We Love Ella!    
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Patchwork Quilt

This quilt was made shortly after Ella's diagnosis, and it represents the contributions of many. An announcement was made to have anyone who wanted to contribute to the quilt to send in a square that had some meaning, such as a piece of cloth cut from a treasured baby blanket or a handmade square that contained a personalized message for Ella.

The quilt was passed to us during a ceremony in which many of our friends gathered together at a friend's place on the west side of town. We took turns visiting so that Ella was not left alone at home. Tom attended the main part of the ceremony and still remembers many of the words that were spoken.

The blanket stayed on Ella's bed for the entire time she was sick, whether she was at the hospital or at home. Although Ella loved it, it possibly gave us more comfort than Ella, because it reminded us of how many people cared about our family.

The turnaround time for sending in squares was short; therefore, not all of the squares that were sent made it in the quilt. We have the extra squares as well as the original quilt.

A cadre of people helped to organize the quilt making and the ceremony. The quilt was sewn by Lillian Llacer, Paula Begg, Shawn Blue, Lisa Reinhardt and Jennifer Talbot. Catherine Howard, Janet Weber, Paula and Jen organized. Jill Manahan led the ceremony.

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Ella Has a Beautiful Smile (Book)

This felt book was handmade by Adrienne Olmstead and Zac Denning and includes contributions by a number of others. It contains simple messages of strength and beauty for Ella, and a removable cloth doll. Ella liked the colors and softness of the book and also enjoyed playing with the doll.

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Bunny Quilt

Suzy Stauffer, an honorary aunt of Ella's, made this very soft bunny quilt. It always brightened the room and provided a high snuggle factor.

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Felt Angel

This felt angel was created by Jennifer Rexroad, the mother of one of Ella's daycare friends.

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Village Well

Click to view more photos

After Ella passed, family friends Eric and Ellen Joss asked our friend Gil Hoelzer, a world traveler who repays the hospitality he's received in Cambodia by helping out however he can, to oversee the construction of a well in Ella's honor. The idea the Josses came up with was to help finance a charitable project that was also symbolic of Ella's healing, called Ella's Well. It was a beautiful idea that has finally come to fruition in a place called Sihanouk Ville, thanks to Gil's dedication. Tom and I were utterly overwhelmed with emotion and appreciation for the idea and energy that went into realizing this vision. To think that a whole community of people in Cambodia has access to pure water (something that is an issue in Cambodia) at a well that is also a memorial for Ella, where Ella's beautiful smile is part of the experience for them is just amazing to Tom and I.

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Western Meadowlark for Ella

by Robin Center

(click to enlarge)

Listen to the song of a Western Meadowlark
Source of Bird Audio

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Time: The Rising of an Angel
(watercolor, painted for Ella)
by Jill Manahan

(click to enlarge)

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Close Your Eyes

Close your eyes, and see me now.
Relax, be still and feel me near.
But a breath away, I am.

My father's child, my mother's love forever.
Embrace, embrace - don't let go of one another. Within your hearts, I have my life.

You saw seven candles, heard birthday's song.
Rode the river past my milestones.
And held my children in your arms.

My parents' hopes and dreams and wishes sweet. We never know how long lives embrace.
Forgive me. I took brave steps another way.

The gifts we shared were precious, rare.
Love's lessons we learned in joy and tears.
But hope and love outlasted time.

Love circling, you held me, my hand.
I heard your words, but love spoke loudest.
In sweet peace, I closed my eyes - and see you now.

Soft tears. Good-byes. And questions why?
You gave me being and loved me strong.
I made you a father and a mother lifelong.

Speak of me aloud.
Monkeys, choo-choos and wagon rides.
The hugs, the giggles, the smiles, the wiggles.

And listen quiet for my whisper.
Strength and fight. And heart of courage.
Laughter. Joy. And life itself.

Close your eyes, and see me now.
Relax, be still and feel me near.
But a breath away, I am.

-Julia Ann Easley, for Ella
Written May 29, 2007
Read by Julia Ann at Ella's Memorial Service
May 31, 2007

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To Ella

Little Ella, little Angel,
With eyes so blue
and smile so bright
I pray for you
with all my might

I'd rather it me, than you little one
to endure such ill
I hope upon all our tears
That you will see many happy years

May God guide your surgeon's hand
and return you to us safe again
to build with me a castle of sand

We love you, Ella

-Pat Williams
February 17, 2007

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We Cry ... I Smile

Dearest Ella. Sweet child. The result of a wondrous and stong love.

We cry. We weep...

...for the days we will miss with you.  
...for the little adventures we should have taken.
...for the discoveries we could have made together.
...for the laughter, the stories, the promise.

We cry. We weep...

...for what were your accomplishments to be, and the kisses we will never get.
...for the aching in your parentsí hearts,
      and the longing of their arms to hold you again,
                healthy, strong, well.

But Ahhhhh, Ella, I smile

... I smile at the thought of your beautiful sweet laughter. At the joy of seeing you as you were. Happy to sit and play with water. At how you smiled and even chuckled to see photos of my children,
      even as you yourself were feeling low. I smile at the pleasure you gave to those who loved you with all their being,
      even if only for a short while.

Reluctantly, Ella, and oh-so-unwillingly, we let you go. Your memory with us forever.

We will meet again. We will have that chance...

Fly with love, dear sweet fairy-child.

- Laura Ghiron

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I am the hot sun reflecting on a sparkling lake
I am a light bulb in a lone child's mind
I am close, yet so far away
I am the song you're sung to sleep with
I am the child of your dreams and worst nightmares
I am the black cat that loves to play
I am the loneliness of an only child
I am a rainbow, yet I am the moon
I am the money that will come soon
I am the teddy bear you hug so close
I am the traveler, yet I try not to boast
I am the cousin that I loved so dear
I wish
I wish that you were still here
I wish
I wish that you were still near
I hope
I hope you will come back somehow
Goodbye, just for now

- Tanika McKinley (Ella's Cousin)

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To All Those Who Pass This Way Today

To all those who pass this way today, let it be known that our dear Ella – daughter, granddaughter, niece, cousin, friend, music lover, bacon authority, vernal pool expert, and little mommy to Gigi and Gossie – is, and forever will be, so loved by all.

We reach out to her, to her parents, Tom and Shannon, on this beautiful spring day, the kind that holds the promise of a walk to the park, of a romp with Jolie and Pierre, just an otherwise ordinary spring day, full of discoveries and havoc yet to be made.

To all those who pass this way today, let it be known that Ella is an enchanting child with dimples that protect a sweet smile and a silly, infectious laugh, who is blessed with strawberry locks and sparkling eyes that often turn playfully mischievous with one swift sideways glance.

We gather here today to be with Ella, to be with her loving parents, who are amazingly strong, amazingly resilient caregivers on this painful, poignant, passionate journey as it draws to an end.

To all those who pass this way today, let it be known that Ella, despite her illness that deprived her of years, but not of the joy of living, patiently, and not so patiently, endured months of treatment that could not conquer her cancer but failed to defeat or even diminish her courage or her character.

On this beautiful spring day, when Ella should be out pushing a series of naked dolls all named Gigi around in their little stroller, she is comforted by the companionship of her best Gossie goose and all the love in the world.

To all those who pass this way today, we ask you to remember the strength of a little girl, the love of her parents, of all the little things that made Ella the special child that she will always be.

- Pam Slater
May 2007

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Album Insert

Lyndhurst Rd.
by the Holliston Stops
(CD art & dedication for Ella)
(click to view) 2-page Acrobat pdf

This album insert is from the CD: Lyndhurst Rd. by the Holliston Stops, a band who has had their lives touched by the unexpected losses of both Ella and another girl named Ruby. The band started a fund in Ella's name to support pediatric cancer research.

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Untitled Document
Quack? No - it's a goose, silly.
Sand Box - fun!
Choo Choooooo!
Vroom! Vroom!
Charlotte's Web
Funky Chicken
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All Text ©2007 Tom Hinds & Shannon Hickey
Design & homepage illustrations - ©2007 Zac Denning
All other photos and graphics © Tom Hinds & Shannon Hickey unless otherwise specified - all images to be used by permission only