Friday, May 8, 2009

Emma's Farewell...

Isaiah 65: verses 17-25
17For I am about to create new heavens and a new earth; the former things shall not be remembered, or come to mind.
18But be glad and rejoice forever in what I am creating; for I am about to create Jerusalem as a joy, and it’s people as a delight.
19I will rejoice in Jerusalem, and delight in my people; no more shall the sound of weeping be heard in it, or the cry of distress.
20 No more shall there be in it an infant that lives but a few days, or an old person who does not live out a lifetime; for one who dies at hundred years will be considered a youth, and one who falls short of a hundred will be considered accursed.
21And they shall build houses, and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, and eat their fruit.
22They shall not build, and another inhabit; they shall not plant, and another eat; for like the days of a tree shall the days of my people be, and my chosen shall long enjoy the work of their hands.
23They shall not labor in vain, or bear children for calamity; for they shall be offspring blessed by the Lord~ and their descendants as well.
24 Before they call I will answer, while they are yet speaking, I will hear.
25The wolf and the lamb shall feed together, the lion shall eat straw like an ox; but the serpent-its food shall be dust! They shall not hurt or destroy on all my holy mountain, says the Lord.

Mark 10: verses 13-16

13 People were bringing little children to him in order that he might touch them; and the disciples spoke sternly to them.

14 But when Jesus saw this, he was indignant and said to them, “Let the children come to me; do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of God belongs.

15 Truly I tell you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will never enter it.”

16 And he took them up in his arms, laid his hands on them, and blessed them. Remembering Emma Rose Littlefield
April 2 – May 3, 2009

1. Sadness grips us all, family and friends, as we gather here today to celebrate the life of our youngest, dearest, and sweetest little girl, beloved daughter, sister, niece, cousin and granddaughter. In fact we are at a loss of words to describe her in any other way. So why are we so saddened?? Some would suggest that this should be a time of happiness and celebration, a day of joy and of jubilance. I grew up in a religious atmosphere that taught these principles. And yet I feel the same emotional sadness, and I am uneasy when I consider that this should be a period of extreme happiness. Let us pursue this concept for a moment.
2. Emma announced herself to her mother and father with a strong kick, a real karate chop if you will to the tummy. As her presence grew stronger and tests confirmed her arrival in about 34 weeks, her family and close friends were happy and jubilant—a new sister for her older brother , Josh, and her modestly older sister Sam. Were Emma’s parents surprised? I hope not. After all they had barely recovered from Josh’s birth, just a few months before. And neither believed in the Immaculate Conception for Josh, or they would have named him Jesus. Some weeks later when further tests confirmed the results of a suspicious ultrasound that Emma may have some challenges to her health, her parents were seized with fear of what might be in Emma’s future. Her parents were faced with one of the most difficult decisions in their young lives together. And they chose to preserve the life of one who was already moving and kicking like a dancer and sports player. They wanted to know and love this child to the fullest extent possible. Against all odds and statistics, they wanted to have a live, viable child in their arms and in their lives for as long as God would give them. They knew that Emma Rose might not live to reach 40 weeks. They knew she might face many challenges at birth and thereafter, but they wanted to know her, to bond with her as their daughter, and to love their child as they loved and cared for their other children, as long as God would permit, even if it was only for a few minutes, a few hours, a few days, or a few weeks. They wanted her to have an identity for all eternity, a baptized Christian in God’s Holy Name.
3. And so Emma Rose Littlefield left the protection of her mother’s womb and entered the world on April 2nd, 2009 at approximately 4:21 in the morning. She was immediately baptized by her grandmother according to the laws and teachings of the Roman Catholic Church, witnessed by several of her family members in attendance, and placed in the loving arms of her accepting parents. She did all the things a young infant was supposed to do. She breathed on her own, stayed nice and warm and pink, ate to her heart’s content, and of course pooped and peed. And she was able to keep her parents up most of every night. She did so well at the hospital that they discharged her to home to spend some QUALITY TIME with her family. She even attended a family birthday party celebrating her aunt’s #41. The Staff of Portsmouth Naval Hospital and the Edmarc Hospice program as well as the often outspoken but never in doubt members of her family were THERE for her. More importantly, she was there for them and provided all with great joy. Joshua will not likely remember feeling the warmth of her face or the strength of her little fingers, but his parents will never forget or lose that picture in time. Samantha will cherish the lock of hair her sister gave her forever. Her cousins, Erin and Jake, will always remember holding her and gently rocking her. They will hold those experiences forever. And Abby will be reminded by numerous pictures and stories her family will share with her of the loving little cousin she played with during those happy days she was physically with us. And of course the image of that darling infant- nestling on the shoulder of her Meemah, the tiny head tucked against Sherry’s neck while she hummed the gentle lullabies so familiar and so comforting to babies.
4. And so today Emma’s parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends grieve and remain saddened. They will no longer be able to see her and interact with her physically and watch her grow. Her cousins will not be able to pull her hair, or confiscate her favorite doll. Killy and Porsche will not be able to lick her face, steel her pacifier or dust her face with their tail or wet beard. The family will not be able to share in her accomplishments. Accomplishments? You and I say! Mann…n she has already accomplished something we as Christians are still striving to achieve. She is already in heaven with a perfect view to our world and our actions. She is already in tune with the family she got to know while briefly on this earth. She is in effect our own little angel, our ambassador to God’s kingdom. We can communicate with her at anytime we want, day or night. We can think of her often and she will always be there for us for all eternity in the presence of God.
5. Her mother loved the name Emma and aptly selected that for her infant daughter and the name Rose just naturally seemed to follow. I decided to look up the meaning and word root of Emma, and was surprised that in English it means whole or complete, Latin , and German – universal. It has a similar meaning in Greek. I find that coincidental perhaps that the word catholic comes from the Greek kata halos meaning also universal. And finally in Hebrew the word Emma finds
roots as a healer or nurse . ROSE the flower, the flower of beauty and of love associated with Mary, Jesus’ mother in many countries and in several religious prayers.
6. And so as we pray to and reflect on Emma Rose, perhaps we can remember the meaning of her name. EMMA, THE UNIVERSAL HEALER AND NURSE TO ALL WHO SEEK HER HELP AND ARE IN NEED, THE BEAUTIFUL and loving flower; perhaps we can begin to see and feel the power and grace and the meaning that this tiny infant has brought to all of our lives during her short stay on this earth. And then the burden of our sadness will perhaps be lightened by the fact that she gives and will continue to give us joy and happiness throughout our journey while on this earth.
7. LET US PRAY TO THE LORD. Our response : Lord, hear our prayer.
8. For Emma Rose, our dearest little flower, that she may be in heaven with God this very day, we pray to the Lord…
9. For her parents, Annetta and Richard, that their grief and sorrow for her untimely departure will deepen their love and understanding for one another and for their children, Samantha and Joshua, and together as a family they may grow and enjoy happiness together for decades to come, we pray to the Lord…
10. For the men and women of the Naval Regional Medical Center, Portsmouth, who at all times provided caring and compassionate medical care to Emma and to her family, we pray to the Lord…
11. For the Edmarc Hospice team, let us offer our thanks and prayers for their enormous support 24-7 as they quickly and cheerfully responded to the needs of Emma and her family; let us pray to the Lord…
12. Let us hope and pray that Edmarc will have the means necessary to continue their medical and spiritual work as they respond to the needs of other infants who are sick , let us pray to the Lord…
13. I wear a purple shirt today to remember the Trisomy 18 Foundation. Let us pray that through the efforts and goals of that organization, Trisomy 18 will become an entity of only historical perspective to our future infants, let us pray to the Lord…

14. For all the infants afflicted with chromosomal abnormalities, let us look to the men and women who will pioneer the treatment and stem cell research to eradicate this awful disease with our Lord’s guidance, let us pray to the Lord…Lord hear our prayer. AT THIS TIME I CALL ON THE FAMILY AND FRIENDS TO OFFER AND SHARE THEIR WISHES AND PRAYERS ALOUD OR IN SILENCE.
15. My peace I offer to all of you, and my peace I give to you. In the interest of doing our part to prevent the spread of the Swine Flu, let us acknowledge peace to one another without physical contact this very day.

Delivered to the relatives and friends of Emma RoseLittlefield on the occasion of her celebration service to be with God by Dr. Hugh Bernard McCormick, Jr., her Da.

A butterfly lights beside us like a sunbeam
And for a brief moment its glory and beauty belong to our world.
But then it flies again
And though we wish it could have stayed...
We feel lucky to have seen it.
Author Unknown

"I'll lend you for a while a child of mine," He said.
"For you to love the while he lives and mourn for when he's dead.
It may be six or seven years, or twenty-two or three,
But will you, till I call him back, take care of him for me?
He'll bring his charms to gladden you, and should his stay be brief,
You'll have his lovely memories as solace for your grief."
"I cannot promise he will stay; since all from earth return,
But there are lessons taught down there I want this child to learn.
I've looked the wide world over in My search for teachers true
And from the throngs that crowd life's lanes I have chosen you.
Now will you give him all your love, not think the labor vain,
Nor hate Me when I come to call to take him back again?"
"I fancied that I heard them say, "Dear Lord, Thy will be done!
For all the joy Thy child shall bring, the risk of grief we run.
We'll shelter him with tenderness, we'll love him while we may,
And for the happiness we've known, forever grateful stay;
But should the angels call for him much sooner than we've planned,
We'll brave the bitter grief that comes and try to understand!"
Edgar Guest

Golden Memories
They say memories are golden,
Well, maybe that is true.
We never wanted memories,
We only wanted you.

A million times we cried.
If love alone could have saved you,
You never would have died.

In life we loved you dearly,
In death we love you still.
In our hearts you hold a place
No one else could fill.

If tears could build a stairway and heartache make a lane.
We'd walk the path to Heaven and bring you back again.

Our family chain is broken,
And nothing seems the same.
But as God calls us back one by one,
The chain will link again.


One hot day at Meema and Da’s last summer,
The family was unaware of what soon we would discover.
Your brother was an infant; we all basked in his glow
You had been conceived, and soon we all would know.
From the point of your conception, we all came to find
You my sweet pea had a plan; it was called “on Emma’s time”.
The weeks passed on, your mommy grew, it all was such a whirl.
It wasn’t very long before we learned you were a girl!
A sad day came, test confirmed, and no I will not dwell.
I’ll simply put it this way, my sweet pea wasn’t well.
This baby is incompatible with life. You really should reconsider.
But mommy and daddy stood their ground and said no, we will endeavor.
Finally the moment came; we’d all been waiting for.
The family went to Portsmouth naval, where you would be born.
Emma time appeared again…all part of your plan.
Don’t push! The nurse would tell your mommy, too late, thank god for quick hands.
You came out crying… family, doctors, nurses were in awe.
It was then my sweet pea you confirmed; you were stronger than us all.
Mommy and daddy brought you home and shared one common goal.
To live each day of life with you as if it was your whole.
That they did, your family too, sweet pea you lived so large…
Birthday parties, Geneva on her Harley, you even squeezed in a lunch.
Yes my dear, there is no doubt, that you were taking charge.
32 days God gave us, and though it wasn’t nearly enough,
God filled our hearts with memories, and abounding endless love.
Now don’t forget my Emma Rose, a few weeks ago we spoke…
When you’re with God, take that finger on your left hand you always like to point,
And reach to God and touch him, because your Auntie needs a poke.

Smoochies & Huggies as always.

Love, Auntie Laurie

After the birth of Emma Rose, I felt as if a miracle had occurred. I was so happy to see her and hold her in my arms. The smiles from ear to ear of Annetta’s and Rich’s faces warmed my heart. When it came time to leave, fear began to set in. I feared that I would go home and never see her alive again. Thirty two days and that call came. I could never imagine the pain and agony that Annetta and Rich are going through. There is no sorrow quite so heart rending as the death of a little child. Emma’s image is written so indelibly upon our minds and hearts since she was born. Our arms are empty, eyes are filled with tears and our hearts are like a vacant house. We sometimes feel that a life which is so brief was in vain and that God has mocked us by giving us Emma and then taking her away so soon. Emma had no opportunity to perform a work, nor was there any time given to develop character. Let us remember first of all, that Emma has an eternal spirit and she has gone into the presence of God where there will be an eternity to perform works and develop character. Although we do not fully understand now, the bible does say in I Corinthians 13:2 “now we see things imperfectly as in a poor mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is with partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God knows me now.”

Although the span of Emma’s life was brief, it completed a mission, served a purpose and performed a God-appointed task in this world. Her presence turned your thought to the best, her helplessness brought out your strength and protection, and her loveliness roused your tenderness and love. Her life has brought family closer together and her influence will linger in our hearts as long as we live making us feel the need to be closer to God. Emma’s life served a purpose. A brief life is not an incomplete life. I cannot put into words how each and every one of us feel, but Jesus in John 11:35, understood our sorrow, sympathized with the loss of a loved one. It states when Jesus went to a funeral for Lazarus “Jesus wept.” Because Jesus had our humanity and was touched with the feeling of our suffering, when he went to the cemetery, He wept – in spite of the fact he intended to restore Lazarus’s life.

In the Old Testament, David in 2 Samuel 12:16-23, said after the death of his son, “While the child was yet alive, I fasted and wept: for I said, Who can tell whether God will be gracious to me that the child may live. But now that he has died, wherefore should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me.” David knew that he was with God and that someday by death, he would be with him forever. If we could only see how blessed Emma is at this very moment, it would reconcile us to the loss of Emma in our hearts. For in Luke 18:16, Jesus said “Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, that in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven.” Emma is special to all of us. She was so small, but her influence was so great; her life was short, but the memory of her is long. As I said before, I* was afraid to leave Emma and go home after she was born.

However, by faith, I know the next time I see her, I will not have to go home for I will be home.

Thank you and God bless.
From Uncle Rick

When I Must Leave You

"When I must leave you for a little while

Please do not grieve and shed wild tears

And hug your sorrow to you through the years.

But start out bravely with a gallant smile;

And for my sake and in my name

Live on and do all things the same,

Feed not your loneliness on empty days,

But fill each waking hour in useful ways,

Reach out your hand in comfort and in cheer

And I in turn will comfort you And hold you near;

And never, never be afraid to die,

For I am waiting for you in the sky!"

~Author Unknown

Read by Aunt Kelli Bynum graveside. 32 pink ballons were released in honor of Emma's 32 days of life on earth.