Easter is a holiday intended to help us remember, acknowledge and appreciate sacrifices made by someone else on our behalf. As we approach this Easter weekend we can’t help but feel tremendous gratitude for the love and support our family has felt from all of you over the last four years. That support has been extremely meaningful as our family has been forced to walk the path forced upon us. Knowing we have not walked it alone, but in some ways shared steps with all of you along the way has meant the world to us.
Along that path we have seen and experienced many beautiful things. Emilie’s story is so incredibly important to us and to see the way you have connected with her and her message of hope and forgiveness is one of the most beautiful of them all. Thank you so much for being a part of our journey to find our unseen angel, we could not have done it without you.
We live in a world where the light is hard to find and we are committed to share that love and message with as many people as we can. Your support in helping us share that message is so greatly appreciated.
For Easter we felt like it was appropriate to share an excerpt from our book An Unseen Angel about an incredibly personal experience of our first Easter without Emilie. We hope that by doing so you can feel of His love and appreciate the angels around all of you, and that you will continue to help us share that light with others in anyway you can.
With love and gratitude
Robbie, Alissa, Madeline, Samantha and always Emilie
AN UNSEEN ANGEL
CHAPTER 18: STREAMS OF MERCY
Easter morning for our family had always been an exciting event: new dresses, Easter baskets filled with toys and candy, and a special church service. But I knew that celebrating Easter for the first time without Emilie would be especially painful. I steeled myself for the pain; I didn’t want my sorrow to ruin the excitement of Easter for the girls. I had learned to get through these difficult times by stepping through them cautiously, focusing as hard as I could on nothing but the moment in front of me.
After finding and tearing into their Easter baskets, Madeline and Samantha got dressed for church in their new Easter dresses. We had church early in the morning, so we all quickly scrambled to get ready. I went into my room to dress— and to compose myself away from the girls. I sat on my bed looking out the window at the sun coming up through the bare trees. My heart was aching.
Soon I could hear Samantha, already dressed in her Easter dress, running through the house laughing and playing. I heard Robbie ask her if she wanted some music to dance to, and she squealed a loud “Yes!”
A few seconds later one of Robbie’s favorite hymns, “Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing,” was playing on the stereo.
Come, thou fount of every blessing,
Tune my heart to sing thy grace.
Streams of mercy, never ceasing,
Call for songs of loudest praise.
As this sweet song filled the house, I was flooded with emotion. I couldn’t help thinking of all the things Emilie was missing. She wouldn’t be opening an Easter basket with her sisters. She wouldn’t be trying on a “fancy” new Easter dress. She wouldn’t be hunting for Easter eggs. Most of all, I was thinking of the things I would miss: Emilie’s sweet smile, her hugs, the way her little body felt against mine.
Eventually, I found myself being drawn toward the music. I pulled myself together and walked out into the hallway. I saw my beautiful little Samantha, who was then joined by Madeline, swaying and twirling to the music. In that moment, something overtook me. An enveloping warmth of peace and comfort spread through my whole body. And then I felt her. I felt Emilie! Nothing could be clearer or stronger. I knew she was there. I breathed in the blessed sense of her. Grateful tears poured down my cheeks, and I felt such a release. All the pain and worry I had endured for months was gone for that moment.
I knew that Emilie was there dancing with her sisters as they had done so many times before. In that moment, I was blessed to finally feel all the happiness of those memories again, all the joy and the laughter without the pain of loss. Emilie was giving me the chance to see that our family would always be connected, through time and eternity.
Teach me some melodious sonnet
Sung by flaming tongues above.
Praise the mount, I’m fixed upon it,
Mount of Thy redeeming love.
Robbie walked up next to me and wrapped his arms around my waist, and we watched the girls dance together. For that moment, we were all there as a family, tied together eternally by the redeeming love of Jesus Christ.
The feeling faded quickly, but even after it left, I knew I had been changed forever, lit with a new light of hope. As we attended the church service that day, the Easter story had a new, more personal meaning for me. I found myself thinking not just about Jesus but also about Mary, His mother, and her relationship with her son. She too had lost her child, someone special and pure who had so much to give. She had also lived with the tremendous burden of knowing her son’s fate from before His birth. She raised Him, loved Him, and taught Him—all the while knowing that He would be taken from her. I imagined what it was like for her to actually witness His death, which was carried out in the cruelest, most painful, most humiliating manner possible. She had borne far more than I.
I was filled with gratitude for Mary. I had come to feel deep in my soul just how great her sacrifice was. I knew that I could never do what she was called upon to do. And I knew that her sacrifice, along with the supreme sacrifice of Jesus Himself, was performed for one reason—to help me and all the suffering children of God.
I thought of a favorite scripture, John 8:12: “Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.”
My moment of light on that Easter morning in my living room had been bought with an infinite price, and yet it was a simple gift. That Easter, God had helped me see that Emilie was still, and would always be, a part of our family. I also learned that these simple, beautiful moments—if we recognize them as a gift from God—can have the most profound and lasting influence on our hearts.