Ella's Memorial Transcript
Officiant: Diane Livoti,
Godmother to Ella
behalf of Tom and Shannon and their families,
let me welcome you today as we gather to remember
Ella and to celebrate her life. Please take
a moment to look around and connect with each
other and connect with this place that holds
us. We honor all the faiths and belief systems
represented here. Diversity in thought and faith
connected by love make this community both rich
and strong. I want to acknowledge each of you
for the important character you are in this
story. Thank you to the families who have traveled
great and short distances to be here for your
relative, Ella. Thank you to the old and new
friends of the families who are here. Thank
you to Tom and Shannon's work communities who
are here from UC Davis and EDAW. Thank you to
the Davis friends. Thank you to the river friends.
Thank you to the school friends. Thank you to
Ella's friends and and care providers. I want
to thank all the loved ones who are departed,
you are here in spirit and I want to acknowledge
specifically Sara Ann, Ella's second cousin,
who passed when she was four years old from
you to all who were touched by Ella's life.
are here to remember, release, and celebrate
Ella's life. Life is a sacred and infinite circle
of beginnings and endings. While it seemed that
Ella was just on the beginning side of this
life's journey, she was called to another. We
are left with loss and all the emotion that
comes with. We are also left with our memory
of Ella, who at two had lived a joyous life.
I have heard Chimene's voice in my head this
week, saying " One door closed and another
one opened." On Saturday night we gathered
around Ella's beautiful body in quiet vigil.
Shannon presenced for us that our gathering
was matched somewhere by a gathering of souls
who were welcoming Ella to their realm. Whatever
our beliefs about life and death, we can take
comfort in knowing that Ella is not in pain,
she is at peace, and that she lived an incredible
and Tom chose to have us gather in Chestnut
Park because this place was one that Ella loved.
She spent many of her days here; exploring,
playing, discovering, and growing. With daddy,
Ella would watch him play basketball. She was
his biggest fan. Daddy would pass her the ball,
she would throw it back to him, and he would
make the shot. She would giggle when he made
a basket. Aunt Chimene, Ella's beloved Tia,
would take her on adventures right here, going
from this tree to that one visiting the scrub
jays and crows. On any given day, Ella could
be found pushing a stroller with one of her
inside. Shannon would bring her here to throw
the ball to Jolie and Pierre when Ella was in
the womb, slung to her body, and learning to
walk. Eventually, Ella was walking and made
her way to the sand box much to the chagrin
and Pierre. The sand box delighted her.
She taught her mom to fetch by setting pebbles
sliding along a plastic pipe and would wait
happily for her mom to bring them back to her.
It is right that we are here in Chestnut Park.
It is where we would find Ella if she were here
was named after two great women. Ella Fitzgerald
made music that both Shannon and Tom loved;
she was a strong spirit and had an elegant name.
Ella was given Kathleen as her middle name to
honor her grandmother, Shannon's mother. Grandma
Kathi is a compassionate soul, a quality that
ran deep in Ella. She is a wise woman, deeply
committed to her family. She is someone that
I respect and admire. With such power in her
name, Ella was destined to have a great impact
on our world. By the looks of how many of us
are here, I'd say she was well on her way. I'd
like to invite Grandma Kathi up here to share
her heart with us and to light this candle for
Kathi speaks and lights candle
I'd like to invite
Julia Ann, a work colleague and friend of Tom's
to read a poem she wrote for Ella.
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
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 - May 29, 2007)
to invite Catie Bull, a cherished friend of
the Hinds family to share a reading from The
Parents Tao Te Ching.
Open Your Arms Wide
Wise parents do not strive,
yet their purposes never fail.
They are available,
but never interfere.
but never lecture.
They let their children go,
but never lose them.
These parents are like the
They open wide their hearts
yet never lose a thing.
If I grasp my children
and my other treasures,
I will have only what my arms can hold.
And even that
slips through my grasp.
But the wider I have opened my arms,
the more and more I find.
If I can ever open wide,
I will have everything.
-The Parent's Tao
Lao Tzu (modernized by William Martin)
Diane: Eulogy (written by
Tom & Shannon):
How can we describe
to you someone who is not yet fully formed as
How can we explain
how someone so full of grace could meet such
How do we move ahead
in life when we feel that we are leaving our
precious little girl behind?
The eulogy today has
more questions than it has answers.
Ella set out on life's
journey on February 20, 2005, just a mile from
here at Sutter Davis. She was born with her
mother's apricot hair and her father's facial
features. She had a boyish appearance that disappeared
with barrettes and earrings and her radiant
smile. Within a year, she was taller than 99%
of the other girls her age.
Early on Ella showed
her passion for figuring our anything in her
daily life that required dexterity. She especially
loved Fastex buckles. By 10 months, she could
snap herself into her high chair. She would
proudly crawl around with dog collars clipped
around her neck, dog tags jangling along. Before
she was two, as a result of many hours of practice,
she could zip up her own sweaters. We figured
she would be our little engineer.
was a yes girl, preferring to announce a hearty
"yes" with a big smile long before
"no" regularly entered her vocabulary.
She would also politely order her parents around
the house, starting with the "princess
wave" that she would direct at anything
she wanted you to bring her. Some of her first
words were "Hep peez" or "Up
peez", translated as Help Please or Up
Please, which she would shout to whomever was
closest. Ella also learned that her parents
set limits, and while they catered to many whims,
they had boundaries for her to adhere to. So
a healthy equilibrium was reached. One of her
early-learned favorite words was "happ-pee."
What was it that made
her "happ-pee?" Those things began
with her mommy and daddy and the rest of her
family, and extended to Gossie
the stuffed goslings (there were at least three),
ice chips, yogurt, Beebo
the Baby Signs Bear, The
Daddy Book, balloons, bubbles, making and
serving imaginary hot tea, and a host of other
things that captured her imagination and heart.
Ella's traits were
thus: patience; a sense of humor and a sparkle
in her eye; passion for music and wriggling
her body; a sense of personal space that when
violated could lead to a bite; and most memorably,
a great doling out of affection and love.
By the age of six
months, she would give her mommy a gentle pat
on the back combined with "Mmmmm."
She would do the same with her dollies and stuffed
animals, delighting in rocking them and gently
patting them on their backs.
In a household where
joy and laughter are cherished, Ella added to
the fun. We knew early on that she would have
a great sense of humor. We would call her a
tease as she pretended to give something and
then with a wry smile and twinkle in her eye,
withdraw her offer.
One day when Ella
and Shannon were at baby sign language class,
the instructor laid Beebo,
a big furry blue bear, on the floor. Ella let
out a squeal, crawled over to where Beebo
was laying on the ground and attacked him, rolling
and tumbling with Beebo
while shrieking with laughter.
Even when she was
sick, Ella enjoyed life to the fullest extent
she could. In the hospital, she developed a
morning ritual where she would clamber on the
chair beside the window ledge, and begin playing
CD after CD in the music player, dancing along
to the snippets of songs that she played. This
ritual combined three of her favorite passions:
music, dancing, and figuring out gadgets.
Ella has been an example
to us all, with her resilience and passion to
live the next moment.
We are fortunate
to have known her for as long as we did, though
we wanted her longer. She gave us joy, and she
showed how in this modern day of independence
and technology we are all still intertwined
in compassion, love, and support. For this,
we deeply thank her. We will always hold her
in our hearts.
For this next part,
I want to invite any of you who would like to
share a memory or story of Ella. When it is
your turn, please move to the aisle and speak
into the microphone.
close and open rock meditation.
Moment of Silence: Rock
is no way to find justice in losing Ella so
young. It is a tremendous loss; one we will
each grieve in our own way. I stand here before
you grieving. As we each journey towards healing,
we will find our own personal meaning. In my
search for meaning, my internal wisdom tells
me to dive into love; to reach out and connect
with my community and to relish life. I miss
you Ella. I love you. I promise to honor your
memory with a great life. I thank you Tom and
Shannon for the opportunity to be a godmother.
It has been a blessing.
you all for being here. This community is inspiring.
It is an honor to stand amongst such great people.
Please enjoy the food, this place, and each
other. It's what Ella would be doing.
we conclude, I'd like to ask that you deposit
your blessed rock back into the pile of rocks.
These will become a part of Ella's garden. Please
stay for as long as you desire, and know that
there will be an informal gathering at Tom and
Shannon's home, through the exit on Penny Place,
on-going throughout the day.