Monday, April 07, 2014


(Haley and Harper one month before she died.)
On April 7, 2007, Harper Hawley passed from this life and was called to be with Jesus. This was my tribute the next day.

Harper went home yesterday. Harper Catherine Hawley, born June 19, 2006 left to be with the Lord on Saturday morning. She wasn't here long, just a little less than ten months. The daughter of my nephew, Zach, and his wife, Haley, Harper struggled with a Mitochondrial disease and spent much of her life in the hospital. I can't say I knew her well, just seeing her one time in the University of Oklahoma Hospital at Christmas. She was in a medically induced coma and covered with monitoring devices but she seemed at peace that day. The nurse shooed us out in less than a minute but it was enough for me to say I saw my great niece in person. She must have been a tough little one and a fighter. Her pictures reveal a beautiful child dressed up like so many other baby girls in an assortment of outfits. I wish I could have known her better. Great Uncle is down the relative scale a few notches but one of my favorites was my Great Uncle Clell so there was hope for me. Harper's life was short but her impact is widespread. Many kept up with her condition through her website and prayed for her and her folks around the clock. The faith Zach and Haley displayed in their updates has moved others to strengthen their own trust in our God. The outpouring of support from friends to strangers in these last days has been astounding. Harper was never old enough to talk but she left behind a legacy of love that most in decades will never approach. Zach and Haley shared a masterpiece in a tiny bundle.

Last week, my first cousin, Dale Hawley, was in Houston for a psychology conference. I went downtown and we spent an evening together at Outback and Starbucks. We were roommates at York College and our dads are brothers. We talked about the fact that neither of us were at Grandma or Grandpa Hawley's funerals. There were reasons. By that time, he was in college in Texas and I was finishing up my degree in Arkansas. Our parents were in agreement that under the circumstances, we were better off not missing school to make the very long journey to Michigan. As we reminisced, Dale and I both wished we had been there. My brother Dave shared yesterday that he had the same experience with the same regrets. I also missed Aunt Evelyn and Uncle Olin's services. There were good reasons but there are no do-overs in the momentous events of a family history. When we are younger, the tomorrows are never ending and there will be another wedding or reunion ...or funeral. When we get older, we sense the dwindling of the opportunities of being together. This week, we will come together to honor the memory of one who left too quickly from our perspective but not from the one who gave her life. In the Parable of Lazarus and the Rich Man, Jesus speaks of angels carrying Lazarus to his reward. And I know what the greeting must have been when she was taken by those same angels to her permanent dwelling; "Harper, welcome home!"

Applicable quote of the day:
"Before you were conceived, I wanted you.

Before you were born, I loved you.
Before you were here an hour, I would die for you.
This is the miracle of life."
Maureen Hawkins

God bless and love,
Great Uncle Steve
Luke 18:1
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1 comment:

Susan said...

Thank you for sharing the personal side of Harper and how she affected so many friends and strangers. I was one of those people who learned much from the faith and dedication Zach and Haley had during that time. The death of a child can be devastating to a marriage, but Zach and Haley just grew stronger both individually and as married partners. It makes me smile when I think about Harper being greeted in Heaven and how healthy and happy she must be with Christ and her great grandparents!