Below is Brida's eulogy I gave during yesterday's service:
Thank you all for being here to support us and to celebrate Brida’s life. The outpouring of love has been overwhelming and Erin and I can’t thank you enough. I want to take a few minutes to share thoughts about Brida and how much she means to us. Brida had a short time in this life, but we learned so much about God’s love through both Brida’s fighting spirit and the gifts we received on this journey. In reflecting on Brida’s life, three lessons become apparent to me. I believe these lessons are Brida’s legacy for our family.The first lesson is that life is precious and worth fighting for. Brida fought for her life. It is something difficult to explain unless you experience it first-hand. When you held her you could feel her struggle, but stronger than that, you could sense her determination to overcome this condition with which she was burdened. Before Brida was born, the doctors at the hospital cautioned us that it usually takes a long time for Hypoplastic Left Heart babies to recover from their first surgery because of how invasive it is. They said we should expect her to be in the hospital for at least a month but to prepare for a longer stay, maybe 2, 3, 4 months. When she was in the ICU, the nurses were amazed at how well she was doing and how quickly she progressed from surgery to having her breathing tube removed, to being released out of the unit. To everybody’s surprise, two weeks after surgery, Brida was released from the hospital. Even more impressive than that was when she came home she survived her 2-year-old sister, who didn’t quite understand that Brida couldn’t be handled as her baby doll, including not being able to rub diaper cream on her head when her mom wasn’t looking.A second lesson that Brida taught us is that we can do great things with God and each other. When we first received the diagnosis about 5 months ago, Erin and I were devastated. There were sleepless nights wondering what her life would be like and what it meant for our family. We both questioned if we could handle the responsibility of caring for a child with her condition and her three sisters at the same time. But, as we quickly discovered, God gives you the most strength in your most difficult moments. As long as we have God at our side, we really can achieve a lot more than we think we can. If Brida, a fragile infant, could accomplish what she did, why can’t we take the gifts we have and do equally great things?Brida’s third lesson for us is that Man’s capacity to love and care for those in need is without bounds. Throughout my life, I prided myself on my self-sufficiency and not needing to ask others for help. Without being asked, our family, friends, and this community prayed for us and served us and, honestly, I don’t know how we would have made it through these last couple of months without you. Every prayer was felt and gave Erin and I the strength to do the best we could for Brida and accept that however it all turned out that God’s will would be done.Erin and I want thank everyone that helped us on this journey. First, our family. My In-Laws: Pat and Colin. They didn’t hesitate to put their life on hold for a couple of months to live with us to care for our other three girls while we cared for Brida. We want to thank my family members who continually offered us any help that we needed and came out here to support us during this difficult time: my sisters Joanne and Melody, my Brother-in-law Paul, my nephew Paul, my niece Auberey, my brother Scott and sister-in-law Diana and the rest of our families that have supported us.We want to thank this entire Church community. Especially Johanna and Mike O’Conner who did so much for us from organizing meals and mowing our lawn, to a baby shower, to everything else. We want to thank the playgroup mothers, the Knights, the women’s group, our friends and neighbors, people in the LDS community; people who don’t even know us, but heard of our situation and offered us whatever we need; my co-workers, who were always supportive when they heard of what we were going through. We are indebted to all of you, debts we can never repay.I would like to close with a message for Brida. Brida, we are forever indebted to you and what you gave to us. We will miss you, but we know you are in a better place, a place far better than we as parents or as a family could ever provide for you. If your short 6 weeks in this life is any guide, what you will teach us about heaven in the years to come will truly amaze. We love you, we’re proud of you, and we’re honored to be your parents. We can’t wait to see you again.