Who's the cutest girl around?

I am a mom of a cutie pie (very biased). And I wanted to share my experiences with others (including my cuties grandparents, great-grandparents, numerous uncles and other relatives). I love being a mom and can't imagine doing anything else.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

By Nurse Manda

When asked to write this memorial, I was absolutely thrilled. I was so excited to get everything I wanted to say about Livi down on paper. Then I started writing and the task became so daunting. How would I ever be able to possibly express how much I love her and how, in four short months, she changed my life? Would my words be good enough for her? It certainly wasn’t a struggle to find things to write about her because I have hundreds of memories. The memories are so vivid that I can find myself right back in room 7260.
Some people would never believe that you could fall in love with someone and have them change your life to the extent that Livi changed mine. I may not have truly understood it either, but then I met Livi. Livi was just the most incredible, bright, funny, smart, lovely little girl. She was also so very brave. No child should have to endure the things that Livi went through, but she remained happy and so full of love every day.
I had the wonderful honor of being one of Livi’s nurses over the long four months that she spent in the hospital for transplant. Every morning I would go in her room to assess her and it always ended up that I stood beside her crib watching her sleep. Those are some of my most precious memories. I would watch the rise and fall of her adorable belly, the smile that always seemed to be on her face, and the way she always held her “friends” so close to her as she slept. I would stand there forever just brushing her hair from her forehead, smiling, because I knew how truly blessed I was to be a part of her life.
Evening was delightful for me because it meant bath time! There was nothing I loved more that letting Livi help me unhook all of her tubies, and then she would put on her little visor and get in the tub. I loved this so much because it meant that my part was coming up! As soon as she finished, I would be waiting with one of her bath towels, and I would get to snuggle her and keep her warm while Emily found the perfect pajamas for that night. Every second that I got to hold her was such a special treat.
Days were long and so full of things to do and memories to be made. There was dancing, CinderElmo, Barbies, stickers and, of course, teasing Gigi! I was always so happy being in Livi’s room. Spending time with her was such a joy and being treated as part of the family was so special. Even getting Livi’s blood pressure was fun because, many times, she would hold my hand until it was over. Who wouldn’t love that?! I will never forget the day she learned how to say my name. She was trying so hard and was so close, and then I started to leave the room and she just blurted it out! We were all so excited, and I was so proud. Soon, I went on vacation and she didn’t get to see me for quite a few days. When I got back, Emily told me that Livi had been watching TV and she started squealing and saying “Manda!” Emily told me that Cameron Diaz had been on TV and Livi saw the blonde and thought it was me! My name quickly turned into Manda Blue because of my love of the color and Livi started picking out only the blue M&Ms and eating those! Silly girl!
There are hundreds of stories and memories and things to say about Livi that are precious mementos that I get to hold onto. I was honored to be a part of her treatment from the beginning and I was privileged to be there when her journey with us was over. I am grateful every day for each second that I spent with her. I am a better person because of her and my life will, most certainly, never be the same. I will never have another Livi, and I will never again have a second family like I have in hers. Thei r intense love and unshakable faith are things that I will always admire. I will always remember Livi. She will never fade because her spirit was always so vibrant, and the impact that she has had on so many lives will be her legacy. The love that she had was a direct reflection of the incredible family that she was born into and they are people that I look up to every day. Livi was so brave and so strong for so long. I am comforted that she did not lose her battle because she changed and affected so many lives. I am saddened because the sun doesn’t shine as bright without her. I am determined to not let her fight be forgotten. You are in my heart every second, Livi Lou…I love you…


Blogger The Laughing Gulls said...

What a beautiful post, thank you for sharing your memories.

11:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a wonderful post....

Thanks soooo much for posting that picture, Emily. It is one of my favorites ever.



12:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is a great post and I also thought, 'what a wonderful nurse!'. Thank you for being willing to put your whole heart into what you do and blessing the Haughery's. May God bless you for your kindness!

12:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have been reading these every day - this is still the first website I go to every morning and check every afternoon - and I feel so honored to be able to learn even more about Livi. Emily, thank you for these gifts. These stories, these memorials, that give me the opportunity to know her even more. I only ever knew her through this blog, but she has a spot in my heart that will always be there and my love for her deepens with every story.
Thank you for sharing!
Vicki Moore

1:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Those were the most beautiful words I could ever hear. Those words are exactly the reason why I want to go into Peds. It takes a special person to care for the kids and families like this nurse did, and she did it wonderfully. I wish I could have been one of her nurses, to see her smile everyday through the pain, and to be a part of her life. I regret not coming to see her at Hershey. I guess I always thought "They probably won't even let me in". I wish I could have just seen her once. You are so lucky, Emily for having the chance to be her momma.

xoxo Lisa R

1:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The different tributes have all been beautiful, but this one just overwhelmed me. Nurse Manda, you are incredible yourself! I am so glad Livi had nurses like yourself who would love her so much and care so much for her and her family. I know you helped to make this very difficult journey easier for Livi and her folks. God bless you.
Cathy S.

1:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Emily dear, I was so blessed to have Gigi here with me from Tuesday eve. till just about an hour ago. We were able to share our tears and have some great hugs. My linen coset was a disaster and now I have to keep opening the door to see how great it is. Just checked th blog for the latest tributes to sweet Livi. Thanks to Amanda for being right on the mark about the joy Livi was to us. I am so glad I met Manda in Lancaster and truely give thanks for her being suc a wonderful person as well as being a terrific nurse and now your friend. Would that I were eloquent enough to write a tribute to Livi, but what I feel in my heart just does'nt translate to paper or blog. As Livi's Great Grand Marmie I can only say she was a bright shing star, a pure spirit. and the cutest little girl around. Every moment with her was the best and every memory cherished forever. Love her and you always. Marmie

2:20 PM  
Blogger Nyah's Mommy said...

sweetest thing I've ever read. It brought me to tears...I'm so glad livi had someone as special as Manda.

3:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nurse Manda,
You are a real treasure!
Thank you for sharing your stories about Livi; I can just picture them.
I don't think many nurses can hold a candle to you.
God bless you as you do your job as an "angel of mercy".

Mary Ann K.

4:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Beautiful! Your comments so vivid and full of love and gratitude.

We continue to lift up in prayer all those who cared for Livi, Emily, and James while at Hershey!

The Carrolls

4:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You guys were truly blessed through the nursing staff at HMC. They were so wonderful and took such good care of your baby.

This was so sweet to read. They were your "community" during this time. They could understand all of the medical jargon and procedures, etc. that the rest of us "lay" people couldn't comprehend. I loved that they were able to provide care for you all with compassion and humanity. I will never forget the group of nurses huddle together bawling as Livi died. I never could have imagined such commitment and love from people who were strangers 4 months earlier. It was amazing.

I really do thank God for the blessing of your nurses during your time there. They are extraordinary!

Love, Les

5:19 PM  
Anonymous jessica said...

I cannot wait to meet Livi someday. All these descriptions of her are so beautiful. God is pleased with Alivia and the impact she has made on so many. When I get to heaven, I will go looking for Alivia and her bright smile. She has taught me so much.

5:31 PM  
Blogger Sara said...


Thanks for the sweet and precious memorial for Livi. It's been said before by others, but thank you for your sacrifice to care for Alivia during her time at HMC. Although from the post, it doesn't sound like a sacrifice, but thank you for caring for Alivia in ways that most of us couldn't.


8:33 PM  
Blogger momofcolin_chloe said...

Nurse Manda,

THANK YOU! for loving Livi and caring for her and her family, too!


8:55 PM  
Blogger Jude's Mom said...

THAT was beautiful! WOW!

10:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow, what a beautiful way to honor and share memories about Livi. Thank you so much for posting.

Your daughter has touched so many lives. You're amazing parents!

Thank you
Holly Wadding

10:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Words can't describe that one. She is a great nurse, and I am sure you guys loved having her. I am praying for you guys. I also love that livi and miss her dearly.


11:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Emily and Jammes,
What a great tribute to Livi's life. Every time I think of her, I think of her beautiful smile. Nurse Manda got to see it daily, what a great gift. Thank you for taking such good care of Livi and the rest of the family. We still pray nighty for you all!
The Scherf's

11:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love all of the tributes. Throughout the journey, I have loved every story and picture of Livi. For a girl I never really got to know, she touched my heart. I know you hear this all of the time, but my perspective on life is different because of her and all of you. Thanks for sharing. Thanks Manda for making a difference and caring so much about precious Livi and the children you work with everyday. God Bless.
Diana B.

12:09 AM  
Blogger Parmer Clan said...

Truly beautiful. You were blessed by Nurse Manda and she was blessed by you and Livi. What a great picture of God's love at work. Praying hard for you guys everyday.

7:35 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I read this blog entry yesterday, but I am glad I waited until today to write more about it because what Nurse Manda had to share reduced me to tears. I can totally relate to someone changing your life and it wasn't until this morning that it hit me what it means for someone to change your life. Since the day Alivia died, my life hasn't been the same. This morning, as I waited for my oldest daughter to get ready for school, I finally realized that what makes it not "the same" is that I am not awake for 10 minutes without a thought of all of you and Livi passing through my mind. We all have those defining moments in our life where we swear we will never be "the same" again. I have expressed that feeling after September 11th, 2001 and at other defining moments in my life, but so often, they are just dramatic words that fade in to the distance with the passage of time. In spite of the fact that it is nice when things don't hurt so much anymore, it is always bittersweet because with the passage of the pain often comes the passage of whatever it was that I thought would change myself and those around me forever. I would prefer not to wake up with knots in my stomach or to shed tears as regularly about this forever, but I also hope and pray that whatever has changed me about this doesn't fade with the pain. It would be wonderful to get to a place in life where the the things that change forever don't have to hurt forever.



8:30 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh Manda, what can I say? You cared for Livi in a way that is beyond words.......you cared for us as well. You look even better from behind that ever!!!!! Guess who?

8:39 AM  
Anonymous Beth Young said...

That is such a sweet post. What a precious little girl Alivia was.

9:16 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Emily and James,
What a testimony to your family. Jesus' love was evident at Hershey through YOU and Alivia I am sure she shined Jesus to everyone! Isn't it mind boggling that Jesus placed those nurses at Hersehy just for Alivia? Especially "Nurse Manda". Thank you for sharing about what God has done. I continue to pray for you. - Sue F.

9:06 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Thank you for pouring your heart out in this post. Knowing the way that the Lord used Alivia and her family to affect your life is part of what drives my desire to be a nurse. You can not go through one day in this field and not be affected by the lives you are entrusted to care for. I am sure the way that you have been used in their lives to care for Livi during her stay has hand just as much if not more of an affect on them and the kindness of God they experienced through his placing you at that hospital. Thank you for pursuing this field and giving your life away everyday to care for those entrusted to you.

11:16 AM  

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