To Our Little Girl and Those Who Love Her
  written by Mommy and Daddy, read by Uncle Paul Gauthier    

Sometimes, the smallest things take up the most room in our hearts
(by Winnie the Pooh)

Hailey Marie was born on May 11, 2009 at 10:47 a.m. at a svelte 2 pounds, 15 ounces, and was with us for a very short 10-1/2 months – all of it in the N.I.C.U. at Children’s Hospital.  We knew before Hailey’s birth that she would have to face many obstacles.  Even to this day, some of these obstacles remain a mystery.  Hailey will forever be our hero and our inspiration for how courageously she fought her numerous battles.  In spite of these struggles, she would always flash a smile or tell a story with her expressive eyes to us and to those around her.

We often questioned why Hailey was given so many challenges and now we question why she was taken after such a short time.  But as we reflect on her legacy, we see that she has touched the hearts of so many people – some of whom have never even met us.  We are amazed at how such a tiny person could have such an impact on so many people.

Being in the N.I.C.U. for so long, Hailey became “the big girl on the block”.  Perched in her crib, she would sometimes supervise morning rounds or keep an eye on the situation when a neighbouring baby was misbehaving.  She could tell volumes of stories with her eyes and eyebrows, and with a wave of her arm or a point of her toes, she would get your attention like no words ever could.  At bedtime, she would let us know that she wasn’t quite ready to fall asleep by almost always “shadowboxing” with a free arm – that is until tiredness won out.

Hailey loved having books read to her.  She would keenly look at the pictures as we turned each page.  Sometimes she would even get her feet involved and rest her toes on the pages.  Then there’s her movies – in the last few months, we would often play DVD’s for her in her crib.  Her favourite was Finding Nemo.  She would watch it so intently that we were sure she didn’t blink, and she’d stay awake from opening credits to closing credits – something her mommy can’t do.  Her mirror!!  In her mirror, she would watch the “other baby”, that we affectionately called “Hailey #2”.  She would tell this “other baby” stories for hours, often giggling along with her.  We were worried what this may lead to as a teenager – would we ever get our bathroom back?

Hailey had many nicknames – “Hailey Bean”, “Hailey Bug”, “Love Bug”, “Pumpkin”, “Peanut”, and now she has earned a new one – “Our Little Angel”.

How very softly you tiptoed into our world.
Almost silently.
Only a moment you stayed.
But what an imprint your footprints left on our hearts.
(by Dorothy Ferguson)

To Our Family, Friends and Colleagues
Thank you for your endless support.  Over the past 10 and a half months, so many of you offered and wished that you could do something for us.  You endlessly offered to cut our grass, take Higgins for a walk, do our laundry, pick up groceries, etc., etc - but us being us, we declined most of the time, as we didn’t want to burden anyone else.  But you made up for it by dropping off a dinner, throwing food parties for us, giving hugs and phone calls of support, visiting us and Hailey, or listening to us tell stories about her ups and downs.  All of your thoughts, prayers and love mean just as much to us as any physical gesture.

To The Families of the Other Babies That We Met In N.I.C.U…
We now call you friends.  Sometimes you have drawn support from us and other times we have leaned on you.  We have all been placed in a unique situation that only we, as parents of these babies, can comprehend.  We’ve seen how fragile our babies’ lives are, and because of this, we have a different perspective on how precious life is.

To Our N.I.C.U. Family
Thank you from the bottom of our hearts to all of the N.I.C.U. nurses, doctors, respiratory therapists and unit staff that cared for Hailey as if she was one of your own.  Your endless love and devotion to our little girl helped make her life in the N.I.C.U. as “normal” as possible.  We are going to miss your hugs, your words of encouragement and your laughter.  There is not enough time or paper to thank each of you individually, but please know that we so greatly appreciate everything that you did.  But having said that…

Thanks… or maybe not!!... to “auntie” Cathy Penner for getting us hooked on Shaken Black Iced Tea Lemonade.  We’ll never drink another without thinking about you and Hailey.

A special thank you to the nurses that took such loving care of Hailey and of us during her last few days.      You helped fill Hailey’s last moments with dignity, respect and peace.

To our “pit bull” and our “bouncer”, you gave us the family time that we so desperately needed.

To Kim C., thank you for sharing your story with us.  Your love and support through last weekend hasn’t made it any less painful, but it is making it easier to accept.

All of you laughed with us, talked with us, supported us, listened to our endless questions, cried with us, and even though it’s not in your job description, now you are grieving with us.

To Hailey from Daddy
We will never walk with you feet on mine, I will never reach something down for you from the top shelf, I will never chase you around on the lawn, I will never teach you to drive and I will never get to walk you down the aisle.  But that’s all OK, because I am at peace knowing that you are now at peace and that you are forever chasing butterflies on God’s lawn.  I love you to the furthest star in the furthest galaxy…and back.  You will always be my little angel.  Here’s a kiss from mommy, one from daddy and one from everyone else.  I love you Hailey.

To Hailey from Mommy
Oh my beautiful little girl….. our time together was much, much too short.  From the moment I knew I was carrying you inside me, I loved you beyond words.  Then from the first time I saw your beautiful face with those big eyes, touched those unbelievably tiny hands and feet and held you in my arms, to the first time we giggled like crazy, to our last cuddle, my love for you grew with each passing minute.  And now these tears we’re crying aren’t tears of sadness, they’re our love overflowing for you.  Hailey, I will miss you more than I can bear, but I know that you are at peace and are dancing and giggling and playing with the other angels.  No matter where you are I will always be your mommy and you will always be my precious little girl.  I love you forever and ever and always sweet angel.

All was quiet in the deep dark wood.
The mouse found a nut and the nut was good.
(excerpt from The Gruffalo, by Julia Donaldson)

We love you to the moon and back our sweet little “Hailey Bean”.

VICHNAYA PAMYAT (Eternal Memory).