ElliesWay | Ellie's Way - Part 2

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Tragedy brings out fear in many people. Those that suffer the tragedy are walking examples of people’s worst nightmares. Those that are suffering can also fear another devastating loss. How can some people live through this with courage and hope, while others are paralyzed by fear? Many bereaved parents express fear of losing another child. They have experienced the incredible pain of losing a child and can’t bear the thought of this happening again. This fear can be crippling. Knowing that life is fragile and precious is scary. Others have no fear. Their worst fear occurred and they survived, giving them a sense of courage that they never could have understood before. Here’s how I learned to live without fear… It had been three long weeks of very difficult days and nights since our six-year-old daughter, Ellie, died in a tragic accident. Somehow we found the strength to bring our sons to state championship swim meet. It was a long day. We had a pretty good day, but we were all tired after the hour long drive back home. Ma, my wife’s mother, had stayed behind to watch our dog Maverick, and the two new puppies, Slider and Goose. (anyone else a Top Gun fan?) When we arrived, Ma informed us that Maverick had bit her hand while she was trying to bring him in. He was barking at a neighbor and she tried to retrieve him. He apparently took a large bite in her hand, puncturing her skin in […]

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After losing our sweet little Ellie, we were in shock. Our friends and family had no experience with the tragedy we faced. The sudden loss of a young child doesn’t occur very often, so there were few people to talk to who had lived through something like this. When I was in the pit of my despair, several people reached out to me and let me know that I was not alone. I needed to know that others had survived this. I wasn’t sure I could. I wasn’t sure my family could. A kind gentleman called me and told me his story of losing his dear son in a tragic accident several years before. He listened to me and sat in my pain with me. He gave me the gift of hope that we could survive. He was a gift that I needed at the moment that he called. One of my wife’s friends from high school also let us know that she was there for us. She had lost her son and husband recently and suffered terrible injuries as well. Her willingness to share in our pain, in the middle of hers, gave us hope too. We receive many requests for connections to others with similar losses at Ellie’s Way. It’s been quite overwhelming. So, we’ve created a group on Facebook where we can connect and share our stories. It’s a place where you can interact as much or little as you like. Here’s what you will find in […]

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Malaikye’s Legacy Lives On! by Rachel Marie Rodriguez There comes a time in your life when you see your existence through a whole different set of eyes. Sometimes, through tragedy you find a deeper appreciation for this thing called life and all it entails. On August 12, 2011 my life was to take a life shattering turn. I received a phone call that my grandson Malaikye was taken to the Emergency Room after an apparent fall. For 3 long days we prayed and prayer for a Miracle. A Miracle that would open our baby’s eyes and eventually be able to have him discharged from the hospital. My faith remained as I knew God was hearing our emotional pleas for Him to breathe life into our baby who was being kept alive by a ventilator. Sadly, that Miracle didn’t come and we had the painful task of having to say goodbyes to our precious Malaikye. Witnessing my son Daniel fall to his knees on the hospital floor in disbelief, agony, and emotions crushed me to my core. As a parent, all I wanted to do was bring some sort of comfort to my son. What could I say? What could I do to take this away from him? Absolutely nothing. This was a double edged sword for me. I had lost my grandson, and in a way, I was losing a part of my son. I knew he would never be the same. He adored his little boy and I always […]

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Philip Hagan Wickett September 6, 1983 – March 1, 2007 Hope After Suicide by Nancy Wickett The phone rang. It was 7:34 am. I grabbed it before it rang the second time. (Had I been asleep, I wondered?) It was my husband, Don. “Is Philip in his room?” he asked. “Yes.” “Is the van home?” “Yes, why?” My heart started beating faster. Don blurted out… “I just got this email he sent to all of us and it says, ‘Goodbye Forever…’” My heart sank. I dropped the phone. I quickly went to the hall–Philip’s bedroom door was OPEN! He was gone. I told Don to come home and get me. I’m not sure how I got through the next 8 to 10 minutes waiting on my husband. I prayed. Philip lived alone in an apartment, but he had stayed the night with us. And we spent a lot of time talking and listening to him. He had been depressed. I assured him that things would get better. We arrived to Apartment E, and his door was locked. We banged on his door and no answer. I told Philip we wouldn’t be angry at him–“PLEASE open the door…” Don went to get the manager to open the door. Philip was lying face down on his living room floor. He had used a gun to kill himself. I will never forget that horrible sight. It is embedded in my mind forever. My precious baby boy was was dead. Philip was 23. It […]

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This week is National Nurses Week 2015. Thank a nurse and share a story about how a nurse has impacted your life with love and compassion. To all the nurses out there – your efforts are not forgotten and you are appreciated. Thank you for what you do every day!   Andy the Angel by Todd Nigro As we drove behind the ambulance, I was so afraid. We tried to be as positive as we could. We had been to the emergency room for other injuries and it always worked out. I convinced myself our six-year-old Ellie would be okay and home soon. I wanted to believe that modern medicine could find a way to make everything better. We arrived and were ushered into a private waiting room. A minister came into the room and offered us a prayer. We just sat there shaking and waiting. We were told that there were specialists on duty and they were doing everything possible for our little girl. I began to have some hope because she was in good hands. We were going to work through this and everything would be fine. That’s the way my life worked. Problems were faced and solved. There was a knock at the door and a doctor walked in. I was hoping for some complicated explanation about how they had worked their medical magic. The doctor sat down in front of us. With compassionate eyes and voice he said, “I’m sorry, Ellie is dead.” I can still […]

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Hope After by Jennifer White On July 19th, 2011 my brother, Andrew, called me. I was getting ready for a meeting, so I didn’t pick up his call. He texted and told me to call him as soon as possible. I leaned against the wall of the bathroom in my apartment, part of me knowing my world was about to shatter. My mom, Joanie, had taken her own life after a long battle with mental illness and alcoholism. Suicide burst into my life, like an intruder, breaking things I thought I’d have forever, stealing my sense of security and knocking me to the ground. In the beginning my mom’s suicide was a shadow cast over the memory of her life and the future of mine. It felt like the only way to define her life and the only thing that had ever happened in mine. As time passed, the shadow began to recede and I realized suicide was the ending, but it wasn’t my mom’s whole story, and it certainly wasn’t going to be my entire story. I decided I would put suicide into it’s proper place in both of our lives. When I think of my mom’s life now I think of her laugh. I imagine her, head tilted back, eyes closed. Her laugh was never loud. It was gentle and contagious. I think of how she always seemed to know if one of her friends was going to be alone on a holiday. How she’d send food if […]

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Abigail Gracen Bacho July 22, 2003 – December 25, 2012 Promise and Beauty in the Darkness by Natalie Bacho (Abby’s Mom) It seems surreal to be sharing our experience of loss. With life, loss is inevitable. During our 20 years of marriage, that four letter word has entered our life in different forms. We’ve lived through pet loss, the passing of grandparents, and job loss. Then there are the more intimate losses. We had two miscarriages, Steve’s father passed very early in our marriage, his mother 12 years later. My mother passed at age 68 in 2010. Our parents are loved and missed. Each loss was difficult as it carries its own circumstance and journey. This is how life works in the big scheme of things. However, life wasn’t supposed to unfold the way it did for us on December 22, 2012. Something this horrible doesn’t happen to our family. It shouldn’t happen to any family. When we were asked to share our experience, it was humbling to say the least. We are also grateful. We always view any opportunity to speak of our daughter as a gift. Our lives now are very different. Any given day is a mystery as to how it will unfold. Will the day bring tears or triumph? Plans may unexpectedly change because we hit a wall of grief. Nothing is certain anymore. Nothing is as it once seemed. Nothing that is, except for God’s grace. Without this, we can’t fathom how we could live […]

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Debbie McFarland has started something that we wanted to share with you. She has so much energy and a huge heart for serving others. Please check out her story and consider joining her amazing group on Facebook, Sparks of Kindness. One spark of kindness can ignite a wildfire! I feel that I have a fire inside of me to motivate others to be kind and help one another. I believe that God has given me this desire to show people how easy it is to be kind. Most of us do kind things often, but I am talking about deliberately searching for ways to be kind and they can be so simple. I did this previously as a temporary event during Lent and Advent. So many lives were touched and I was asked to make it a permanent thing. I kept feeling called to do this. I believe that this idea can change lives. I have seen it happen. Debbie McFarland   One spark of kindness can ignite a wildfire! Sparks of Kindness is a movement, a new way of thinking that spreads smiles with random acts of kindness. I started Sparks of Kindness because I wanted to make a change. I felt like there are so many people who want to make the world a kinder, better place for us and for our children, but they just didn’t know where to start. I thought it could start with a simple Spark. Our world has become so distant and people […]

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Ella Marie Formby August 24, 2007 – February 4, 2013 Ella’s Light by Lourie Formby (Ella’s dad) “Arise, shine; For your light has come! And the glory of the Lord is risen upon you. For behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, And deep darkness the people; But the Lord will arise over you, And His glory will be seen upon you. The Gentiles shall come to your light, And kings to the brightness of your rising” (Isaiah 60:1-3).   The Spark that Lit the Flame Friday, January 25, 2013 was a beautiful winter day. The blue sky was clear with a slight cool breeze and temperatures in the mid-60’s for most of the day in central Mississippi where we call home. My wife, Julie, called me early in the day to remind me of our meeting with friends later that night at The Back Door Restaurant, one of our favorites, located about 25 miles away in Columbia, Mississippi. I arrived home around 4:45PM and rushed in to shower and change clothes prior to leaving for our social event that evening. As we walked out, we talked about our plans for the next day, which included working in our flower beds, attending our 5-year-old Ella’s first Upward Basketball game at the church, and then taking her to the birthday party of her best friend, Gracie. That particular evening, we decided to take our original 1940 Chevrolet Master Deluxe Sedan, aka “Ole Bess”, a car I had purchased 20 years prior. […]

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Can it really be three years since Ellie’s death on January 20th, 2012? By all measure, that was a terrible day. But, Tuesday, January 20th, 2015 is a different day. This day is a gift to be savored, like all others. It is a day that will trigger difficult memories, but we wish to turn the day into a positive by creating new memories serving others. Please help us honor Ellie and her love and joy for life. We are asking anyone who would like to join us to perform a special act of kindness on Tuesday, January 20th. We know she would be thrilled with all of us creating new memories, sharing some love, Ellie’s Way! Ellie encouraged people – she especially enjoyed writing nice sticky notes. Feel free to share any ideas, memories, pictures, or stories that result from this day. Ellie loved pink, laughing, and playing with her friends. If you knew Ellie, what do you remember about her? Ellie Ruth Nigro – 02/15/05 – 01/20/12. You are loved, missed, and remembered! Feel free to share this event with anyone that might like to join us. God Bless You! Todd, Kristen, Tyler, Jake, and Ellie (from Heaven) Click Share Some Love, Ellie’s Way! to join us!

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