Saturday, September 20

To Lose a Little One

As many of you may have heard or seen, this past Thursday morning, my 3-month old niece, Brooklyn passed away from what is suspected to be SIDS. It has been terribly difficult the last few days for the whole family and especially for Brooklyn's parents, Dalin's sister and her husband. I have never had such a horrible day in my life and can't even imagine the pain that Shaina and Layton endured and are still enduring.

We received the nightmarish call in the early morning and jumped out of bed to hurry to the hospital. We were crying instantly and as you can imagine, just in utter shock. Brooklyn was one of the last ones on our mind when Dalin took the call (we knew something was wrong from the number of times Dalin's dad had tried to reach us).

Being at the hospital was just horrible. I couldn't bear to see little Brooklyn at first, fearing I would be too overwhelmed. Shaina and Layton were there with a few family members and friends and everyone was just sobbing and holding each other. They held their daughter as long as they were able. The staff at the hospital were the one bright spot. They were so loving and sensitive and tried to give us all every freedom to let us grieve. Saying goodbye to Brooklyn was the hardest thing I have ever had to do. As Layton carried his sweet daughter from person to person, I decided I needed to take that chance to say goodbye to my little niece in this life. I kissed the soft brown hair over her forehead and at that moment, I just died inside thinking about what Shaina and Layton had to be feeling. Seeing them say goodbye to their daughter was the most heartbreaking thing I've ever seen. It was one of those moments that just replays in your head over and over, and I have had to repeatedly push the memory away to keep from losing it.

I have never really had to grieve for a family member before. When my great grandmother died, I was sad, but also relieved in a way because she was in her late-90's and had been in a great amount of pain for a while. She also had been away from her husband for more than twenty years and I knew she just wanted to be reunited with him. When my grandpa passed away a few months later, I didn't even really get to grieve. My family was back east and it didn't feel real that he had died. In some ways, I still haven't grasped it. I had lived away from him for a few years and it just felt like he was still in New Hampshire, going about his routine. Not only that, but my grandpa had two forms of cancer and was deteriorating quickly in the last few months of his life. We knew the end was coming and that he would be at peace when he passed.

But to lose a family member who is so very young, healthy, and to lose her so suddenly, is just terrible. In some ways, the fact that she had three months with her most loving father and mother is comforting because they had that time to create memories with her and love her, but in other ways, it is also more painful since they really got to know her personality and fall in love with her as a little person and now they have lost that. I have no idea what I would be feeling if I were in Shaina's position but thinking about it now, I do not think I would know what to do. To lose a child is horrible at any age or stage of life, but to lose your first child seems simply unbearable.

I was there for Brooklyn's birth and I remember being stunned by how beautiful a newborn she was. Her hair has always been so long and so soft. She smiled at only a few days old and has smiled ever since. She was just a little angel on earth and now she will truly be an angel throughout Shaina and Layton's life and throughout their future children's lives. A quote that has been a true comfort to me personally was shared with me by my Aunt Laur who also lost her first little baby girl years ago. The quote is by Joseph Smith, who lost six children of his own at birth or around a year of age: "The Lord takes many away, even in infancy, that they may escape the envy of man, and the sorrows and evils of this present world; they were too pure, too lovely, to live on earth."

Brooklyn was truly too perfect to live in this world of challenges. The only other thing that has kept me strong in the last day has been the knowledge that Shaina and Layton will see their sweet baby again. They will be with her in her perfect form and have the opportunity to raise her without trials or challenges. Because they made the choice to be sealed to one another for eternity, all of their children will be automatically sealed to them forever. Brooklyn included. That little angel girl is dearly missed on this earth, but also being loved dearly where she is now. I know that. She is happy, healthy, safe, and as beautiful as ever. I am so thankful for the knowledge the gospel of Jesus Christ gives me and it has allowed me to stay positive throughout this experience. I am sure the immense love we all have for Brooklyn will be emphasized at her funeral which will take place in Lehi on this Monday, the 22nd. I am certain it will be a beautiful service for a beautiful baby.

If you are in a position to donate even $5 or $10, please consider donating to the memorial fund set up to help pay for sweet Brooklyn's birth and funeral expenses. It makes me so sad that these two events are so tragically close together. You can check out the fund that has been set up for their family right here...every little bit will be so appreciated:

All I have to say is that families are forever. They are. I'm so glad for that.

Have you or someone close to you ever lost a child before? If so, do you have any comfort to offer my brother and sister?

With a heart full of hope,


  1. Thank you, sweet daughter, for this loving tribute. What a blessing you are to all of us.

  2. Olivia, you might not remember me. I'm Shaina and Layton's neighbor, Caradon Bowen, and we sort of met at the hospital. This is such a beautiful tribute. Shaina and Layton are lucky to have you and Dalin.


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