Friday, April 03, 2009


Tonight was visitation for Carleigh at the funeral home. Anthony and I got there around 4:30 pm. Visitation didn't officially start until 6 pm but we had people come before then. I wanted to get there early so I could spend some time with Carleigh and hold her. I was so glad to see her. They had put some of the makeup on her face and it looked kinda funny but I know they were just trying to make her color a little more normal. It didn't look bad by any means. After we had got there I realized I had forgotten Carleigh's fuzzy pink blanket to hold her in so once my dad got there he went back to our house to get it for me. I was going to wait to hold her until I got the blanket but I just couldn't wait that long. I ended up holding her pretty much the whole time. Anthony held her for a few minutes along with a couple of my family members-Jayme and Amber. Jayme is married to my cousin Bryan and Amber is my cousin. (Amber is due with her baby in May and she is the one who will be getting my breast milk.) We had lots of people come to the visitation. Thank you to everyone who came-friends, family, and coworkers. The time flew by so quickly. Before I knew it the visitation was over and people were making their way home or to a nearby hotel for tomorrow's services. We finally left around 9 pm. I didn't want to put Carleigh back in her casket but I knew I had to. Afterward we went to the Holiday Inn Express in town to eat some pizza with our family and friends staying at the hotel and then we went home. I'd just like to say, too, that the hotel has been very accommodating and nice (so I've heard) and we really appreciate that. They gave everyone attending Carleigh's services a discount and they even sent Anthony and me a sympathy card.

Thank you to those who have sent us flowers, gifts, and money. We plan on donating any money we get to the Neural Tube Defects Research Fund at Duke. Thank you to anyone who directly donates to them. It means a lot to have you support such a great area of research on Carleigh's and our behalf.

I have to share a wonderful surprise I got this evening. When Pastor Mark arrived at the funeral home we had a shipping envelope with him. In the envelope was a gift from Sue from the website My Forever Child. (I put the link to her site under "Helpful Websites" awhile ago.) Sue has been following Carleigh's blog and was touched by our strong faith and devotion. She expressed her sympathy for the loss of our daughter and let us know that she engraved a charm from Carleigh's footprints from the blog so that we could keep a piece of her wherever we went. The charm is on a bracelet and on the backside of the charm it has Carleigh McKenna and her birth date. She also sent a small bag of pins for our family members to wear. I was so shocked by her thoughtfulness and her kindness. I never expected to get such a wonderful gift! I absolutely love my bracelet and my family was very excited about getting pins to wear. (Sorry pics are so blurry-I took them with my cell. The pin says "Always in my heart.") Thank you so, so much Sue! She also sent a few cards with a little poem written on them. The poem is called My Forever Child and was written by her and it is lovely! (Click link to read.)


Amanda said...

Hi Holly. The bracelet is beautiful! I'll continue to pray for you and your family. I'm so sorry that you have to deal with this. *hugs*

Penny said...

What a beautiful keepsake!

Holly I hope that tomorrow is a perfect celebration day for your family and friends. I pray God's grace and peace to cover you all so that you can remember every sweet moment.

Prayers for sweet Carleigh and your family........

MommyIvy said...

Stay strong Momma! I wish I could be there to help you in this time of sorrow. By the way, that bracelet is beautiful.

stitchndeb said...

I was really nervous for you wondering how last night would go. That's really cool that the hotel was so nice. I love the bracelet you got from My Forever Child. I had been contemplating getting something from there to remember my baby Claudia and now I know I definitely want to order from them. I'm praying for you today, Holly, and asking God to give you peace. ~Debbie

Celia said...

Holly, it sounds as though you had a wonderful experience at Carleigh's viewing. I am so glad that you got to hold Carleigh in your arms again. That must have been truly amazing.

And what a wonderful keepsake that you were given - that bracelet is beautiful!

Still thinking of you....

Sailor and Co said...

I dont know you. I love you. Thank you for teaching all of us about true mother's love. you are beautiful.

Jen McG said...

I heard about your blog the other day on Cafemom. The minute I started reading it, I knew you were an amazingly strong woman and mother. I want to thank you for sharing your story with has really opened my eyes to a lot of things and it makes me even more grateful for the small things in life. Your strength is inspiring and hopefully contagious also, as I know everyone could use more. Good luck with everything that comes your way. :)

Emily said...

Those are beautiful, and just another reminder of how lucky we all are to get to hear Carleigh's story through you, Holly. I know that today is going to be the hardest of all and I am praying extra hard for you and your family.

Emily Johnson (Emmy_Dollface)

Anonymous said...

Wow those are beautiful! I just wanted to let you know I am thinking of you! Sorry I couldn't stay longer and sorry again for being late! Like I said I drove like a mad woman to get down there!! I'm bummed I didn't get a chance to look at Carleigh's scrapbook!

Anyways, thinking of you hun!


Sarah (Lovemy918-CM) said...

The gifts are BEAUTIFUL!! I'm taken by your strength. We're continue to keep you all in our prayers

Laura said...

What a lovely bracelet! That is so nice of her to do that. So sweet!
Love, Laura (emslala)

Anonymous said...


I left a comment on here the night of Carleigh's visitation, but for some reason it never posted. I wanted to say that I had agreed with Aunt Nancy's post. When I arrived at the funeral home and saw you, I was amazed at your strength and composure. I felt like I too needed to be strong for you and Anthony and I held in my tears. I too like Aunt Nancy came home and cried. I cried because I am so proud of how elegantly you have planned and carried out the funeral arrangements. I cried because I feel so sorry that Kyndra will not know her baby sister until they meet in heaven. I cried because it hurts me to know that you and Anthony are going through this. I cried because I am thankful for my beautiful healthy children and I don't know if I could handle something like this if it were to happen to me. I am sure that at times you don't feel as strong and you aren't sure how you are going to make it through the day, but then you do and you do it so gracefully. Lastly, I cried because in my career I see women come in day after day and deliver babies that they do not want, I see patients come in who have abused drugs and or alcohol during their pregnancy and still have healthy babies. I know that it is all in God's plan, but I don't understand why unwanting mothers and undeserving mothers are blessed with miracles and you and Anthony had to let your miracle go to Jesus so soon. I know that God has his reasons for doing things but sometimes I don't think I will ever fully understand his plan. I finally dried my tears and prayed for strength for myslef and for you and your family. I prayed for Carleigh, that she will grow and prosper in her new home in heaven. Something else I wanted to tell you is how honored I was to be able to hold your little angel in my arms. I will never forget the fact that you were willing to share her with me. Words cannots express the emotions I felt when you placed her in my arms. She was so beautiful and angelic. She looked like she was at peace and that was reassuring to me. I could definitely understand why you wanted to hold her and not put her down. I admire you Holly, you are such an incredible mother and you are so strong. Carleigh was blessed when God gave her to you. I cannot imagine what it will be like for you in the coming days. Please know that we are thinking of you every single day and are praying that God will continue to guide you through these trying times. If you need anything, please don't hesitate to call.

With Love,
Jayme and Bryan

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