Friday, June 22, 2007

My Eulogy to My Lovely Daughter, As Read June 21, 2007

Our dear daughter has slipped the surly bonds of Earth to touch the face of God. She leaves a huge emptiness in the hearts of all of us who loved her, many who were her friends, and even more who just had a glimmer of her through our family.

It’s cliché, but Brianna was truly beautiful inside and out. You could feel her energy when she was near. She was 17, bubbly, outgoing, vivacious, funny, silly at times and just simply like no other. She wanted to try all things new and was not afraid. Brianna enjoyed life and was eager to taste all that it offered.

We planned to go to Paris, as part of her Make a Wish. She wanted to see Alaska and she would have loved to experience Japan. She liked almost anything that had an Asian flair, and loved sushi. While she was in the hospital, we made plans for the family to go back and visit Memphis to enjoy her favorite sushi restaurant. Also, she wanted to bask in the sun while sitting in the lovely backyard of our dear friends and neighbors Alissa and Steve.

I’m telling you these things because some of you only knew Brianna through me and didn’t get a chance to be impressed by her, like so many were upon first introduction. Those of you who did know her, realize that we will miss her laugh, her funny little squeals, and the sparkle in her big blue eyes.

She had a wide taste in music from Johnny Cash to Green Day. She loved to dance and to to concerts. Brianna’s love of art varied from large scale stencils and street art to abstract and the masters. Her room is a collection of Hello Kitty, quirky signs, doodles from friends and her own hand and different little things she found interesting. She had a knack with her camera and would take candid pictures of friends and even herself. She made so many, many friends in her short life.

Brianna really had it all. She was beautiful and smart and warm and caring. She would have been deciding this summer if she were going to attend an art school in New York and follow her passion of creating hand crafts, sewn bags, stenciled clothes, journaling or painting. Or, if she would take the more practical approach and head to MIT and follow her love of math and chemistry.

She and John shared a close father/daughter relationship. They had similar personalities looking for adventure and a willingness to move to new cities and see the world. Brianna would turn to him for advice about school, college choices and career. He was the champion of her dreams. When she was worried, she’d go to him and he’d calm her fears, ending their conversation with a hug and “I love you baby.”

Brianna loved her brother Trevor immensely. She shared a special bond with him that only comes from being close siblings and close friends. You would hear them talking together in one of their rooms, or exchanging knowing glances and laughing about something, and relying on one another when alone. Every night they told each other I love you before going to bed.

Brianna and I shared a closeness that only a mother and daughter can. We laughed together and cried. She loved to create almost anything and I indulged her. We’d go shopping and she’d find yet another purse to bring home and add to her growing collection. She began to take more of an interest in vintage clothing and antique items, and we’d go to the antique market or thrift shops together looking for unique treasures. I would often turn to her for an opinion on a piece of art I was creating.

Brianna and her friends Chelsea and Nina would come over and hang out in my studio and make jewelry, painted shirts, altered tees and whatever their hearts desired. Or, they’d be in the kitchen cooking up a new recipe Brianna found and wanted to try. You’d hear them all giggling and sharing stories. Brianna would always make more to share with the rest of the family. She was so considerate.

Most importantly, Brianna was brave, courageous and strong. In the hospital, she made plans to start a garden and begin a regular exercise program when she was well. She crocheted a frosted cupcake and donut with beaded sprinkles, and she met the winner of last year’s Suvivior series. The doctors, nurses and other care professionals were touched by her sweetness and fortitude. And they saw her willingness to do what had to be done to get well, often called her a “trooper.” Really, she was a warrior.

She lived only a short 8 months after her diagnosis of MDS, and of those four were in the hospital. She fought with all her might after undergoing a bone marrow transplant and getting a lung infection in February. I stayed with her sleeping in the room until two months ago, when Brianna was admitted to the intensive care unit with pneumonia. She was unconscious for almost the entire time. I held her hand often in the hospital and stroked her brow, massaged her feet, encouraged her, talked to her and told her I loved her. The cruel part is that she was so close. Just a week and a half ago, she was communicating with me and the nurses picking music to play and pointing. Then, last Tuesday her heart temporarily stopped from bleeding in the lung. By Thursday, it was evident she would not recover and on Friday I held her hand, pressed it to my face and kissed her for the last time.

I want her near me, to feel her cheek pressed against mine and her arms wrapped around me squeezing me like she did, and say “Mom, I love you. I’m so glad you’re my mom.” Or when she hugged John and I and said “I’m so glad you’re my parents.” We strove to give Brianna roots and wings, we just never thought she’d fly so high, she would soar beyond our reach. My dearest darling, we will miss you forever and can’t wait for the day when we can be together again to laugh, share, hold each other and say I love you.

Brianna has gone into the light and is now free.


Angela said...

I have only just found your blog and really have no words that can express what I already feel for your family. I do want you to know that I will be praying for you all and if it is ok will pass your family on to my prayer chain at church.

Kingfisher Farm said...

Iva, (((((((((((((HUGS)))))))))))) Pam

Kitty Forseth said...

Oh Iva....

Your eulogy was so beautiful and you read it with such love. What an amazing tribute to your beautiful daughter.

We love you Iva,


CCs Whimsies said...

Your words were beautiful and you are quite a warrior yourself, my dear Iva. Brianna will always be with you...May her wings carry you through all the moments of sadness, frustration, emptiness, and aching. Much love to you..Christy

Tracie Lyn Huskamp said...


I am so very sorry for your loss. Nothing will ever replace your beautiful child, but I do know that she will always be by your side.

I am positive that she will be waiting at the gates of heaven to welcome her most beloved family one day.

Wishing you all peace and light!

Tracie Lyn

Unknown said...

such a beautiful tribute to your darling girl...Thank you for sharing this...I will keep you all in my prayers...

chelseatroper said...

Your words are so beautiful, Iva. Thank you for letting me into your life. I will be seeing you soon so we can enjoy some Paula Dean peanut butter sandwiches, banana and all, how Brianna liked it. I will miss her greatly, and I am so sorry for your loss of a friend and daughter.

Anonymous said...

Such a beautiful eulogy. Thankyou for sharing that with us. I appreciate seeing her through your eyes.

Sam I Am said...

Im so very sorry Iva.
Your Eulogy was beautiful. You are an amazing woman.. your strength puts me in awe. Brianna has touched so many lives..and has brought so many people together thru this.. I hope that you find some comfort in knowing that.
we love you...

Anonymous said...

I am still going through my own personal grief...
Thank you for sharing this with us! I want to know ALL I can about Brianna....more and more...
She is on an adventure now, and WE will All be with her you so much jojo

Donna O'Brien said...

Sweet Iva, the service for your Brianna was lovely. I was in awe of your strength throughout the day. Your words to and about Brianna were so beautiful. Thank you for sharing her with all of us. We have grown to love her and will miss her, too.
Love, Donna

Erla Erlingsdóttir said...

Dear Iva.
I found out about your blog through Ullabenulla, and your incredible, senseless journey.
Thank you for giving people like myself an insight into your heart.
What a lucky girl, Brianna was to have you and the rest of the family to support her through this all too soon passing.
My true condolences.
Much love
Erla in Vienna

Dana said...

Dear Iva,

I know I have only been able to *meet* you through blog land, but Brianna's journey kept me coming back for updates and to find out how I could specifically pray. I'm just a stranger to you, but please know that you will remain in my prayers. I was Brianna's age when God called my beloved Daddy home. He was only 39 and he was my hero. The way you described Brianna and John brought back a flood of memories of my own father. I'm on the flip side, and I can not imagine losing one of my children. But please know my heart just aches for the pain and loss you are going through.

God bless and keep you,

CraBBy GaBBy said...

Dearest Iva and Family, I am greatly sadend, and lift you up in prayer. I want to thank you Iva for sharing such a privite moment in your life..letting us live through Brianna through You. I never did meet Brianna, or you. But I can't help to feel close to your family....Again..much prayers of peace being said for you and your family ~ Heidi

Morgan Moore said...

She is such a beautiful girl. I'm so sorry you are having to go through this. I hope you feel her around surrounding you, as I know she is there.


FrenchGardenHouse said...

What a lovely tribute to your daughter. May God comfort you during this time, I know your family and all who knew Brianna will miss her greatly.

Lidy Baars

BO said...

Love to you and your family from Norway. I will never forget your beautiful daughter.

pchickki said...

I am so sorry for your loss. I can't even imagine the pain your family is going through right now. I lost a very dear friend 3 years ago and she was only 27 years old. It leaves such a void in your heart.
God Bless Brianna and may God take her in his arms to dwell in heaven forever.

God Bless you and your family

Stacy French said...

Dearest Iva,
Thank you for allowing me to read your beautiful Eulogy to Brianna.
Your courage and faith and kindness, I can only hope to aspire to. Know that my heart and prayers will always be with you and those you love.

Doreen Frost said...

Iva. I am so very sorry. I'm praying for you and your family. What a beautiful tribute you have written.

God Bless

mystele said...

My prayers are with you and your family. I just read your blog today due to other crafters who have linked to your site. You are loved.

nature lover said...

Dear Iva,
Thank you for sharing the beautiful Eulogy of your BEAUTIFUL DAUGHTER.
I found this poem I wanted to share.

The Cord

We are connected,
My child and I, by
An invisible cord
Not seen by the eye.

It's not like the cord
That's connects us 'til birth
This cord can't be seen
By any on earth.

This cord does it's work
Right from the start.
It binds us together
Attached to my heart.

I know that it's there
Though no one can see
The invisible cord
From my child to me.

The strength of this cord
Is hard to describe.
It can't be destroyed
It can't be denied.

It's stronger than any cord
Man could create
It withstands the test,
Can hold any weight.

And though you are gone,
Though you're not here with me,
The cord is still there
But no one can see.

It pulls at my heart
I am bruised...I am sore,
But this cord is my lifeline
As never before.

I am thankful that God
Connects us this way
DEATH can't take away.

Author Unknown

Peace and Love to your family,


Meg/Patterson Crow said...

Thank you for sharing your eulogy with us, Iva. My heart is broken for you and your family; there are no other words to describe how sad I feel. I hope you understand how right you are when you say Brianna was exceptional and beautiful inside and out. So many of us have made it a point to get to "know" her, and have shed countless tears from only reading your words and seeing photographs you've shared.

Your ability to stay strong in the past months has been an inspiration. Without a doubt, Brianna counted herself lucky to have a mother fighting for her every step of the way. May all of your good memories help you to heal and, eventually, to create art again.

Much love and hugs,

dan said...

That was a beautiful eulogy given by a beautiful mom to a pretty daughter and i found this very helpful when preparing this post for my readers. God bless you for sharing this with us.