Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Writing a Book

All day yesterday, when I would ask Annie to do something she would respond with, "Mom, I can't right now. I am writing my book and I am right in the middle of a page. I need to finish." She decided to write her own book. 

Last night she finished it. She brought it to me and read it to me. I would like to share it. It is her way of working through her emotions about Camille's death. And I think the ending is encouraging and very wise.

I kept her original spelling. She is only five and just started kindergarten this month. So I have translated in italics in case you can't figure out what she meant. She drew pictures of each of scene which I will describe also in italics. She made this book entirely on her own and without any input or ideas or encouragement from me. I think she is wonderful.

When Meells Diede
When Meelies Died
by Annie

This is when meeles diede.
This is when Meelies died. A picture of Meelies in the spa face down and Annie and Daddy next to the spa with frowny faces.

This is when the polees came.
This is when the police came. A picture of our house, the driveway, the street and the police car on the street.

This is us white Kaite.
This is us with Kaitie. A picture of my friend Kaitie who was staying with us that day in the playroom with the girls. 
 
This is us in the car white Akite.
This is us in the car with Kaitie. After I left for the hospital, Kaitie took the girls out. The picture is all of them sitting in the car.

This is us at the store.
They went to McDonald's for dinner. A picture of all of them at McDonald's.

This is us back at the hawos dansing.
This is us back at the house dancing. A picture of the girls in the playroom dancing with Kaitie.

We wr sad she whos gon.
We were sad she was gone. A picture of the three girls with frowning faces.

But we stil like uor famly.
But we still like our family. A picture of the three girls smiling.

But we stil love Hvnel Fotheer.
But we still love Heavenly Father. A picture of clouds with hearts in the clouds and Heavenly Father in the clouds smiling. See photo of that picture below.

51 comments:

Shanan said...

I love your sweet little Ann Marie!

Angie said...

What a sweet story from a sweet little girl. I'm so glad she's working through her feelings in her own way.

Shauna said...

This is an absolutley priceless gift - such an angelic perspective.
Way to go, Annie!

DEANNA said...

I am always amazed how the little ones always "get it." It seems so easy for adults to lay blame and become angry at God.

I love that the innocence of children lets them grieve without that blame, forgive without holding a grudge and work through a loss as horrific as yours and see that there is good in all things.

You have an amazing family. You are an amazing mom and the family that surrounds you is lucky to have you!

Noorda Notebook said...

annie is such an amazing special girl. i adore her. that book will always be such a treasure to you and her and your family. i remember when you wrote about your decision not to go to counseling right now. i think your kids and you are so cool about finding the most positive helpful ways to work through your emotions yourselves. it's really great that annie can read and write well enough that she can work through this by writing it down. it's something that would probably help a lot of little ones but most aren't able to read or write like she can.

thanks for sharing that. i'm showing my mom and sisters now.

Anonymous said...

WOW!! What an amazing little girl you have and what a great reflection of you and your husband!!! You have taught your children so incredibly well and they know that things will be alright. Thank you so so much for sharing your daughters story with all of us! You are an inspiration to me DAILY!!! Thank you for giving us all hope to continue on and not loosing our Faith after the loss of loved ones!!
Kami in Utah

GDR said...

That is definitely a keeper. Loved loved LOVED it !

DeweesClan said...

What a beautiful ending. I found your blog through a friend. I wrote a dissertation on bereaved parents and effects on the marital relationship. It was a subject that I didn't think I could even touch and then after talking with the couples I became my writing. I have never spent so many drives home crying...well bawling. The faces and stories of each and every child will forever be in my mind, heart, and prayers. know your daughter is now embedded in my thoughts and prayers as well. God be with you. Courtney courtha@gmail.com

Meg Pie said...

What a sweet sweet story and a VERY smart little girl! I teach
1st grade and did Kindergarten last year! She is amazing!
I have been following your blog for a couple of weeks. What an amazing writer you are. Thank you for sharing your story. You will never know how many lives you will touch just writing this and putting it out there.
Love and prayers from Portland, Oregon!

Jennie said...

What a sweetheart Annie is! She is so smart, and in touch with her feelings. You can tell she has been taught well, and that she loves Heavenly Father. Good job Mom!

mckenna said...

What a reflection of her parents' teachings. And even more amazing, what an amazing example of the way Heavenly Father teaches through inspiration and revelation even the VERY, VERY young. It's so comforting to know that if we help teach them to be open to the spirit, they will receive insight and wisdom from Father in Heaven that will help them to heal. You're children are for sure not alone in their time of grief. Beautiful.

Heather said...

Bless you and all your sweet girls! I love reading your posts. You are doing good things. Thanks for the inspiration and testimony!

Laura said...

Thank you for sharing her sweet feelings. It is so great that she has such an understanding of eternal truths.

denisejorgy said...

Thank you so much for sharing her story and your testimony through your "daily scoop". I have been reading it for a few weeks and I am so grateful for your honesty, insights and for your testimony. You are surely an inspiration to those around you and those on the world wide web. Thank you again for sharing.
denise from utah

Mandi said...

That is very sweet. I love her simpleness. Thanks for sharing.

Sarah and Matt said...

Wow...just wow!

Anonymous said...

Priceless!

Cori White said...

I love that kids are so honest.. in writing and pictures.. Thanks for sharing that special book with us. She knows all about the "plan" and the big picture. How I wish I could look at the big picture, and not worry about the daily "stuff". When I was young, my family went to counseling after my parents were divorced,and I recall drawing pictures of my feelings. ( A dirty living room with pepsi cans on the carpet) wierd! anyway I guess the dirty living room bothered me. I havent thought about this for years.. ( I was 9.. and now im about to turn 31..) Thanks again for your posts. It makes me a better person!

Rachel said...

That's something to hang onto on those days when you feel like you aren't coping well. She's seen your example, and she gets it. You're all sad but you still love each other and Heavenly Father. How many families must be out there who have lost a child and can't say that?

Melissa said...

she's pretty darn smart!

especially for only just starting kindergarten.

Megan D. said...

Anne Marie looks so grown up in this picture! You can kind of get a glimpse of what she is going to look like when she is older. Hope John is practicing how he is going to ward off all the boys. She is so beautiful! And extremely smart!

Remember my sister Julie who lost a child last year at this time. Well she is 15 weeks pregnant and knowing that there is a baby on the way her 7 yr. old has been talking about their sister they lost and has been really saying some profound things as well. It is amazing how smart these children are and the things they do to cope with loss. They teach us so much.

Julie said...

Precious Stephanie, thank you for sharing such a special family memory. The mind of a child is so able to grasp the concept of our Heavenly Father.

Annie is an absolute sweetie. She and my 5-yo Olivia would have such deep conversations together. And understand each others lovely phonetic spelling! : )

Good night,
Julie
Sacramento
(Probably can stop writing Sacramento...)

Heidi said...

Oh, that is so touching. Thank you, Annie!

Adam and Megan's Mom said...

oh my stars! precious

Camille said...

oh that is precious! Don't you love children and the naive but rightous feeling they bring. You must feel blessed to be surrounded by those beautiful girls!
May the lord continue to bless your family.

Sue said...

I just loved that. Thank you. And thanks to Annie, too. =)

A Farmer's Wife said...

How sweet!!!

Mommy Poulsen said...

What a sweet, beautiful little girl you have! TFS her book! I love reading your stories.

The Hansens said...

What sweet love. Beautiful. I bet you are glad that you let her finish.

McGiven Family.... said...

I am speechless and crying. What a wonderful little girl. It sounds like you have 4 angel girls!

Marleen said...

So precious. I could see her writing another book about her and her familie's experience for children one day. She is so smart and so aware.

Hoskins Family said...

I love that she feels comfortable enough to express her thoughts and feeling in such a way. That sounds like a treasure that needs to be laminated and spiral bound!

Stephanie said...

So sweet. Bless all your hearts

Deborah said...

I think Annie IS wonderful...and so are you. Sending you all my love.

vocalise said...

Stephanie,
I have been reading your blog for a few weeks now. Never posted a thought until today. Maybe because I, too, have an Anne Marie...and the purity of both of their spirits is obvious. (Mine is 21) I appreciate how your thoughts remind me of the beautiful perspective only the Gospel can give. I will probably never meet you, however, your journey....gut-wrenching, heart-wrenching, inspiring, and honest-to-the core will never be forgotten. You have lifted and inspired me and shown me what perfect faith in the Savior can "deliver."
My love and prayers to ALL of you,
Marie

Carl and Mel said...

Okay that was ADORABLE!!! So sweet. I have a little girl her age and she wouldn't be able to even write out that even with the misspellings and all. And I think she is super smart! I am impressed. What a beautiful little girl!

Angie said...

You have a brilliant child! She is only in kindergarten and can write that much! I am sooooo impressed with her. My kindergartner barely knows his letters, much less be able to put the letters together to make words.

Scott&Mandi said...

That is absolutely precious. What a sweetheart. What peace to have an understand of how the gospel works. You have done such an amazing job teaching her!

janalee said...

What a beautiful book :). Thank you [and Annie] for sharing it.

Kunz Family said...

Well Steph, I am just sitting here sobbing..... love you

Mimi's Toes said...

Oh, this is so special. What a keepsake.

s g said...

Wow, that is really impressive for a 5 year old. Annie sounds like such a sweetie and what a blessing to see how she is handling it.

Love reading your posts Steph...always so inspiring.

Stephanie said...

My favorite page is "but we still like our family."
Her book is so sweet--kids can just capture simple truths!

Chell said...

This made me cry. I think its something about the innocence of small children and how you can never quite know whats going on in their little hearts or minds.

Heather H said...

That was so beautiful, thank you for sharing it with us.

Carrie said...

Another beautiful post with a wonderful message for us all. It is a perfect example of the Savior's teachings on becoming like a little child. Thank you for the sweet reminder! As always, I think you are amazing!

Jan S said...

Wow...what an incredible little girl! You should feel so proud that you have helped your girls feel able to express themselves so well during this painful time. That alone is a tremendously selfless gift you have given to them, even though you have been in terrible pain yourself! Often times, it takes a child in therapy to do what Annie did with her book! I just hope you realize what a wonderful, supportive, and loving mother you are! My prayers are with you all each day...

Belinda said...

That was so perfectly innocent and beautiful, thanks for sharing:)

Stephanie said...

That's beautiful--it brought tears to my eyes. Your girls are so precious (I know you already know that.)

Amy B said...

I am a relatively new reader of your blog...my sis-in-law steered me to it. I haven't lost a child, and can only sympathise, rather than empathise, but to see your daughter's simple faith, to continue loving Heavenly Father and trusting him gives me such an overwhelming feeling of gratitude that I am weeping as I write this. I believe and love Him, too, and wish all children could feel this way. What a blessing to have the knowledge we do! Thank you for sharing.

Mommy of Five said...

I found your blog through another blog today. I am so sorry for the loss of your daughter Camille.

I have been reading from the time of her loss until September, thinking that I would probably write a comment as I "caught up" to the present.

Your story makes me think of my mother. She lost her 5th child at the age of 16 months. He drowned in our backyard pool. As I read I thought a lot of my mother and how she must have felt and how she continued on taking care of her kids. We were 9, 8, 5, 3, and 4 months at the time. I am a mother of 5 children, and each time my babies are the age of my brother when he died I can't imagine what pain my mother must have gone through. But she, just like you, clung to the gospel truths, the reality of a loving Savior and his atonement. The reality that we will see our loved ones again. And she bore testimony of these truths to her children.

I was 5 when my brother died. This post about your daughter reminded me of myself. I still remember the "excitement" of that day. The abulance, all the neighbors out watching, the people in the backyard. I was running back and forth trying to see it all. At the funeral, I cried, but it was about not wanting to wear the belt with my dress.

My brother has always been another reason for me to try my hardest to return home to him. I want to see him again.

Thank you for sharing your life with us. Camille's life has toughed me and your example as a mother has strengthened my life.

Thank you.

Lisa