From the very start, Ila was a fighter. God had a plan for us and we had no idea what was to come. I think he was testing our strength to see if we would pass for his special plan when our newborn Ila Jean stopped breathing three times. Daddy stood by and watched each time as his baby girl was brought back to life. Once I was awake in recovery after the c-section and surgery, finding out about my sweet little angel, I used all of my strength to get out of bed and into a chair to see her before she was taken to another hospital. The following 7 days we were tested again and again to see how strong we could be for our little girl until we brought her home. We passed our test and proved to be the right parents for God's plan.
Ila Jean is one of God's very special souls that is sent to be with us for a short time in order to bring us closer to Him. We learned how special she was when at just 18 months old she was diagnosed with stage IV neuroblastoma. We were devastated. WHY? We didn't understand. We couldn't comprehend. Why would our baby girl need to suffer? We were hurt and we were angry. But, we had our faith and in that faith turned to God to help us get through and to take care of our precious baby girl.
It wasn't long before we began to see something. Something that was incredible. Family and friends, as well as complete strangers stepped forward and showed us kindness that we had never experienced. We saw how people were coming together and praying for our baby. Amidst the tragedy of our daughter's illness, we were seeing how many wonderful people there are in this world and how her battle was changing the way they were looking at their lives. We began to see that there may be a purpose to her suffering. To bring out the good in people and to help them reprioritize their lives. We were certainly looking at life differently and all we had to do was look into Ila Jean's big blue eyes to see what life was all about. Loving each other. Plain and simple. She was bringing us closer to God.
Over the years, Ila has touched countless lives through our community and her website. She was an angel on earth and everyone was drawn to her. Through her journey we have had many people enter our lives that without her struggle we would never have met. These people are now some of the most important people in our lives and we love them like family.
Ila was a blessing to us in so many ways that I know we will continue to see those blessings long after today. She came here with a plan from God above, to show us all how to be brave, strong, loving, faithful, funny and to see the beauty and love in each other. Her suffering saved many of us in bringing us closer to God. Her job here was complete. Her little body had taken enough and now she deserved more. She deserved Heaven.
So every time there is a blue sky, it’s Ila’s blue eyes, we will remember. Every time there is a rainbow, it will be Ila’s colorful personality we will think of. Every time we hear the birds chirping, we’ll know it’s Ila telling us she’s happy. And with each new day, we will live for her, keeping her spirit alive knowing we are one day closer to being with her again.