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The Year of Angel Claire

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

I’ve tried to write a post many times over the past year, without success.  The thought of sitting down and writing my thoughts about Claire and her life were too overwhelming.  Now, on the first anniversary of her becoming our Angel, I know the time is right.  This past year without Claire has been like none other.  Truly, truly, no parent should ever lose a child.  It just shouldn’t happen. The gut wrenching and heart breaking pain is sometimes almost too much to bear, and yet others have gone through it, and sadly more will experience this type of tragic loss.  The year has been one of loss, change, pain, smiles, hugs and faith.  The loss has been great, the change substantial, the pain deep, the smiles sunshine, the hugs uplifting and the faith sustaining and solid.  My mantra of Moving Forward with Faith has been tested and tried many, many times.  Some days it’s been easy to stand and walk forward, others just to stand has felt insurmountable, and others still just leaning forward with intent has been enough, but without the act of looking forward with faith, I don’t know how one would get through.  I know that Claire is in a wonderful place, free from pain, released from the confines of her body.  She is free, she is happy and she is with us always.  She shows herself in small yet meaningful ways, just seen and felt by those who need her most.  The boys have had their experiences, sweet and tender.  I have had my tender mercies that show she’s a part of me, and Mike too has felt her loving arms.  She was a gift, cherished and treasured, that we were so lucky to be entrusted to care for her for 8 years. She has shaped and molded us into the people we are today.  I am so proud of the boys, the young men that they are becoming, the tenderness and love that they feel towards others.  They have gone through a very tough thing, but Braeden and Sam are resilient and strong, and they will grow to be wonderful men.

I can’t thank friends and family enough.  The texts, phone calls, letters that have been received have provided such comfort in knowing that Claire hasn’t been forgotten.  I’ve missed her medical family……and sadly I have to admit I haven’t had the courage to visit the hospital and clinic to let them know how much we love them, how much a part of our lives they became, and this incredible common goal we all had in giving Claire the best care she could possibly experience.  She could not have been more loved by her doctors and nurses.

I’ve taken to sleep every night wrapped tightly in one of her cozies (larger versions of her smaller minkies), I have taken them on trips and one is usually close by me.  I know when I wrap it around me, that Claire is loving me too.  It’s her way of giving me a hug and being right by my side.  The boys have their minkies too.

Re-entry into the world has been more of a challenge than Iwould have thought, it’s slowly coming along. I do love having opportunities to help others, I feel there is an infinite well of service that needs to repayed. We were the recipients of such love and service for so long, it’s a blessing and a treasure to help  someone else in need.  It completes the circle and allows us to be of support to one another. I know that we are not here on this earth to go through experiences alone.  People are brought into our lives to help and uplift us, and we have our opportunity to do the same for others.

I want my Heavenly Father to know that it was an honor and a treasure to care for Claire.  To have her for almost 8 years was an experience never to be repeated and one that is beloved and cherished.  We have lost some of Claire’s dear friends in the last several months, and it brings me peace knowing that they are all together, Claire, Dick and Paul, watching down on their respective families and listening to Claire boss them around!

This particular chapter is closed, always to be part of ourlives, but our blessing and challenge is to now move forward.  Forever remembering Claire and what she has taught us, but to move forward.  She always said “No Sad. Be Happy”, and I know we are trying our best to follow the flaming red-headed Princess Diva. 

Knuckles, kisses and hugs......We love you Claire.


Humbly with love and peace,


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Stacy Speicher
Debbie - such a beautiful and moving tribute to Claire. As you said, you were lucky to care for her for 8 years, but she was lucky too, to know the warmth and love of such an incredible family. As always, you and your family are in my thoughts and it makes me so happy to know that Claire is always with you. Thank you for sharing her and her journey with us. You've taught all of us about courage, patience, grace and above all - love. xoxo Stacy
Julie Sarchet
By Julie Sarchet
Thank you for sharing! Your journey is inspiring as hard as it may be. This to will make you stronger. Love you and miss you. Hugs!
Jill Hoopes
By Jill
This is beautiful, Debbie. I have thought so much about you and your family over the past several days. Thanks for sharing your faith and perspective. You are inspiring!!! :) xoxo
Nancy Hill
By Nancy Hill
Claire's photo is in my office, my home and our hearts. She is a treasure on earth and in heaven. Thanks for sharing Debbie...I wrap my arms around you and your family.
Lynne Sailer
Hi Debbie, Mike, Sam & Braeden: your love and courage is immeasurable. Dearest Claire touched so many of us as you all as well. Special blessings this Easter season and continued prayers for your hearts. Love, lynne
Holly Gray
By Holly Gray
Such a beautiful tribute to a remarkable little girl. Your posts have always brought tears to my eyes and this one is no different - your strength, focus and resolve have always been such an inspiration, Debbie. I know that you were blessed to have Claire in your lives for 8 years, but little Claire Bear was so lucky to have you all as her family - such amazing love and faith. Will be thinking of you on your continued journey to find peace and fulfillment. xoxo
carol brown
Thank you Debbie for sharing your deepest thoughts and feelings with all of us. So beautifully expressed.
You and your family continue to be in our prayers every day. You are a very amazing person, and your faith and strength is such an inspiration to me. Love and Hugs xxoo Carol Brwon
tami glauser
By Tami Glauser
Thank you for sharing your thoughts about Claire-bear with us. She truly is missed. I think of her red hair and her pink and her spunk! She knew what she liked and what she didn't like and so did everyone else. I love that about her. She touched so many lives. Our hearts will never be the same. You and your family have been an example of perseverance and of love. I miss seeing you. Now when I am at the hospital with Kade... I ask the nurses if they know Claire and they all do. She is one in a million! Love you...
Marilyn Haymond
How tender & loving were your thoughts, Debbie. Yes, much love and support was given to your family in time of need, but in return, through your pain and expressions of faith and love, you have lifted and carried those of us that shared in Claire's journey. Claire will always be your angel watching over you and the family that she loves so much. We love each of you, too!
Sandra Francis
By Sandy Francis
Debbie: This was so beautifully written and heartfelt. I know you have faith and I know you also are a strong, beautiful daughter of a Heavenly Father, who loves you. You have shown great strength and courage and will be an anchor for your boys. All of you will grieve and that is ok. Please know that you are not alone, angels are watching over you....and have been all along. You are loved by so many and as all of us, at one time or another, will suffer pain or grief, your example will never be forgotten and will be a help and comfort to all. Love and prayers.