Through the incredible generosity of others, we were able to honor Annie with a tree at the Festival of Trees this year. Cameron's co-workers at Stoel Rives offered to sponsor the tree, and our families helped to supply the gifts beneath it. Thank you to all who made this happen! Cameron and I were both surprised at how therapeutic this was for us. We miss her so much and can't help but imagine what our holiday season might be like if she were here. Her stocking hangs on the mantle with those of our other children, reminding us every day of our sixth child that will never race up the stairs on Christmas morning to see what Santa brought for her. It lifted our hearts to decorate this beautiful tree, and pile all these beautiful gifts around it- gifts that she might have received if she were here. Again, we feel such deep gratitude to the people that have rallied around our family this year. Your love has made such a difference in our lives. We can't say thank you enough.
Below are pictures of Annie's tree and a copy of the bio that was included with her picture.
Annie's Bio for the Festival of Trees
On December 30, 2009, three months before she was born, we learned that our Annie had heart defects. Her official diagnosis was tetralogy of fallot with absent pulmonary valve. For the next several months, we waited anxiously for her birth, hoping for the best and preparing for the worst. On March 30, 2010, Annie Grace Sabin was born, and we immediately fell in love with her. She surprised us all when she did not have to be placed on a ventilator at birth, and for three beautiful weeks, we were able to hold her in our arms and close to our hearts. While she fought for every breath during this time, we cherished every minute we had with her. However, as she struggled more and more to breathe, it was decided that she needed to have open-heart surgery, and, on April 23, we watched our tiny infant daughter go into the operating room for the first time. This photograph was taken the day before she was placed on a ventilator and two days before her first surgery. Never again, until the day she died, would we see her without the ventilator tube taped to her mouth. What we hoped would be fixed with a single surgery, turned into something much more complicated. Over the course of her four-month life, Annie endured four major surgeries (two requiring bypass) and multiple minor surgeries. She was taken to the brink of death several times and continually amazed us with her will to live. She fought valiantly to be here with us. Her fight allowed us precious time to memorize tender details: her beautiful blue eyes, her long slender fingers, and the dimple in the middle of her top lip. More importantly, these months gave us a chance to really know her gentle, patient spirit. Every day with Annie was a gift. She taught us so much in her short life. Annie died on August 1, 2010. Again in our arms and close to our hearts, she took her last breath and passed away peacefully. We miss her. We love her. We will never be the same.
Cameron and Amy Sabin