Thursday, April 11, 2013

Meet Naomi

This is the video that my husband and I put together for Naomi's funeral service.  It would not have been possible to capture so much of Naomi's life if not for generous photographers and friends.  Thank you all so much.

Yesterday was the six week mark since Naomi's birth, and while that's not an "anniversary" it is usually a milestone mark in the life of a newborn.  Despite my delay in posting the video, I really do want many people far and wide to see it.  I did not wait because I was embarrassed or hiding her.  I just wanted to be 100% sure about sharing it because it's such a deeply personal thing to share.  I needed to be ready for both the attention and any possible negative reactions.  I'm a little nervous that I've lost the momentum that would have been there if I'd posted it immediately following Naomi's birth, when there was still a large and captive audience.  If you shared my blog during that time, please do it again so the same people who prayed for me then will see this now, and see where their prayers were heading.  And if you comment here on the blog instead of on Facebook, I will be able to look back and reread your messages of love and support anytime I want to in the future (although sometimes I have trouble figuring out who a comment came from if they only sign in with their common first name).

Yes, it's long (17 minutes) and the beginning might feel a little slow with lots of maternity photos, but it gets better after that. :)  For the squeamish among you, there are no graphic birth photos or any of Naomi without a hat on.  Her face is very dark, which is typical of babies with her condition.  Most importantly, she is beautiful.

Here she is...


75 comments:

  1. Beautiful, indeed. Like her mama.

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    1. Sorry Sarah -- publishing as my Google account apparently doesn't tell you that this is Kristi Hayes-Devlin. <3

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  2. LOVE LOVE LOVE
    Thank you for sharing!
    Ann Marie

    remembering Loren and Naomi Grace

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  3. Oh Sarah, Naomi is so beautiful. I am still so very sorry for your loss and continue to pray for you and your family. God gave you such a wonderful blessing when He chose you to be Naomi's mom. God bless you! -- Nicole

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  4. Beautiful, precious, and beloved. I'm so sorry you're not holding her now. Thank you for sharing her with us.

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  5. She is indeed beautiful and perfect. Thank you for sharing her life with us.
    LauraKC

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  6. What a beautiful tribute. It brought me to tears. Thank you for sharing Naomi with the world. You and your family are in my thoughts and prayers.

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  7. Thank you for sharing your daughter with us. I especially love the family photos at the end - all of your children are beautiful. Love and prayers for all of you.

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  8. Beautiful. Thank you so much for sharing. You have a beautiful family.

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  9. Absolutely beautiful. Thank you for sharing her and your wonderful family with all of us. So much love to you all.

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  10. The last few days I have been thinking a lot about the fact that you gave Naomi an incredible 15 hours of life here on this earth before going to Heaven. During that time she got to meet her earthly family, we got to meet her and she had the opportunity to know what it is to be truly loved. I have always been proud of you as a daughter and as a Mom but giving Naomi Grace life goes way beyond being proud, I'm in awe and thank God every day for you and Brian!
    Last week I had a student nurse doing clinical time with me and she told me she had a big project to do before she graduates. She was assigned a team and a topic for a debate to take place in the classroom for a major part of her grade. Having chosen life and given birth to son when she was 17, she is taking the pro-life stand. She was so impressed with your story that she is going to use it as part of her presentation. I gave her the sheet you made for the funeral and a picture of your family but now I can also give her this treasure. I love you, Mom

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  11. this is so beautiful and moving. I am touched by the joy on everyone's faces who got to hold her. I am overcome.

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  12. Oh Sarah there are not enough words to say how beautiful Naomi is and how so sorry i still am for your loss... You are indeed the most strongest woman i know... This video is just so beautiful and very touching thank you so much for sharing this special personal journey. God has blessed you with the most wonderful family and different the most beautiful blessings. Thoughts and prayers for your family always Again thank you so much for sharing this special blessing with us <3

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  13. Such a beautiful capture of your lives together. Thank you for sharing it with us. Naomi Grace is as beautiful as her name. I'm so sorry for such a tremendous loss.
    Kristin Clark Speltz

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  14. Beautiful, every moment. What devastating joy you share with all of us, showing us the beauty of your love for her and for each other. Thank you for allowing us to be a part of her life and your family's story. Sometimes we do what has been given to us to do, not because we want things the way they are but because that is our journey...grace is the only way. Prayers continue for your family.

    Emily/Em

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  15. Thank you for sharing your beautiful baby girl with us. Sending much love and many prayers for your little family. God bless you all.

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  16. You have a beautiful family. You gave Naomi the best possible life and that was so gracious of you to share it with everyone. These are beautiful memories that you have of her journey through life. I am sorry for the loss of your beautiful daughter. I pray for continued strength and healing for your family.

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  17. Thank you, Sarah & Brian, for sharing Naomi Grace with the world. Life is precious!

    I love you both!

    Dad

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  18. I watched this with my 2 year old son and he said "aww, baby" the whole time :) You are an amazing mama and your children are blessed to have you.
    amanda s

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  19. Thank you for sharing your journey. You have a beautiful family of five. Sending you peace and love.

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  20. Thank you for sharing your journey. You are such an amazing, strong woman to go through all of this. I am balling my eyes out watching this. You have such a beautiful family!
    ~Madison

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  21. Sarah and Brian,
    Thank you for sharing this beautiful, intimate, private moment. Naomi is absolutely perfect. I am so amazed by how lovely she is. I consider myself privileged to have been able to get to know her as much as I did. I am completely touched by her story. The world is better having been able to have her grace us with her life. She truly is an Angel and I believe she’s looking on after you all as a way to say thank you for taking such good care of her, and giving her life.

    The memory of this sweet baby, Naomi Grace, will live on through all of us.
    Thank you, again for sharing,
    Julia

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  22. Thank you for sharing this and your story. You are SO strong and she SO beautiful! I am so sorry for your loss.

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  23. I came undone at the baptism.
    I know we're pretty much just "former college acquaintances," but I absolutely, wholeheartedly, love you and your family.

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  24. You are an amazing person, woman, wife, mother, friend. I love how much love and time you and Brian put into this. Thanks so much for allowing me to view it before her funeral and today. And still if you need anything at all I'm here.

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  25. So beautiful Sarah, I'm so touched by Naomi's story and how blessed she was to have your family as her own.

    ~Melissa, Sean, Ryan, Devin and Brennan

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  26. So beautiful, Sarah! The pictures speak profoundly and the song selections are perfect. Thank you for sharing. Your family is in my prayers tonight.

    Love,
    Samara

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  27. Dear Sarah, How wonderful of you to share your precious moments with your dear daughter with the rest of us. Your open expressions of your journey through this difficult time have been an encouragement to me in my faith and I thank God for your precious family. May the Lord continue to encourage you and comfort you and make you a blessing to many. You may not remember me at all, but when you were a very little girl I sometimes cared for you and Christy and Paul. Love in Christ, Ruth Burge

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  28. So Beautiful thank you for sharing Naomi Grace with us we are so proud of you, Sarah and the entire family, its so private and yet such a wonderful gift to share her with all of us I know her great grandpa and the Dear Lord are holding here on her journey she is in safe loving arms
    Much love to all of you xoxoxox
    Linda LaCroix

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  29. Thank you Sarah. Such precious moments. We continue to pray for you. ~Rachel Parks

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  30. Your bravery and faith are inspirational. You are blessed to have a supportive family. Only in heaven will you know how profound an impact you have had on the watching world. Your maturity in spiritual things is way beyond your years. Continuing to pray for your sweet family. Thank you for sharing your precious memories of your sweet baby. Much love, Elice Shelton (Chris & Dave's mom)

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  31. She is so precious, Sarah. <3 ((hugs))

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  32. Sarah - she is beautiful! Thank you so much for sharing Naomi Grace with us.

    Continued prayers

    Linda

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  33. Oh, God, she was so, so, so beautiful Sarah! She was so, so, so beautiful. And this may sound odd, but I could totally see your and Brian's features in her lovely face. Her little fingers and toes and arms were so healthy and gorgeous, I'm so glad you shared some pictures of her in just her covered bum and bonnet.

    And I LOVED the pregnancy photos! That part was NOT SLOW at all! I loved the pictures at home of the kids holding her through your belly, and the gorgeous black and white shots of you while you were pregnant.

    The video editing was perfect. I love how you had a blinding white light come between the birth room photos and then of Naomi.

    And the songs were absolutely perfect.

    Oh, Sarah, she was so so so beautiful. I already loved her, I didn't think I could love her more til I saw her photo. Oh, she was so beautiful. And so strong -- I love the pictures of her holding your hand, and especially the wedding band pictures of all three of you holding hands. She fought to have some special time seeing your face before she went home.

    I have to chuckle, because I thought of mentioning to you having a special stuffed animal to remember her by to have with you in future family photos, but of course you already thought of that. I LOVE the little lambs. I'm so glad you got them and that Naomi got to cuddle with her little lamb. I hope that as the years pass, in at least one pose a piece, that your photos of all of you as a family have a place for Naomi's Lil' Lambie.

    I'm going to have to watch this video again. And I'm sure I will. There were so many beautiful photos, I want to come back again and comment on certain ones.

    So many remembrance videos share only the sadness that comes in situations like these -- you truly HONORED and REPRESENTED her life by having a song and portion in the middle that CELEBRATED THE JOY. She grew up playing in your womb, kicking and moving to the sound of love and laughter of her siblings and family on the outside. And she got to add the sight to that sound when she was born.

    Oh, Sarah, the video is so GOOD. That's the best word that comes to mind -- it was good in how it was made, yes, but that's not what I mean. Good is the right word, but it doesn't really say it right. The video was wholesome, and it filled with the WHOLE of her life and who she was.

    I'm so glad I got to meet her, and hold her through your pictures in the video.

    I love you Sarah. Thank you. ~Misty Mator

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  34. Sarah and Brian,

    Thank you for sharing your beautiful daughter and entire family with us. Your testimony of love and perseverance in the midst of a severe mercy is very God-glorifying.

    Blessings to all of you,

    Candy Magee (friend of Rachel and Matt Parks)

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  35. What a beautiful tribute to your precious daughter. Thank you for sharing her life and death with us. It is a privilege to have known of Naomi Grace. May she rest in the peace of Christ. And may His peace be upon your family in the coming weeks and months. Pax Christi.

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  36. Sarah, I wanted to add this to the page, so you can remember it when you re-read these comments.

    Tonight, before I came to watch the video, I shared this post on my facebook page, and I tagged you in it. Of all the days he (my oldest son) could have said this, he said this right after praying together at bedtime, and right before I came on here to watch the video. I believe that was because God specifically wanted it for you, to be shared with you.

    Here's my current facebook post:

    "Tonight at bedtime [my son] said to me:

    “Heaven is in your heart, Mom.”
    “Jesus is in your heart. Jesus is in heaven. So heaven is in your heart, Mom.”

    Considering that we hope our loved ones are waiting for us in heaven, I think this is one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever heard.

    Heaven is in your heart."

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  37. I will never be the same after seeing this. You have blessed us all, Naomi and Sarah and family. I am humbled and grateful for your courage and grief.

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  38. Sarah,
    You are beautiful, and Naomi is beautiful. Thank you for sharing her life with me and others. Her life was short but she has touched the hearts of many and will not be forgotten.

    Laurie (Kyleesmommy on Delphi)

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  39. Sarah, thank you for sharing. It was obvious in the video how much love surrounded Naomi Grace and your family.

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  40. I don't know you at all but based off the video, you are one hell of a mother and have one hell of a family. In the short time that little girl spent on earth...she was shown more love than some kids get their whole life. I'm sorry for your loss, very moving slide show,
    -Adam R.

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  41. Oh Sarah, I can't view it overseas, but I did want to share that you and your family are still in my prayers so often. I know that 6 weeks must be a hard time. ((((hugs)))) Aimee (Chicagoadv)

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  42. Oh, Sarah, she is INCREDIBLY beautiful. I love squishy little baby thighs and chubby little hands; hers were so perfect I just wanted to reach out and kiss them.

    K's face when she heard her little sister's heart beating was just priceless. I'm so glad your kids got a chance to make some lasting memories of their precious sister and I loved how gentle and loving they were to her.

    Such joy. Such love. Thank you for allowing us to share your precious time together.

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  43. I don't know what to add to all theose beautiful comments. I cried from the beginning to the end. It was a really beautiful homage to your daughter. She will not be forgotten.
    I am sorry for your loss and I keep you and my family in my prayers.
    thank you for sharing this journey.

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  44. Scott and I also cried pretty much through the whole thing. It was one of the most beautiful things I've every watched. You guys did an incredible job of putting this together, making it possible for the world to get an accurate picture of Naomi Grace's precious life story. From beginning to end, it just sang of her beauty and her worth as a child of God, created perfectly by Him to proclaim His majesty to the world. Powerful. Just so powerful. Thank you for opening up this very personal part of your lives and sharing your joy, your pain, your celebration, your loss . . . your adored daughter. We love you. ~ Scott and Kathy (and kids)

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  45. this is so completely beautiful and sacred, it took me all evening and night to recover from it and even now I'm not sure I have, and that's okay. I will surely not forget her beautiful self and remember forever what you have done. It's so rare to see God so powerfully reflected in someone's life, but it is in you: you are a tree of Life. I'm so in awe of how through trusting God you, and naomi, were able to bring about massive amounts of life, even through death. When our culture would have said, "death is all there is and all there could be", you both show us, "no, there is Life! lots of it!" I don't know if that makes sense or not, but to me its almost all I can see, other than the breathtaking love that surrounded and out poured from you. Love and Life...oh, so sacred. thank you for giving us a chance to know her more fully. I loved the maternity photos--it is so clear that you were the best and most beautiful home for her sweet chubby darling frame. But more than that I loved being able to meet her. thank you. thank you. thank you.

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  46. A beautiful tribute to your beautiful daughter. And an incredible testimony of life and hope, even in the midst of hurt. (from a friend of Rachel P.)

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  47. Beautiful and awe-inspiring. The music was perfect. I saw pure love in every photo.

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  48. Elizabeth Coleman (Boies) April 12th 2013
    This is very beautiful and touching there is a sense of Peace, tranquility, beauty and worth that is truly amazing. It has touched my heart and soul I can see that this is was done with such love and care,& sensitivity that it shines right through. Thank you for the very personal glimpse into your heart and life May God truly Bless, comfort, keep, guide and protect you and all of your family as you joy, cope and grieve your Beautiful Naomi Grace

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  49. Not many children can say that they've lived out their entire lives experiencing only unconditional love, but Naomi can.

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  50. This is a beautiful tribute to your daughter Naomi Grace. I have much to say but I am in tears right now, so I will just say *May God help ease the pain that you're feeling and heal the pieces of your broken heart. I pray He is holding your daughter in Heaven and she is now healed, whole and living with our Heavenly Father and Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.* Time takes time and you will always hold the memories of your precious angel close. God's blessings to you and your beautiful family!

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  51. Thank you for sharing your story. Beautiful tribute to Life! Blessings & Love! XOXOXOX

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  52. Thank you so much for sharing your beautiful Naomi Grace with us Sarah! It was indeed beautiful. I was so touched by the joy I saw on all your faces during the time you got to be with her and celebrate her life. I love you guys and I'm still praying for you. Even when life is so hard, our God is so good. Huge Hugs and blessings on you guys!

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  53. Beautiful, Sarah! Love in every picture. And the footprint in the Bible is perfect.


    Megan Rock

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  54. Sarah I love that there are so many maternity pictures! That was a large part of Naomi's life and your time with her. That is when she felt so much of your love and shared in so much of your family activity. When she learned the sound of your sweet voices, and felt the beating of your heart. When you shared your dreams and fears with her. When she was loved and wanted and part of your family. Never underestimate that part of her life! You were an amazing mom to her for much longer than that one precious day she was in your arms. HUGS!

    Amy Peterson

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  55. Such a beautiful girl!! It's clear to see the love everyone shared with Naomi. So glad that you were blessed with such precious time with her before she went home to heaven. Thank you for sharing her with all of us!

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  56. This is heart-breakingly beautiful. The love here is palpable and astonishing. I'm so sorry you had to lose her, and so glad you are able to love her and could hold her. Prayers continue for all of you.

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  57. Thank you, Sarah, for sharing that. So much incredible love and joy. You all will continue to be in my prayers.

    Erika Thompson

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  58. Dear Sarah and Brian, Thank you for sharing your profound story of love faith and courage. We look forward to meeting Naomi Grace in Heaven.

    All our love and prayers,
    Brenda Styer

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  59. Naomi Grace impacted the world more in her brief life than some people do in their entire 70 year lifetime. What an honor and privilege it is to get to know your precious angel and your family through your photographic journey. Because of your video, she will live on, touching lives, bringing joy, comfort and peace and giving each and every one of us a small window into heaven. There are so many life lessons here, and I think that as time goes on, the tremendous impact of Naomi's life in the world will become abundantly clear. Thank you for sharing your private, most intimate hours with a world so desperately seeking answers to their own pains and struggles. Thank you for sharing Naomi Grace with us all. The world is a better place because she was here. I know I speak for many when I say that she touched my heart and soul, and changed me. I will never be the same because of that sweet little breath of heaven. God bless and keep your family in His care. I will be praying for you all.

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  60. Hi Sarah - I'm re-posting this beautiful tribute to your family by Kathy Rosnow on your Blog She is as good at expressing herself as you are! I want her quote to be here so you can read it and be blessed many times over.

    "Friends of ours recently said hello and goodbye to their new baby daughter, Naomi. Early in the pregnancy, Naomi was diagnosed with a terminal condition called fetal acrania. It's a rare condition, and little is known about it - in part because most parents choose not to bring their children into the world after receiving the diagnosis. A baby with this condition is safe as long as she remains in the womb. It's only after birth that the diagnosis becomes terminal. Sarah and Brian chose life for their daughter, Naomi Grace, knowing what that meant to their hearts and to the hearts of their other children. They openly shared this journey with the world as they proclaimed the beauty and value of Naomi's brief sojourn in this world. They created this incredibly powerful video of that journey, allowing the world to peek into those precious hours spent with their daughter before she passed into God's arms, loved and surrounded by parents, siblings, aunts and uncles, grandparents, kisses, and music. She knew--really knew--love on this earth before she went Home. Take 15 minutes of your day and watch this. Walk through Naomi's life with them, feel the rhythm of the hidden song that proclaims this darling little girl to be a child of the King, created perfectly by Him to bring a message to the world. Weep with them in celebration and sadness. Please share it with others. The world needs to feel this, to know this, to hear the truth of Naomi's worth. The worth of every single life created by a loving, omnipotent Father." — with Sarah Russell.

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  61. This really is one of the most beautiful things I have seen in my life. I am sure I will never forget it. She is beautiful, and so is your whole family. My thoughts and prayers continue to be with you.

    Johnna (5xBlessedTHX)

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  62. Sarah and family,
    So, so much love to you all. Such a sweet and beautiful tribute to your beautiful daughter and clearly such a loving family. I cried my way through this video, my heart is so sad for you. I hope you are finding comfort in the love of your family and friends. Thank you for sharing your beautiful daughter.

    Heart hugs,
    Kimberly Gass

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  63. I missed this post until just now. So many tears from the beautiful memories of that amazing, blessed day. I feel so honored to have been able to meet your beautiful girl. It was a day I will never forget. Much, much love to your family now and always. God bless you all and keep Naomi close until you all meet again someday.

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  64. I was moved to tears when watching this. I have no words for the amount of beauty represented in all those photos. Thank you for opening your heart in sharing this video. You are such an amazing woman, wife, mother who truly loves with everything she has. Naomi can now say that you are her mommy - in fact she's probably bragging about it right now in heaven! ;) Much love to you and your family.

    -Jenn Whynot

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  65. I am so sorry for your loss. Her life was short but it's obvious how much love she experienced in those few hours.

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  66. What a beautiful video that is so full of love. We are all blessed to have known Naomi, even if it was through this video alone. May God continue to comfort you and your family as you keep on His walk until you are rejoined with Naomi in heaven. Thank you for sharing her with us.

    ~Kelly

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  67. I've had this page open in a browser tab since the day you posted it, trying to find the right words to say. There are no adequate words for the beauty and strength of you and your family, and your sweet little Naomi. I'm blessed to know you and to have you share your precious baby girl with me and the rest of the world. I'll continue to pray for all of you as you continue on this journey. And Sarah, you are amazing and inspiring to donate your milk for other babies. What a lovely and gracious thing to do despite your own grief and loss. <3

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  68. Sarah, this is a note I received from one of my co-workers. She has two little boys, 2 and 3. You may remember her as the one whose second little boy was born during a snow storm and I got to be her "substitute Mom."
    "I keep a picture of the tribute picture of Naomi right on our refrigerator. the boys and I have had many conversations about heaven because of it... it reminds me of the brevity of life and that verse to "teach us to number our days..." that we might be used for His glory like Naomi and Sarah has been used and is still being used in the proclamation His gospel."

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  69. What a beautiful tribute that both you the rest of the family will have to cherish for years. I'm blessed to have seen your strength and love for your sweet little girl and the beauty of the love her dad and siblings had as well.

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  70. That is one of the most heartbreakingly lovely things I've ever seen. So many prayers with you and yoru family.

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  71. Thank you for sharing precious Naomi Grace with us.

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  72. Sarah, this is from Hannah's sister in a message to me after watching the video; it was so sweet I wanted to share it with you!
    Deborah Graaff
    This is so beautiful; thank you such a lot for sharing. What an authentic testimony of perfect Love casting out all fear - especially with big brother and sister getting to make such peaceful and whole memmoreis with little sister before she went back to her heavenly Father. How is everyone doing now?

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