To know her was to love her.
Although I have several nieces & nephews on my husband’s side of the family, on March 22nd, 2011, my sister gave birth to the first niece I was related to by blood, Delaney Rose.
I was a very proud Aunt.
4 days after Delaney Rose was born, my family of four traveled across the state to meet our niece/cousin for the first time. I could hardly contain my excitement! My girls were also excited to meet & hold another baby cousin. Delaney was wide awake for the first couple hours we visited, she looked directly into our eyes and I felt in my heart that she was an old soul. The depth of emotions in such a new life was surreal. 
A few hours after we arrived, Delaney fell asleep on the hubs’ chest. 
So sweet… <3 
As we left my sister’s home that day… we felt so lucky that we could spend those hours together. Little did we know… that day was the only time we would have with the sweet, bright baby girl we knew. 
That phenomenal day left a baby-sized handprint on my heart I will always carry with me, just like the day I experienced connecting with my baby nephew 8 1/2 years ago. 
3 weeks later, Delaney went into cardiac arrest due to three (two undetected) defects in her heart and suffered massive brain damage
After 10 days in the NICU, Delaney was released from the hospital and placed on home-care hospice. There was nothing more the hospital could do for my niece. Delaney could not suck, spit-up, swallow, see, hear… among so many other challenges. My sister & brother-in-law’s life changed dramatically.
We had no idea what the next week, month, or even the next day would bring… but my little niece didn’t give up without a fight. In light of my sister & brother-in-law calling each other by their first initials, I started calling my niece “Tenacious D“. Yes, I’m a big fan of the band… but my niece fit this nickname so perfectly, it was indeed a Tribute in more ways that one. 
Over the next 8 months, my niece taught us just how extraordinary the gift of tenacity could be… as well as the importance of:
and embracing every moment of life we have with our whole heart. 
Yesterday afternoon, our little Tenacious D’s fight on earth ended… 
As tragic as this situation is, Delaney touched the lives of so many people over her short life. I truly believe that my niece has been given the most radiant wings as she is greeted by angels, young & old I already know are in heaven.
My little Tenacious D will always remain a part of my soul and in my heart. Delaney’s life will be a constant reminder to embrace my own children as well as the people I love: family, old friends, new friends and even people I never would’ve known without my niece… a little tighter. 
I hope my niece’s short life can inspire you to do the same. 

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  1. Posted January 16, 2012 at 2:19 pm | Permalink

    My condolences to your family.

  2. Posted January 16, 2012 at 2:48 pm | Permalink

    I have followed Delaney’s story since you first posted it. As a Mother who has lost two of her children, my heart goes out to your family.

    Sheila Galindo

  3. Posted January 16, 2012 at 3:54 pm | Permalink

    My condolences to your family.

  4. Posted January 16, 2012 at 3:55 pm | Permalink

    My condolences to your family.

  5. Posted January 16, 2012 at 3:57 pm | Permalink

    I’m so sorry. Your family is in my thoughts.

  6. Posted January 16, 2012 at 4:41 pm | Permalink

    I’m so sorry for your loss. She sounds like an amazing little lady…definitely a blessed angel.

  7. Posted January 16, 2012 at 9:26 pm | Permalink

    My thoughts and prayers are with you during this time of great personal sorrow. You had an angel on earth for just a short time. Now she is an angel forever.

  8. Anonymous
    Posted January 16, 2012 at 9:59 pm | Permalink

    I am so very sorry. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.

  9. Posted January 16, 2012 at 10:24 pm | Permalink

    Can’t stop thinking about your family. Sending healing thoughts and comfort across the miles.

  10. Mandi Childs
    Posted January 16, 2012 at 10:48 pm | Permalink

    So very sorry for your loss…your family is in my thoughts and prayers!!….God bless.

  11. Posted January 17, 2012 at 12:20 am | Permalink

    So sorry to hear about Delaney. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. She was put on this Earth to teach us that knew her or of her a few lessons. Thankful to have heard her story and to hear of the incredible strength, love and dedication of her parents and family. May she rest in peace.

  12. Posted January 17, 2012 at 9:50 am | Permalink

    Thank you so much for all of your kind words, friends. Your positive thoughts & prayers will carry my family through the next few days.

  13. Julie
    Posted January 17, 2012 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

    Kelli this is just heartbreaking. I will be praying for your whole family.

    • Posted February 2, 2012 at 7:16 pm | Permalink

      Thanks, Julie. We appreciate all the positive thoughts & prayers.

  14. Posted January 17, 2012 at 3:56 pm | Permalink

    Simply beautiful, Kelli. I obviously never met little Delaney, but I felt her reach from here. Just reading about her it’s clear she was a tremendous presence in your family and her spirit will be felt forever. My thoughts continue to be with all of you.

    • Posted February 2, 2012 at 7:17 pm | Permalink

      Thanks, Jocelyn. It’s amazing how people people she touched in such a short time, isn’t it?

  15. Posted January 25, 2012 at 9:22 pm | Permalink

    Oh my gosh this is so incredibly heartbreaking. I am so sorry for your family loss but you are so right, you were all very lucky to be touched by an angel like Delaney. Sending a million hugs.

    • Posted February 2, 2012 at 7:16 pm | Permalink

      Thanks, Jessica. We appreciate all the positive thoughts… and the million hugs especially. 🙂

  16. Posted February 2, 2012 at 5:07 pm | Permalink

    That made me cry. I’m sorry for your family’s loss. She truly is an angel.

    • Posted February 2, 2012 at 7:15 pm | Permalink

      Thanks Eric… we’re very lucky we had her here on earth with us, even if it was for a short time; now she’s in our hearts.

2 Trackbacks

  • By Don’t Judge a Book by it’s Cover. on June 12, 2013 at 10:16 pm

    […] the more “serious” &/or big bloggers. Doesn’t matter that I wrote about some very heavy & serious topics regarding my niece’s tragedy, or even a week-long, detailed series on Disney World last year… I’m not holding my […]

  • By The Black Cloud of Death on November 12, 2013 at 1:37 pm

    […] were premature (i.e. any death under the age of 65). My Father-in-law, infant cousins, nephew and niece; non-blood related friends who FELT like family, people I actually referred to as Mom, Dad, Aunt or […]

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    Kelli Williams

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