Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Partly sunny

There have been many dreary days here in our neck of the woods. Once November comes around we can say goodbye to blue skies. When I checked the weather forecast tonight I was relieved to see we will have some sunshine to be thankful for on Thursday!

It has been 2 weeks since Clara has passed. Life surely isn't the same without her. But, it is going on, as normally as it can. We miss her so much! Tonight I went upstairs to check on Baden and Kate. They were both wearing their Hope for Clara tee-shirts. Baden filled me in on what they were up to, a Clara sleepover. Clara's blankets were spread out on the floor and they had a station at each blanket. On one blanket they had to draw a picture of Clara and other activities on the rest of the blankets. Most nights since she passed they are doing something to honor or remember her. A couple nights ago they gathered all of Clara's things and organized them into a drawer. I'm so happy they are keeping her memory alive. I tear up when I think that one day their memory will fade and they will stop doing these sweet things.

Each day our mailbox is filled with sweet notes and cards from old and new friends. Thank you! It brightens up these gloomy days. We are so grateful for the kindness, generosity and love so many have extended to our family. We have such a great desire to pay it forward and you can be assured we will, all the days of our lives.

Happy Thanksgiving week!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Clara's funeral and obituary

Thank you for kind words and love that has been extended to our family with the loss of Clara. There is no need to feel sorry for us, words can't adequately express how thankful we are she is no longer in pain and we know she is in a better place. Please feel welcome to bring your children to the funeral, it would warm our hearts to have the families and children who have been praying for Clara for so long be there. 

Little Miss Sunshine, Clara Woodward, of Pasco, WA, passed away at her home, Wednesday, November 7, 2012, after a valiant 18 month battle with neuroblastoma, a childhood cancer. Though only 3 years old, she blessed the world with her radiant smile, her infectious laugh and a wisdom that defied her young age. We learned a lifetime of lessons from Clara in the short time we had with her on this earth and rejoice in the knowledge that we will be reunited after this life.

Clara was born in Richland, WA on April 27, 2009 and spent all of her brief life in Pasco. She loved singing, especially the primary songs she learned at church and at home. When she felt well, she loved to have the music loud so she could dance and sing along. Clara's joys in life included jumping on the trampoline, swinging for hours in the backyard, dressing up like a princess, pink pearls around her neck, and Ziplocks full of snacks. Her arms tight around our neck and kisses on our cheek brightened our days.

Our sweet Clara touched the lives of many with her zest for life through 5 months of radiation, surgery and chemotherapy during lengthy hospital stays. In October 2011, she returned home, reunited with her siblings and parents where we have spent the last 13 miraculous months together.

From Clara we learned that life is precious, that no earthly pleasure exceeds the joy derived from eternal family relationships. We learned that there are things much worse than destroyed potted flowers, that fingernail polish eventually comes off, that few things soothe a frightened child quite like a pink blankie and a drink of milk. We learned that strength comes from fighting battles together and that there is nothing sweeter than being reunited with family after a long separation. We learned to cherish seemingly insignificant moments and to celebrate minor accomplishments.

Clara loved to go to church and learn the stories of Jesus. During her darkest days of struggling with pain, she would watch Music and the Spoken Word by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir for hours on end as it brought peace and comfort to her gentle spirit.

Clara was blessed in life by countless doctors and nurses, particularly those at Sacred Heart Children's Medical Center in Spokane who prolonged her life and enabled her to spend eight wonderful months at home prior to relapsing.

Clara is survived by her parents, Brian and Natasha Woodward, her brothers Chandler, Carson and Baden and her sister Kate; her grandparents Kent and Krista Woodward and Tracy and Jill Lybbert; great grandparents Forrest and Betty Lybbert, Joan Casper, and Zelma Woodward; uncles, aunts and cousins Cody and Candace Fielding (Carter, Blake, Vivian, Lincoln), Kyle and Chelsea Mahuika (Michael, Preston, Brooks), Devin and Kendra Lybbert (Dean), Andrew Lybbert, Matt and Kim Peterson (Ethan, Jens, Myra, Melaina), Brandon and Kym Woodward (Cole, Jace, Bryce, Jaylee), Trey and Jami Warner (Indie), Cameron and Ashley Treu (Taya, Dodger), and Andrew and Jenna Van Buren (Cash, Brody). She was preceded in death by great grandparents Harold and Joan Briggs, Paul Woodward, William Casper and cousin Zan.

We rejoice in the knowledge of a Heavenly Home where Clara now watches over us. The Atonement of our Savior brings us peace and comfort with the sweet assurance we will be reunited again in the eternities. Families can be together forever.

The family will receive visitors at their home on Sunday, November 11, from 5-8 pm. Funeral services will be held on Monday, November 12, 2012 at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints Pasco Stake Center (2015 N 24th Ave) at 11:00am.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

She's free!

Never did I think the same blog that announced the birth of Clara would also announce her death. I'm so proud of her. She finally let go. Free from pain and sickness. Our little angel.

It's been the bitter-sweetest of days. All we have now are memories and we will continue to reminisce and look forward to the future with a resolve to be a little better each day.

We love you Clara girl and yearn for that glorious day when we will be reunited.

Thank you for the prayers you have offered for Clara and our family, they have undoubtedly sustained us over the last year and a half and continue to comfort us. God's love abounds and is manifest through the many kind people who have been placed in our path.

The funeral will be Monday, November 12th at 11am. Details forthcoming.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Dancing queen

Just a few weeks before the relapse and she stopped dancing. I just wish I wouldn't have flipped the phone the wrong way mid video. Hope Aunt Chelsea doesn't mind her cameo appearance!

Sunday, November 4, 2012


Tonight in her quiet moaning voice Clara asked for Kate to come lay by her on the couch. I don't know if it's possible for a picture to overwhelm me with gratitude while at the same time breaking my heart, but that's what it does for me. She wanted her sister close. Of course it caused me to wonder if she knows what tomorrow brings.

Clara has been blind for a couple weeks. The only normal thing she has left is food. 
She hasn't been sleeping much lately so we have become short order cooks and baggie fillers at all hours of the day. But the thing is, she doesn't eat any of it. At least not much of it. 
It's tiring and exhausting and frustrating. We know it's nothing compared to what she is going through. 
All we can do is imagine. And cry. Lots of crying.

We've prepared ourselves to say goodbye more times than I can remember anymore.
Her heart always bounces back. And her breathing regulates. On Friday afternoon her heart rate was 48. By 9pm on Friday night it was back up to 120. Her will is so strong! 
One of these days she is not going to bounce back. Her spirit will no longer be in her broken body.

Along with the overwhelming grief I anticipate a great sense of relief will also wave through us.
We belong to that group of parents now who have helplessly watched their child suffer physical agony and we won't be the last. I spend my days thinking and planning what I will do for those parents who will one day experience what we are. 

I just hope some good may come of Clara's trial and our experience. I have been forever changed and truly believe it has been for my good. Clara has been an amazing teacher.