Saturday, October 27, 2018

Anastasha's Room...and a Brief Family Update (Eight Years Later)

It has been...gulp...nearly 6 years since I have posted to this blog.  A lot of life has happened since that time.  We've had two more children - Abigail (now 5) and Craig Jr. (now 3) - and 3 miscarriages since then.  Our oldest daughter, Ariana, graduated high school last year and is attending Texas A&M University in College Station.  Our youngest is recently potty trained, which means for the first time in NINETEEN YEARS we don't have a child in diapers (or two...or three).

Yesterday was Tonya and Anastasha's  birthday.  We celebrated in the usual fashion -  starting with breakfast in bed for Mommy and ending with cupcakes and lanterns at the cemetery for Anastasha.  It was a sweet day, and has become a regular routine for us.  In addition to Anastasha's tombstone, there are now three trees planted around her grave, one for each of the siblings who the Lord has taken home before we ever knew them.

The reason I am adding to the blog is because today we were a part of something very special.  A life long friend of ours, Cara Tully, is a labor and delivery nurse at Medical City, a hospital in Plano, TX.  She and some coworkers decided to create a bereavement room for families that experience a loss of a pre-born or newborn child during their time at the hospital.  She asked us if it could be dedicated and named in Anastasha's honor.  Of course we were thrilled to participate.

Today we went for the dedication for a chance to see "Anastasha's Room", located on the labor and delivery floor.  It was arranged like a newborn nursery, complete with a basinet and other baby items.  It was a great privilege to be a part of this room that will hopefully be a haven for families walking a similar journey of deep sorrow that we walked eight years ago.  And it was a blessing to see our little girl's name on a room, since she never got to have one here on Earth.

Here are some pictures of the room dedication followed by pictures of our birthday celebration at the cemetery.  Keep a lookout for Abi and little Craig since they've never appeared on this blog!

May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you.

Craig and Tonya

They asked us to write a little something for the room, briefly sharing her story.  This is what we wrote:

On October 26, 2010 we welcomed into the world our daughter, Anastasha Kalil DeLisi.  She lived inside her mother’s womb for a full 9 months, but in our arms for less than an hour. 

We learned of her terminal diagnosis, anencephaly, at 16 weeks gestation.  As followers of Jesus and parents who loved her, we were privileged to carry her until term. 

It has been 8 years since her death.  Even though her life on earth was short, the impact she has had on our lives has been immeasurable.  Because of Anastasha we parent differently. We try not to major in the minors, knowing that this life is short and that we aren’t promised tomorrow with any of our children. We long for heaven in a way that we have never before.  And most of all, because of her, we have greater gratitude in our hearts towards Jesus and what He did to make a way for us, and our sweet Anastasha, to spend eternity in heaven. 

As a family, we are so sorry that you are walking this path.  Whether this was expected and known ahead of time or an unexpected shock, the grief and surrealism you are experiencing is almost unbearable.  It is doubtful that there is greater pain this side of hell than losing a child.  And you will never be the same.  

As a father and mother and as brothers and sisters who are further down the same painful, broken road, may we encourage you that even though you can’t see it, there is healing ahead. If you will allow, the Great Shepherd in heaven will gently lead you beside still waters.  And, in time, though the pain will never truly be gone this side of heaven, He will turn your grief intojoy. 

Your son or daughter’s life matters.  Not just because you love them, but because they were made in the image of God who loves them, and they were given a soul that will live forever.  

We pray that Anastasha’s Room, a room she never was able to have, may be a place of comfort and of HIS peace to you and your family during this time of mourning.  And, yes, even joy…. 

Anastasha’s Family - the DeLisi’s

Craig, Tonya, Ariana, Charis, Adoniyah, Amalyah, Corban, Caelan, Cale, Caius, Anabella, Caleb, Abigail, and Craig Jr.

Birthday celebration....

Friday, December 21, 2012

Anastasha Funeral Slide Show

Anastasha's funeral was one year ago today.   Here is a brief slide show to commemorate that time.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Anastasha Slideshow

For those of you who haven't seen it, this is the full length slide show that was shown at her memorial service. I pray it is a blessing to you.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

What is Life?

I had the honor of preaching at our church in honor of National Sanctity of Life Sunday this year.  Among other things I shared publicly for the first time about our journey with Anastasha.  It was difficult and very emotional.  If you are interested in watching, the link to the sermon is here.

Twin Pictures update

I haven't posted anything in a while.  I suppose the twins have knocked us off our game a bit more than I anticipated.  They are both 4 months old, so I have some catching up to do.  I'll post the pictures chronologically.

Bella aka "Bellini" aka "Bellerina" aka "Sugar Bear" aka "Bella Bella Stinkerella"

Caleb aka "K-love" aka "Chunk"

The Dynamic Duo

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Anastasha - One Year Later

We celebrated Anastasha's 1st/Tonya's 37th birthday this week.  As you might expect, it was a bittersweet day.  We looked back with fondness on the gift of Anastasha's life.  But there was also a heaviness in realizing that she has been gone from us for an entire year.  The memory of her life is still very vivid, as is the memory of her loss.

The day began with the kids making Tonya breakfast (which is a tradition we've done for years). This time, instead of bringing it to her in bed, we brought it to the nursery, which is where Mommy has spent most of her free time these days...nursing the twins.

We gave Tonya her presents, which included a pendant that I bought her that has an engraving of a Anastasha's actual footprints.

From 12:39 PM till 1:29PM (the 50 minutes that she was alive), we all sat in the living room together as a family.  We prayed together, thanking God for the gift He gave us in Anastasha.  The kids then read cards and poems that they wrote for her.  After this time was over, we went outside and planted two Magnolia trees in Anastasha's honor.

Later that evening, we went to the cemetery to visit Anastasha's grave.  The girls made her a birthday cake, which we brought with us and ate there.  We sang "Happy Birthday" to her.

Finally, we brought and released some paper lanterns (like from the movie "Tangled").  The kids enjoyed this better than balloons.  We couldn't believe that it actually worked!  You can watch a short video of it below.

Overall the day was a blessing...filled with smiles and laughs and plenty of tears.  We are so thankful to our Father for our sweet little princess.  We can't believe she has been gone for a year already.  But we are so glad that she has spent every moment of that time in the Presence of the King.