Thursday, March 19, 2009

Andie's Eulogy

Written so beautifully by her Daddy.

Andie’s life may have been short lived, but the impact she left on us, and so many others that will never even know her - will live on forever.

Andie was, and still is, a wanted baby. We were very excited to know she was coming into this world to have us – as a family with our other children – Jessica, Chelsea, Brogan, Eric and Boston. We never knew we would be tested in this manner. But we know she has a purpose from God. A purpose that we can only admire as her parents.

Usually in this case of someone passing away – the speaker would have years to reflect upon, and know what to say about there loved one. We only had three weeks to know who our little girl was and who she was supposed to be.

In those three weeks we found out she would awake in the middle of the night – so I could get up and find her looking around for us to come and talk to her. I would tell her mommy - and that gave us the time to speak with her. We knew she would raise her hand around during the day to say – “hey, I’m over here, Come see me”.

We learned how she liked to hold onto our fingers while our hands were in the crib. We learned how she loved having her head stroked by her mommy to make her fall asleep. We learned she like having her mommy read her books and as she looked at the pictures. We learned she loved to grab her breathing tube and scare the nurses, making them think she was going to pull it out. But her mommy and I knew it was a something she held onto and she wouldn’t pull it out. We learned what side she liked to lay on - her left side. We learned she like to grab my nose when I put my face near hers. We learned she had big round blue eyes like her mommy and the chins of her daddy. We learned how much she enjoyed listening to Celine Dion. We learned when she would be awake and when she slept. We learned she liked playing with one of her tubes with her feet. She would always have one tube between her big and second toe.

What did we learn from her? -

I know she brought her family closer. Her mommy and daddy. Her brothers and sisters, Her grandparents, uncle and aunts, and so on. I never met most of Brooke’s family that’s here with us now for this occasion. But as Brooke said – we have gathered for the wrong reason. We should be gathering together to bring Andie home for everyone to meet.

I know she taught us the meaning of gratitude towards our family. We thank our family for being with us everyday at the hospital – showing us your support. We love you and words cannot share our thanks for you.

I know she impacted the world with her developments everyday. Almost 40,000 people learned about our Andie just through her blog. I want to thank Brooke’s sister Kelly for starting Andie’s blog. It took so much pressure off of Brooke and I – so we wouldn’t have to repeat her progress every five minutes. We are still amazed at the number of emails we receive daily from people around the world showing their sympathy and support during this time.

I know she touched the staff at the hospital where she spent her life. I’m not saying that the other children on that floor don’t impact the staff. But I know that Andie has touched their hearts like she was the only child there. And they made us feel Andie was their only patient on the floor.

I know that Andie has placed the grace of giving into the hearts of so many.

I know she was an educator. She taught us the meaning of unity. How so many people could unite with us during this time? She showed us you don’t need to know someone to understand that they care.We know the meaning of giving and what the word support means. She taught us that there are people out there that put others in front of themselves.

We know she taught us the blessings her mother and I have in front of us. The true meaning of friendship. How our friends could come to our rescue during this time to cry with, to lean on, to laugh with and to have them there to listen to us whenever we needed someone to talk to.

We know she taught us that we are not the only ones to lose a child. That we have others close to us – that have lost a child too. And brought them to us to lean on. Because of the many of friends and family we have leaned on, no one can truly know what we are going through except the ones that have been in our same shoes. Our hearts go out to them.

There are so many other things our little Andie has taught us, showed us, opened our eyes to, and how to have strength.

Andie fought a fight that we could not imagine anyone going through. To see what Andie had to endure during her time, it has opened our eyes to the word strength. Even though most of the time she rested calmly – she would awaken and look at us with a sparkle in her eye. Sometimes we could see her give us a smile through all her tubes and wires that was treating her. I could never imagine myself being that strong.

I was compelled to write shortly after Andie passed away. Brooke and I held her and talked to her while she passed away in our arms. It’s a moment we will always have in our hearts. We told her how much we loved her, how proud we were of her, how strong she was, and how sorry we were.

But after we laid her back in her crib, Brooke got her dressed. I had a moment to sit down and felt like I needed to share with the huge family from around the world Andie created during the short time she was here – that she had passed away. I wrote that even though she was here for only 3 weeks, we loved her like she’s been here for 300 years.

I said - We will always love her and miss her like no other. She is very special to us and to everyone that has met her, and has a purpose that only God knows. We are not angry but sad we couldn't share our life with her here. She is so beautiful and has a special presence that surrounds her. We know that she will be in heaven waiting for us. She will always be with us in spirit watching over us.We told our boys that she is with us – and even though they may be too young to understand. One day they they’ll know. Andie will talk to them when they least expect it.

I know Andie will be by Brooke’s side everyday and wants her mommy to be strong and understand her purpose. Brooke spent everyday with Andie and was not going to come home without her. She felt it wasn’t fair for her to come home without Andie. I admire Brooke for being Andie’s mommy.I wrote this from my heart but I could not have wrote this without Brooke. She has given me the strength to write this from the both of us.

So how do I end this talk? I end it with what I know about Andie. I know Andie died in a way that is honorable, courageous, valiant, and unselfish. Because Andie didn’t have a textbook condition – the doctors learned new treatments that will benefit so many children going forward. She will save thousand upon thousands of lives from what the doctors have learned from her treatment.

With that being said I can only end this saying the one thing for sure Andie has taught us...

Andie passed away a hero.


Kelsey said...

I am one of those people you don't even know that your little girl has touched. What you wrote/said about Andie was so touching. I was fine until I read the last two paragraphs and then just started to cry. I am a mommy of two and I can't even imagine what you are going through right now. You are in my thoughts and prayers.

dg darling said...

With tears running down my face I too wanted to tell you that little Andie touched my life too. I hold my baby a little tighter now and let the housework go a little longer so that I can spend time with my kids. Thank you for sharing her with the world. I still pray for your family daily. That was a beautiful eulogy and although I wish you didn't have a reason to write it I thank you for sharing it with the rest of us. May Heavenly Father bless your family with peace and comfort...


Anonymous said...

I too, am a person whom you do not know personally. But Andie has changed my life profoundly. Duane and Brooke - I couldn't stop crying while reading this Eulogy, not because I was sad (although I am) but because I read paragraph up paragraph of genuine love and loyalty to Andie Grace. Andie IS a hero, she saved me from living a life without Him. It is through her valiant fight that I am inspired. You have a beautiful angel in heaven just waiting to be reunited with you all. In a way, I am envious. Most people never experience this profound amount of love and understanding, and you all have in just three weeks. I will forever remember Andie, I will always think and pray for your family, and I will always tell people who ask why I started to go to church that it was because of all these beautiful amazing babies, but more specifically Andie. It was the day that she passed that I wanted to be closer to God, to ensure that Andie knew that me and my family prayed for her. Thank you for sharing such a beautiful and wonderful Eulogy. So personal and touching. Always Analiza and The Bernat Family

heatherkmd said...

Continued prayers to your and your family......Andie Grace will not be forgotten. Hug your boys.....lean on your family....know that there are strangers that are thinking of you all and holding you up in prayer...
Heather and family in NC

Stacie Aho said...

What a special eulogy for Andie. Sounds like she was an amazing little girl. I can tell how much you both love her from your words.

Please let me know if I can help in any way. I am just around the corner.

Stacie Aho

Stacie Aho said...

What a special eulogy for Andie. Sounds like she was an amazing little girl. I can tell how much you both love her from your words.

Please let me know if I can help in any way. I am just around the corner.

Stacie Aho

Anonymous said...

What an incredible journey your family has been on. The eulogy was so powerful. She was a beautiful little girl. I will pray for your family. I had a little one in the NICU for the first while of his life. It's a difficult roller coaster. I cannot wait to meet Andie in heaven someday. I am so sorry for your pain in having her go so young. I just want to pick her up and hold her from looking at the photos. The hand holding pictures are just so precious! You're in my prayers.

Kimberley said...

Though I stumbled upon your blog, I don't believe it was by accident. Precious Andie is definitely a gift from God. What a wonderful angel you now have around you.

Prayers to you from AR.

Megan said...

I am praying for your beautiful family during this difficult time. May you feel God's loving arms holding you up in the coming days.

God bless you~

Gina said...

Dear Paulus Family ~

I know we hardly know one another, but I felt compelled to write to you. (One of your sons and one of my daughters are in the same class.) My soul aches for what you are going through! No parent should have to endure what you have endured, and yet the strength with which you have displayed as a family is truly admirable! I pray that you continue to lean on family, friends and one another and to know that there are still many people praying for you. You are not alone, nor is sweet little Andie Grace. May God bless each and every one of you!

Gina Leising

Greg and Heidi said...

Thank you for posting that. I was heartbroken that I missed his comments. . . But grateful I got to catch the rest. I am also grateful I met her and your family. I am here for anything you need.
Heidi Skidmore

The Eadle Family said...

What a truly beautiful eulogy. Andie Grace has touched many lives, and she is, a hero.

mommaof4wife2r said...

that is so beautiful....what a great honor and testiment to a fab momma and a precious baby too! you guys are still touching lives! me and the girlies here made some pics and are sending along some beanies honoring andie grace to hte hospital...and i keep her button up to pray for you all when i see it...god is still moving...and you are so right. andie taught us to be strong and stay a hero.

Gary Kinsey said...

Dear Duane and Brooke,
Nothing I could ever say would even begin to diminish the pain you now feel. I know right now you are asking so many different questions, you wonder if you’ll ever be able to sort them out to find the answers. The truth is that the answers will come from within as you work together to mend the broken hearts of your family. There is no one book that is written that can predict what’s down the road for you, because each of our paths are unique – as unique as our beautiful, precious angels.
When Jesus opened His arms and welcomed Andie Grace, he also sent an army of angels to help you both through these extremely difficult times. These angels will appear in the most unlikely sources and as you meet each one your questions will continue to be answered. You will find these angels in the words and actions of family, friends and even complete strangers. Keep an eye out for them because each time you feel them, a smile will grow on your face.
You will find (and be amazed) that your love for Andie Grace will continue to grow and grow and grow despite her living in Heaven. That love for her will continue to grow so much it will replace most of the pain you feel now. You will see her every day for the rest of your lives. Sometimes in a sudden wind, a shooting star, or even a flickering light in your home. You will know it’s her simply saying “I Love You Too Mom and Dad!”
My prayers have now turned to you and your family. I ask God to continue to send you ‘His angels’ and each day you feel the miracle that is Andie Grace. I ask that God reminds you daily of not only your precious daughter, but in the gift he provided each of you as you became husband and wife. I ask that He fills your hearts with an unending desire to grow together and help comfort each other and your children as you face each new day. I pray that all of your questions will be answered, and your heavy hearts be unburdened.
With All Hope and Love,
Gary and Savannah Kinsey

ktjean said...

my mom teaches school at your son's school and found out that Andie was born on the same day I was in the hospital having my son, on the 19th. He told her about the complications and since that day we have been praying for her and for you. I can't imagine your heartache, but my heart is definitely aching for you. I know how much you can know a baby even if they are that young...we will continue to pray for your hearts and your family. Thanks for sharing what was probably really hard to share...

Heidi Ann said...

It is SO evident how absolutely loved Andie IS and how her daddy admired his little soldier. Isn't it funny how the smallest of babies teach us the biggest lessons we've ever learned? We have Jersey to thank for teaching us so many important lessons. Of course, I'd trade those in a heart beat to have her but I am greatful her battle lives on in those lessons.

Without having met you I love you dearly. We share a bond not many share. I am here morning, noon, and night to listen, cry, and remember our angels. Andie is gorgeous and perfect. Please e-mail or call me often, I am fighting the same battle you are!

love, love, love,