eyes each and every time I read them.

    I continue to pray for you!

  7. Anonymous10:56 AM

    This is amazing. Thank you so much for continuing to share her with us!

  8. Susie you are so right she looks beautifully peaceful.

  9. Anonymous2:36 PM

    Susie-- she is absolutely beautiful... By living this journey, you are truly making God bigger to a world who doesn't know him. As always, shedding tearson your behalf. BeckyDaily

  10. Anonymous8:22 PM

    I am heaving with sobs - I think she looks like an angel. She is in the arms of Jesus and He loves you all. Thanks for your open words and heart. She is beautiful.

  11. What a beautiful gift! I'm so glad God touched Chris' heart in such a way that he would work so diligently on providing you with that photo. I do think every photo of Anne Marie has touched my heart in one way or another. In viewing them, it is easy to see that she was/is a gift to her family as well as her family a gift to her. Love you guys.

  12. Vanessa2:44 AM

    she is so beautiful.

    hearing you talk about her being so swollen takes me back to when we were in the picu. when brock's eyes were swollen shut and his skin so tight that even a stethoscope would leave an indention, people would come into his room and sometimes they would say "oh he's so cute" and i would think "you don't know! you have no idea what he looks like. this isn't him."

    i love seeing pictures of anne marie. i wish i could've seen her in person. the last picture of her is beautiful. what a sweet, sweet gift.

  13. oh i love your pictures of anne marie. she is truly beautiful! what a sweet baby. i am so glad someone suggested NILMDS. what a wonderful gift. priceless. thank you for sharing.

  14. Anonymous3:34 PM

    What a beautiful, beautiful child of God! Thank you so much for sharing her with us.


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