My second daughter, Elise Rose, was born with Down Syndrome and a heart defect. She spent the first few months of her life in the NICU, and then came home to us for a short eight weeks before having her heart defect surgically repaired.
The surgery went well, she was thriving, and the doctors were incredibly pleased with her progress. We were proud of our little Rosebud, who had made it through so much. However, a few days after she came home from the hospital a second time, she took a turn for the worse and we rushed her to the emergency room. Her pulse and blood oxygen plummeted, and I held her tiny foot (the only part I could reach in that crowded little room) as she slipped away from us.
The grief that followed was like nothing I had ever known. The simultaneous feelings of raw pain and surreal detachment are very difficult to describe. My best friend traveled to Virginia for the funeral and stayed with us for an entire month afterward. Along with my husband and another dear friend who lives with us, she helped care for our other child and handle all the other daily chores that don’t stop just because you’re grieving. When I couldn’t bear to throw away all the flowers that friends and family had sent us, she carefully pulled out the ones that had wilted and finally recycled the vases.
Decorating some of the vases with decoupage and tissue paper was her idea. I had never used decoupage before and surprised myself with how much I enjoyed it (my first piece is shown to the left). My friend commented that it was the happiest and most peaceful she had seen me since the funeral.
Over the next several months, I started experimenting with different tissue papers, different shapes, and different embellishments. I love how the soft light of an LED votive warms and transforms the colors and patterns, and I love discovering new inspirations and new designs.
I will always and forever miss my Rosebud, but thank you for letting me share some of her radiance with you.