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Texas family's email exchanges highlight hope in Christ after infant daughter's death

By Nate Sharp

For Aggieland Mormons

Published: Monday, June 9 2014 10:00 a.m. MDT

Updated: Thursday, Dec. 11 2014 1:37 p.m. MST

Thanks to all of you for ministering to us, too. Each note, text or email we have received from you this past week becomes part of our book of remembrance to help us never forget what this wonderful week has been like. Finally, Holly has been a much needed angel to Kate and me all week. Some of the people here have assumed it is Holly's medical background that has made her so strong and able to deal with the challenges of this week with such grace. But I know it is much deeper than that, and for that I am very, very grateful.

Kate4

Monday, June 28, 11:56 a.m.

Blog post by Holly

Kate turned 3 weeks old on Saturday! She is such a joy and we love her so much. She is taking almost 2 ounces every three hours (a little by bottle and the rest by her feeding tube), and she lets us know almost to the minute when it's time for another feeding.

Her cry is very soft, but also heart breaking. Fortunately she doesn't cry very often (only when she's hungry, needs a diaper change, or is gassy — the nurse is bringing some drops for that today, and I hope they help). She sleeps pretty well, but we get up with her every three hours to feed her whether she's awake or not.

Kate has gained 12 ounces and grown 1 inch since we've been home. Wow! She is now 4 pounds 13 ounces and 17.5 inches. To celebrate 3 weeks, Kate had her first outing to one of our favorite yogurt places, Spoons. My parents were in town visiting and enjoyed the trip with us as well. Jackson and Kennedy have a new bedtime routine of holding Kate as we read a book and say prayers. It has turned into a favorite time of day.

Tuesday, July 6, 12:21 p.m.

Email to family and friends

This morning, Kate passed away peacefully around 8:35 a.m. while in our arms, one month and a day after she was born.

We brought Kate home from the hospital three weeks ago, and we could not have asked for a more wonderful three weeks with her. She was sweet and peaceful and endearing the whole time she was with us.

After a very difficult night on Sunday, the doctor visited us on Monday morning and told us that Kate was transitioning and that her blood circulation was beginning to show signs of slowing. He prescribed some pain medication, and Kate spent the last day of her life looking and feeling very peaceful, while awake and alert much of the time.

Our bishop and I gave Kate a blessing last night, and, as we hoped, she was very peaceful throughout the night until her sweet release this morning. Our kids had a chance to come into our bedroom and say goodbye to Kate this morning; and we had a tender family prayer together. We are so grateful for the brief time that Kate was with us, for the impact she has had on all of us, and for the memories of her that will bless our family forever.

Kate4

Epilogue

Kate’s funeral was beautiful; the outpouring of love and support from family and friends was incredible.

Wanting to keep Kate’s memory alive, we planted a garden in our backyard with several flowering trees to remind us of Kate. We also donated a bookshelf to our children’s elementary school library, and asked family and friends to donate children’s books for it in Kate’s memory. Books came from all across the country, and the bookshelf remains a popular location in the school library today.

Holly delivered a baby boy in January 2012, whom we named Austin in memory of his older sister, Kate Austyn. Since Kate’s passing, we have visited her grave weekly as a family, to spend a few moments remembering her and honoring her memory.

Kate6

Editor's note: This post by Nate Sharp originally appeared on Aggieland Mormons. It has been reprinted here with permission. Click here to see the article on AggielandMormons.org.

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