Through this horrible storm, we have seen bursts of sunshine as God orchestras all the details and reminds us of His loving care. My mother asked for me to write them out because she wanted to send an email about it. I think I'm going to just list them out in bullet form.
*The ER that we took Sierra to was very good. All of the people were VERY nice and showed lots of compassion. They were caressing Sierra as they worked on her. It was a much different ER experience than we've ever had before.
*The people in the ER also allowed us to have Ruby in the room with Sierra. We only had her in there with us for a few minutes and then passed her off to her grandparents who were in the waiting room. But it was special that we had a few last minutes together as a family.
*Sierra went to be with Jesus while we were vacationing in Florida. She passed away on a Sunday morning. We were supposed to come home on Tuesday. After she left us, we felt an urgency to get home ASAP. Jason called up Jet Blue and asked if there was any way they could change our tickets. They were AMAZING! They were on the phone with Jason for an hour and the lady worked really hard. She was able to get us a nonstop flight coming home that afternoon. On top of that, she waived $1500 worth of fees.
*Since everything happened in FL, that meant that we had funeral home fees for the funeral home there, plus transportation, plus the funeral home here. We didn't have life insurance on Sierra. Some friends very kindly offered to transport her body for us to cut down on expenses. We decided it was probably best just to have the funeral homes make arrangements to fly her body back. We used a funeral home in FL that is owned by someone Jason's uncle knows. He gave us a discount. Some friends called us and said they wanted to help out. They generously paid for the expenses of the funeral home in FL as well as the transportation costs.
*Three groups of people have taken up a collection for us (church, work, online friends) and many people have sent gifts. The money will be used to pay for the headstone, get Sierra's name engraved on the memorial wall at Morgan's Wonderland
, and make a memorial garden for Sierra at our land.
*Jason's parents (who were also vacationing in FL at the time) were flying in for the funeral. They were flying into Dallas. We had so much going on that it would have been difficult for us to pick them up. Jason called up a friend and asked him to pick them up. That friend was already planning on driving from Dallas to Temple that day.
*We decided to sell the hyperbaric chamber to help pay for the funeral expenses. I posted a Facebook status about it. Several of my friends reposted my status to try to help us. Within several hours, someone had bought it.
*Some dear friends put together a book with pictures of Sierra and many sweet notes. It is so beautiful!
*When we were making funeral arrangements, we stopped by a cemetery that someone said used to have free plots for children. It turned out that they no longer had free plots for children. The man there was very flippant and we didn't like him. We weren't thinking clearly at the time and probably would have went ahead with that cemetery if our pastor had not been with us. He said, "This doesn't feel right. Why don't you keep looking?" So we went home. We started talking about it and decided that we really wanted to find a little cemetery out in the country.
We had recently purchased land just outside of Troy. Our plans were to build there and get Sierra out to the country. We did a quick Google search for cemeteries in Troy. There were three listed. None of them had contact information. The funeral home didn't have any information either. Jason and our pastor began making calls to try to find contact information. About three different people gave them the name of a lady who runs the newspaper in Troy. We tried calling her, but her phone went to fax. We decided to stop by. We were greeted by a very nice lady who seemed to know everyone. (The town has a population of 1,600.) She had the contact information we needed.
Out of the three cemeteries, the one that stood out to us in name was Shiloh Cemetery. One of them was right by the highway and the other one didn't really interest us. We drove out to Shiloh Cemetery and it was just perfect. It was only about 5 miles from our land. It was a peaceful little cemetery out in the country. The last person buried there was 26 years ago.
We called the lady in charge of the cemetery. She said that we could pick out any spot we liked. There was no charge, but we could make a donation if we wanted (which we will be doing.) Oh and Shiloh means, "Gift from God," which describes Sierra perfectly.
*It was cold and rainy on the morning of the burial. The sky was overcast and dreary. We arrived at the cemetery early and were wondering if the light rain was going to turn into a downpour. Once the service began, the rain stopped. Not only did the rain stop, but about 3 times during the service, the sun broke through the clouds. It was such a beautiful sight! I liked to think of it as Sierra smiling down on us.