One Month Angelversary

Friday, February 27, 2015

Yesterday marked a month...

A month missed of hugs, kisses, smiles.

A month missed of moments, memories, experiences.

One month ago, Everly Hopkins met Jesus.

A month of unending joy, peace, happiness.

A month of perfect knowledge, love, comfort.

While we in our "mind governed by the flesh," we desired more time with her.  We rest in the promise of eternal life with our Savior who died for us.  Died for Everly.  For me.  For you.  While we hold our mortal bodies, we will not begin to understand all of life's mysteries.  And this one we want to understand, grasp, comprehend.  Why?  I have no answers.  I know without a shadow of a doubt, though, that Everly Marie Hopkins is experiencing forever perfect joy with Abba Father. 

So, as we look back over the past month of what we have missed with our sweet Everly, I focus instead what she is experiencing in Heaven.  In this, in the knowledge of our Savior, there is peace.

Welcome to Love for Everly

Welcome!  I'm so glad you came to visit!

I'm jumping with joy to share with you Everly's new website!  Generously gifted to me, to Everly  and our family by a selfless talented friend with a huge heart, she has made this a perfect home for us and so representative of our girly Everly!  It was a surprise for me and one I didn't even know was in the works until recently!  I have been writing on Caring Bridge for the past year and have in the past month felt that a different format would be better now.  Well, little did I know, that my sweet friend was making it happen and "unveiled" it to me yesterday!  In addition to ALL the MANY extras she has added to the site, she painstakingly took each of my 73 previous posts and pictures on CB and migrated those as well here!  We are so thrilled to have one place that will contain Everly's story, pictures, my writings, videos and more!

I am beyond excited to share Love for Everly with you all!  It's jaw dropping gorgeous!  We'd love to have you subscribe for email updates.  Just give us your email in the upper right corner and that's it.  Blog updates come right to your inbox.  We are also on Instagram so follow us there, too:  Love_for_Everly. 

I hope that you will come with me and Everly on this new journey.  I pray that it will enlighten, uplift and even inspire you.  I pray that it will be a place that I can share openly as I have in the past, be honest and authentic, even if it's hard.  I pray that I can find my place, can work on healing, can explore new ground. 

I am not sure where this new road will lead me, our family, even you as the reader, but I pray that we can go hand in hand together.  While our life with Everly and our raw grief will be shared, I, too, hope that new topics will be explored and new roads paved.

As if that news alone weren't cause enough for a celebration, I am so happy to share with you that through God's hand, a lone copy of Everly's Celebration of Life appeared.  Literally.

Through a sequence of events that illustrate in black and white God's orchestration, our special friend, Elisabeth Maxine's father Mark recorded her service for Anissa who was at a cardio appointment with E.  Of course, not knowing the incredible blessing it would be to our family! And hugs and kisses to Brittney who even knew there might be a copy to begin with and started the ball rolling!   

Then audio from both the church and from Mark were able to be spliced together to create the finished product!  And just watching it and listening to it again, we are beyond grateful to have this memory preserved. 

Words alone can't express the gratitude and thankfulness I have knowing we have this precious gift!    And to know it came from our Trisomy buddy.  Yup.  That's God.  We will forever be thankful to Scholes Family for this amazing gift!  Send some Team Everly love!

If you would like to view the service, just click "Celebrating Everly".  Blessings as you watch how we celebrated and honored our Sweet Pea!

Thank you for taking the time to stop by and visit Everly's new website!  We are happy to have you along!

Notes about Everly's Celebration of Life

Monday, February 16, 2015

I know I haven't been on here nearly as much as I had in the past.  We have been busy the last couple of weeks preparing for Everly's Celebration of Life.  Once I'm able to sit, think and reflect over the past few weeks, I hope to be able to put my thoughts down in print.  So much has taken place that I would like to have a record of this time so that I can remember.  I hope that our journey, our experience, our precious girl's life will be far reaching.  I pray that you will continue to walk this path with us. 

Loves those fingers!

A few notes about Everly's Celebration of Life:

We are just days away from Everly's Celebration of Life and her 1st birthday. A couple of things I wanted to share with you...

** Everly's Celebration of Life will be held on Feb. 20, 2015 at 4 p.m. with visitation prior beginning at 3:00 p.m. and is open to everyone.  It will be held at Grace Family Church, Van Dyke Campus in Lutz, FL. 

** We would love to know how Everly impacted your life, it would mean a lot to us! The address to mail cards and letters is 3905 Tampa Road #2696 Oldsmar, FL 34677.  There will be a basket to collect them as well at the service.

** Monetary gift can be mailed or taken to any Wells Fargo bank and deposited in the name of the Everly M. Hopkins Donation Account.
** Everly's signature colors are pink and green and it would be great to see lots of it on Friday. Completely optional and other colors are fine, too.
** Everly was loved by children are invited and welcome at the service.

** Everly had many followers outside of our immediate area so for those people we have a live streaming option. Please visit at 4:00 p.m. Click the "watch service live" icon to enter.

** Feel free to email or message me if you have any questions.

 Our sweet pea is squishy!

Thank you for all of your love and support this past year!  I know that we would appreciate the continued love as we travel this new and difficult road to healing.

With love and appreciation,


February 11, 2015

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Picture taken July 19. Blurry but it was the biggest smile she has ever given.

Each day is hard in its own way. One day because the ache is too much to bear. One day because the memories are too overpowering. Another because there ar...e sweet reminders everywhere. Today was hard because her urn (empty) arrived in the mail. Yeah, it was as hard to open as you can imagine it would be.

But along with these beyond-your-imagination-difficult-days are messages, cards and letters we are receiving with stories about how Everly has impacted someone's life. Wow! Those are so powerful and so special to us. I can honestly tell you that they will be treasured and placed in her memory book...well, books really. Thank you for taking the time to send those to us. Just thank you.

I received a message yesterday from a friend that was so just honest that I have to post it. I love her dearly and am so grateful for her candid message to me.

Just want you to know how broken and heavy my heart is for you and your boys. Who can understand? Please know when you feel alone that for every person who has reached out to you, there are 20 cowards like me who don't know how. Who don't want to say the wrong thing, so we say nothing...not a thing...too scared to like a post and admit that we don't understand and in a weird way feel ashamed. I wish I knew what to say or how to say it but then I guess that means I could make it better...which I can't. So just know I am here...sad for you...crying for your beautiful little girl but so proud of how you all love and honor her.
Be still and feel...that's what I did today to honor you all.

Please know that I, like so many of you, had no idea what to do in a situation like this before our journey with Trisomy 18 began. I didn't know what to say to someone who lost their grandmother, let alone their child. I haven't started to get out into the "outside" world (don't think the woods count) yet but when I do, I pray that it is a soft reentry.

There are lots of wonderfully written articles about what to do and say when someone loses a child.

But, you want to know, a secret? All those of us in this awful club want?

**We just want to know you care...
...reach out in any form, ANY is better than none. Please know the pressure is completely off of you because there is nothing you can say or do that will be what we really want which is our child back. But a simple "I'm sorry" or "I'm thinking about your family today" or nothing at all but to come and be an ear or a shoulder to cry on goes a long way.

**Remember our child's name...
....use it, say it, speak it. It's so important that we know our child's name belongs still. That he or she mattered.

**Be gentle...
...grief begins when you receive the Trisomy 18 diagnosis...for us we had to grieve twice with this: once at 23 weeks when we were initially told but then 3 weeks later was retracted, then again 5 days after birth. You grieve the loss of the baby you would have, the fear of someday, sooner rather than later, losing your baby. Then when your baby passes, you grieve again. But in a whole new way. We are hurt, our reserves are gone and our heart is broken beyond repair. Be gentle because we are living your worst nightmare.

Thank you to all of our friends and family who have reached out to us since our Sweet Pea left our arms! It truly does help and it does mean so much to us. Please don't worry if it's the right thing to say, or that we haven't seen each other in years, or that you can't imagine what we feel. It's okay. One hug, one kind word will cross all bridges.

With love and appreciation,


Two Weeks...

Monday, February 9, 2015

Yesterday marked two weeks since our hearts were forever changed as Everly went home to be with Jesus.

Our hearts remain broken and the pain raw. We are going day by day.


Nothing better than the sweetness of a newborn :-) She was about 6 weeks old here. This picture was taken on her biggest brother's 15th birthday. She must have been happy to celebrate!

We are so thankful for each and every day that we had with this perfect angel. Her brothers will carry memories with them for the rest of their lives. They have had to face situations, sorrows, sacrifices that most adults do not have to endure. However, with those come great lessons...too numerous to even list...but most importantly, for us, their faith has been stretched. Each, according to their age, is at a different place right now. But one thing is for sure: they loved little Sissy and they know without a shadow of a doubt that she is with Jesus and has been made whole. For that, I am forever thankful.

Last night as I read a bedtime story to our youngest, age 8, I began to think of how I missed Everly who used to rest between us nightly as I read. As my voice began to crack, Kendan turned to me and asked if I was going to cry. Not being able to contain the tears for one more minute, they just began to fall. We lay looking at one another and then, in silence, his eyes began to drip with fresh tears. He wiped my tears while I wiped his. What compassion he has learned. What a wonderful friend and husband he will make because of his EverBaby!

I praise Him for the opportunity we have all had to become better people because of Everly Marie...a tiny 13 pound baby who lived for 11 months and 6 days.

Lamentations 3:22-26

Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail.
They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion;
therefore I will wait for him.”
The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him,
to the one who seeks him;
it is good to wait quietly
for the salvation of the Lord

I pray that we will continue to see the good, continue to keep her memory alive, continue to see her reach in our lives and in those she touched.

Her life mattered.


Monday, February 2, 2015

We have been under the care of Veterans Funeral Care out of Clearwater since Everly's passing. They were instrumental in assisting us with taking Everly home ourselves. There was red tape that needed to be sifted through taking her from the hospital and across state lines. However, they just stepped up and just made it happen. In addition, our family many months ago decided that Everly would spend time at home with us after she passed should this day ever come. Veterans was again instrumental in making that non-traditional (nowadays) request a reality. Thus, Everly spent this past weekend at home with us one last time. Though we knew her spirit had left and was resting with Jesus, we were able to spend some more time with her earthly body.

The pain for us is still raw and very real. Each of us is handling it in our own way. We know this will be something that we will have on our hearts for the rest of our lives. And that idea alone is daunting. We will be seeking some grief counseling to help navigate this way. This is too big, too enormous for us to handle on our own at this time.

We have been blessed by many people in our lives who have jumped in to help with decisions, plans, care of the boys, care for ourselves, food, flowers, preparations. We thank you for the love you are pouring into our family. Our grief is overwhelming and simple day to day tasks are all but impossible. Having you step up to help make calls on our behalf, allow us the privacy to grieve, taking the boys at various times, etc. has been helpful and appreciated. While you can "prepare" for this day because you were told it would happen sometime, you will never BE prepared when it happens. Never. So, the shock and numbness is consuming and far reaching.

Everly's Celebration of Life is planned for February 20, 2015 at 4 p.m. with visitation with us the two hours prior and again some following the service. Cards and letters can be mailed to Everly Hopkins, 3905 Tampa Rd. #2696, Oldsmar, FL 34677. Monetary gifts can be made to the Everly M. Hopkins Donation Account at any Wells Fargo Bank location which includes online transfers. Funds will be used to take care of Everly's final arrangements. (FYI: Tributes on CaringBridge do not go to Everly or the family.)

Thank you for your continued prayers for us. We have peace that our Sweet Pea is with Jesus and that she is now fully healed.

With love and appreciation,