August 27, 2013

Finley Elizabeth <3

Lord make me a rainbow, I'll shine down on my mother
She'll know I'm safe with you when she stands under my colors, oh,
And life ain't always what you think it ought to be, no
Ain't even grey, but she buries her baby
The sharp knife of a short life, oh well
I've had just enough time

-“If I Die Young” by The Band Perry

I don’t really know how to write a tribute post.  I have never had to write one.  And to be honest, I never would have thought my first one would be for one of my dearest friend’s baby girl.

It still seems like a blur to me.  The whole thing.  From start to finish.
Finley would have been 1 month old this past Sunday and thinking back on our experience, Tim and Noelle should be reaching the exhaustion beyond measure point due to late night feedings and diaper changes.  Not reaching an exhaustion point from the emotional roller coaster that they have been on for the past month. 

I just doesn’t seem fair.  It’s not fair. 

But I know none of us can change any of that.  What we can do is be there for Noelle and Tim when they are ready to move forward and live every day with them to the fullest.  We can cry and laugh with them.  We can remember with them. 

And we will.

I know that I will never forget the day Noelle texted me and said that she was being admitted to the hospital and that Baby Finley would be here soon.

I will never forget waking up and looking at my phone a little after midnight on July 26 expecting a text from Noelle with the good news that she had arrived, and instead reading a text from my friend Kamrin that said, “Call me.”

I will never forget the gut feeling I had that something wasn’t right.

I will never forget laying in bed talking to Mike until 3 am and 
crying with the thought of what the next day would bring.

I will never forget rushing to the hospital to see Nomo and Tim that next morning.

I will never, ever, ever forget meeting Finley for the first time.  She was so perfect with her pink skin, cute nose (we still don’t know where that came from Smile) and sausage toes.


I will never forget kissing her forehead for the first time and thinking that she looked so much like Everett and thinking that I couldn’t imagine how scared Tim and Nomo must have been.

I will never forget watching them and thinking they were the strongest people I had ever had the pleasure of knowing.

I will never forget seeing their first family picture and smiling.

I will never forget spending time with Nomo and Tim’s family and friends and feeling like we had known each other forever even though some of us had just met.

I will never forget how everyone bonded together from day 1 and the “Team Finley” fan club was represented all over the country.

Finley Elizabeth4

I will never forget when Tim texted me this picture of Finley and Noelle getting to “kangaroo” for the first time.  I was so happy and knew that every mother (and father) should have that feeling.

I will never forget later that same day when Noelle and Tim received the EEG results that would change their lives forever. The doctors were saying there was still no brain activity.  Still little hope.

I will never forget going to their house that same night and sitting on her bed with friends and family and crying, eating candy and asking, “What happens now?”.

I will never forget all of us heading back to the hospital that night to be with Finley.  The NICU nurses let us all come back at one time instead of the customary 2 at a time and we prayed over her.


I will never forget thinking that hallway to the NICU was the longest.walk.ever.


I will never forget talking to Nomo the next day and hearing her say, “We’re going to hold on for a little while longer.  We’re not ready and she’s still fighting.  So we will, too.”

I will never forget seeing these beautiful pictures taken by Noelle and Tim’s friends Cory and Mandi Callahan of CALLAHANPHOTO and hearing what a great time they had during the photo shoot.

I will never forget the day Noelle called me to say that the end might not be too far away and that she would like me to be there when Finley passed if I could, along with family and a few other close friends.

I will never forget walking into the hospital, Friday, August 16, 2013 knowing that my life, along with Tim and Noelle’s would be forever changed as we all walked out.


I will never forget when the hospital worker came to get us all from the waiting room to go back to Finley’s room to say our final goodbyes. 

I will never forget the sheer pain we all felt watching Tim and Noelle watch their daughter pass away in their arms and the pure love expressed by Finley’s doctor and nurses as they cried right along with us.

I will never forget when Noelle knew the moment Finley had passed and Dr. Wiswell checked her heartbeat, looked up and shook his head yes.

I will never forget wanting to scream and punch something and wake up from the nightmare that was that moment.

But most of all, I will never forget how peaceful Finley looked as I walked out of her room for the last time and thinking how blessed I was to have met a real angel.

And although Mike and I will never forget the events of Finley’s life, we wanted to find a way to make sure Everett knows how special she is one day, too.  

I wrote him this letter in hopes that one day he will know and appreciate first hand just how precious life is.

Dear Everett,
I want to tell you a story about an angel named Finley. She was a beautiful baby girl who was born just a few months after you were. She was bigger than you when she was born (just about every baby we know was) and her mommy and daddy were in love with her from the start.

She had a light dusting of brown hair and the cutest little sausage toes anyone had ever seen. Her eyes were a clear crystal blue, just like her mommy's, but instead of being wide open and full of wonder, Finley's eyes were closed.
She was very sick when she was born and we were all so worried about her. She didn't sleep in a regular crib like you did, she had to sleep in a special bed with lots of wires, beeping noises and blinking lights.  Her mommy and daddy just wanted to grab her up, kiss her face and rock her to sleep but they couldn't, and it broke their hearts.

I got to meet her when she was one day old and I just melted when I saw her. She looked so peaceful and perfect. She reminded me so much of you and how you looked when you were teeny tiny.You and dad were there that day, too. You wore a onesie made just for Finley and cheered her on as you explored the hospital downstairs with dad while I was falling in love with that precious baby girl upstairs. I knew she was special from the start, but I just didn't realize how special she would become.

Baby Finley stayed in the hospital for a few weeks longer after that visit and although she  was fighting her hardest, she didn't get any better. Her mommy and daddy did everything in their power to help her, but nothing seemed to work. She had an amazing doctor and precious nurses who loved her just as much as we did, but they couldn't help her either.

One day, after weeks of sadness, Finley took one last breath and said goodbye to all of us. She went to sleep in her daddy's arms, holding her mommy's hand and was finally at peace. There would be no more poking or prodding, only dancing among the clouds like the beautiful ballerina that she was.

I want you to know that Finley not only changed the whole world, she changed our world. She taught people how to love again. She taught me how to savor every minuscule moment and not to sweat the small stuff, because in the end it really is all small stuff, and she showed your daddy how lucky he is to have a baby boy as amazing as you.

In honor of Finley, we promise to never take any moment with you for granted and will love you with every part of our being each and every day.  Just like Finley's mommy and daddy loved her.
You are our heart.


Although Finley’s time here on earth was short, her contribution to this world is unmatched.  She will always be remembered for her unending fight for life and her legacy will live on forever. <3



  1. This is so beautiful and so well written! You captured the emotions many of us feel. Tim and Noelle are like real life heros and the ultimate example of what waiting on God looks like and feels like! xoxo tanya

  2. As a nurse in the NICU, I can honestly say that Tim and Noelle are two of the most beautiful people I have ever met in 25 yrs of experience. You have touched m life and enhanced my skills as a nurse. May God bless you and your family.

  3. Absolutely beautiful tribute to an amazing family and little girl!!! You are a true friend!!! God bless!!!

  4. I'm not sure how I got on this from Facebook but I sure am glad I got here. Such an amazing tribute. Beautiful example of friendship. I am so glad to know about Finley. And your sweet family. Hope to see you around Orlando!

  5. So beautifully said. An amazing tribute to a perfect angel. As one of Finleys nurses it was so touching to watch you and so many of their closest friends support them each and everyday. Your are a wonderful friend.

  6. That was sooooo difficult to get through. I have shed many tears and spent countless hours thinking of ms. Finley. Beautiful article. I will never waste another minute with my children. Life is definitely too short to sweat the small stuff.

  7. Having had the privledge of caring for this little angel, I to have learned more about my job. Noelle and Tim are amazing and Finley was blessed to have them as parents. It was one of the toughest times of my 17 years in the NICU. Hugs and prayers sent your way.

  8. I am Becky Bradley Nolan, I was given a text by my sister in law Cherri Nolan on the day of Finley's birth,, explaining her complications and asking for prayers. You do not know me, but know this, I prayed continually for Finley every day throughout the day, I cried everytime I saw her precious little face, and the thought of what you were going through. I can not imagine, I have 3 grown children and now one granddaughter 2 months old. The first thing I did every morning was to check on facebook for any news, the last thing I did before going to bed was to check for any news, annoyed my sister and brother in law with texts to find out if I didn't see anything. I had faith that Finley was going to be this miracle that would shock the Drs , I never doubt God, but I do have questions because I know there is nothing he can not do. I still say why, why did you need her, why did you just not make her whole for her parents to love. I know one day all questions will be answered, and that she is the sweetest , cutest little angel, but even knowing this does not ease the pain. I am still praying for your family that God WILL give you the peace and understanding that only he can bring....

  9. So blessed to have taken care of sweet Finley and family one weekend. Forever you'll be in my heart. You have touched us all in many ways.

  10. May God bless Noelle and Tim, as He is now blessing Finley with His heavenly love. I worked with those incredible nurses and doctors for many years, and I know first hand how much a NICU nurse loves "her" babies and families. Thank you for your beautiful letter describing the journey through this angel's earthly life. Noelle and Tim are so fortunate to have such a loving, caring friend.