Thursday, April 23, 2009


I've had to talk myself into coming to the blog. It's been a horrible week for my family--the worst you could imagine. Last Tuesday, April 14, my 12-year-old niece, Elizabeth, unexpectedly died. I don't want to go into details. I'm not sure I should even being doing this right now, but writing has always been my therapy. I've questioned whether I should make my blog private now, because I have all kinds of things going through my head that I *really* need to get out, so I'm still thinking and praying on all of this. I don't know if I may need to (have to) use the blog as a way to share her story with others that may need to hear it. I know her life was a gift to me. Maybe I need to pass it on.

Or not. Maybe this is just too much. It really feels like too much. Our hearts are broken, full of questions that may never get answered. Regret. Guilt. Anger. Sadness. I honestly don't know where I'd be without my faith right now. It is helping me reel all these feelings in, that at any second could take me down. My faith is helping me wait and trust in something bigger than me, cuz I know that I alone am not enough.

If you are the praying kind, please whisper a prayer for my family, especially my sister, Star. Elizabeth was her only daughter.

Last Saturday, April 18th, was Elizabeth's 13th birthday. We held her memorial service on that day. I want to share what I read at the service for Elizabeth. For Elizabeth. I wrote a letter to her. We used to call her "Little Bit". I talked with my sister about putting my letter on my blog. She gave me her permission.

Little Bit,
I don’t know how to start this. I shouldn’t be writing this. It feels all wrong. But there are things I need to say out loud. First of all…I love you, I love you, I love you. You are so loved. I know that you are fine now, that you are in the place where we yearn to be—with our Heavenly Father. That you have met Jesus. That you are so happy right now. That even without all of your loved ones here, you are surrounded by family members and love there.

But I miss you. Over the last few days I have thought of so many things. So many memories. I want to share some of them with you. Since you were born I have always loved the fact that you kind of took after me. I don’t know if anyone else could see it, but I saw it. You reminded me so much of myself growing up. I liked to point out (over and over) how much you looked like me as a kid—“She has my legs…my raspy voice…my hair…” I could really see it and I loved it. I loved the fact that you had a crooked pinky finger…a familial trait that had been passed down from my mom’s (your Grandma Gay’s) side of the family. Remember Aunt Pat had the very same crooked pinky? I loved that. I loved the fact that you were like a little momma. That was me too, as a kid. You were in your element when you were around children…you had a way with them and it was so natural for you. You were also a tomboy like me, tough as nails and scrappy. You had a great love for all creatures, great and small. And didn't mind digging in the dirt to find those small creatures. Despite that, you loved to dabble in the pretty too and noticed the beauty around you.

You loved. Every time we got together with you, it was obvious how much you loved your family. All of us. I loved seeing you with my girls—again, the little momma, but not “too cool” to get down and play with the “little kids”. Olivia and Addy would always follow your name with an exclamation point or three! “Elizabeth is coming!!!” (exclamation point, exclamation point, exclamation point) They adored you. It must have been endless for you at times…all the hide and seek, the dress up, the trampoline…but you were good about it…right there with them. I remember you always loved to pick them up like babies and carry them around, again, a little momma. You would even carry them up stairs…all superhero like—with them just giggling away. They loved it.

When I saw you in January, I left you feeling good. It had been a good visit. I noticed how very huggy you were. You were hugging everyone…Caren, your mom, ME. That was a little bit new for me personally—the result of living across the country from you for most of your life. I absolutely loved your hugs, Elizabeth. I had a few to catch up on. I also noticed that you were as tall as me…maybe taller. That’s not right…the aunt should be taller, but it just proved to me that you were growing up. I noticed you were wearing a little make up. You had a new “stylish” hair cut. You told me about a boyfriend. You were reading the “Twilight” series (in love with a vampire…like your aunt Rachael, me and everyone else). We talked about how you loved all the songs to “Mama Mia” and hated math. You had all the “items” of a full on teenager. It was so good to see.

About nine years ago, before I had kids, I was into writing poetry. A lot of it. It was my way to get everything out. I knew you had a gift for writing—again, something I loved that you and I had in common. I encouraged you to keep it up and to feed that creativity. This week I was looking back over old poems I had written and found one I had specifically written for you. Looking over it, I tried to remember what had inspired me to write it, and imagine it was just over my utter frustration at living so far away from you and not being part of your everyday life—that I was missing out on everything. I had all of these mothering instincts for you…or auntie instincts…that I was too far removed from you to do anything about. So you can bet that every moment I had with you over the last couple of years, was precious, Elizabeth…a chance. I thank God for our time with you in Maryland. It was a good long period of time to just be with you. I’m so glad that all of our family back east got the chance to meet you—to experience Elizabeth. I thank God he made it possible for my family to move back to Portland, that He gave my family, my little girls, a chance to know you. I thank God for every minute with you Elizabeth. For every chance.

This will be hard for us, left behind. We do and will miss you terribly. Our faith will get us through this difficult season. We know that you are with our Heavenly Father. That you are in the place we yearn to be. You have met Jesus, and we will see you again. I love you.

Ever since I found the poem I had written for you, I have seen butterflies everywhere. Every time I turn around, somehow there is a butterfly. In the most random places too. I can’t help but see it as a sign from God…a small comfort.

By Sunshine Buzo—For Elizabeth

I wish I could defend
you from the terrible
Fold my hands around
you, a cocoon to sleep
in, small and determined
Only to wake from,
warm light peeking
through, charming
you to open your colossus
wings and fly away
with each indigo swoop

Friday, April 10, 2009

Next Up...

I just never know what these squirrels will do next. I do know, I will laugh.

Dressing up out of Mom's closet...

The girl has to go to sleep with TWO night lights and the hall light on...and then I find her like this...

Wednesday, April 8, 2009