Monday, October 26, 2009

Celebrating Katie.

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Overlooking the gorge in Tallulah Falls, Georgia

I hope it isn't in bad taste to share these pictures.

I flew to Atlanta Saturday evening. My sister, Marian, drove up from South Georgia and picked me up at the airport. We had a nice dinner in Atlanta that night and then drove up to North Georgia Sunday morning.

Katie's family lives in a tiny town in the mountains in North Georgia. Their community has been wonderfully supportive during Katie's illness, and they turned out in droves to pay tribute to Katie at her service and at a potluck gathering afterward that was planned as a celebration of Katie's life.

Marian and I arrived early enough to visit with my cousin Wendy (Katie's mom) and my aunt and uncle and other family members for a while before riding with them to the graveside service. We weren't able to stay very long at the picnic because I had to catch a flight back home, but there were going to be yodelers and musicians who'd been favorites of Katie's performing in addition to lots of food and fellowship.

Because her brain tumor was a type that does not metastasize, Katie was able to be an organ donor. We also learned that Katie's mom is expecting a baby in the spring. So amidst great sadness, there were rays of hope as well.

It was a privilege to witness the outpouring of love that this precious little girl inspired. I thank God for sweet Katie.

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My Uncle Terry and my sister Marian at the Tallulah Falls Cemetary

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Everyone chose a flower from these galvanized vases to hold during the service

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This man sang a beautiful rendition of
Beulah Land

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After the service there was a celebration of Katie's life at the Tallulah Falls Bluegrass Festival area

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Over a hundred people from around the country and the world sent beads for a beading party that was planned for Katie's birthday last month. There were tables at the celebration for Katie's friends to make necklaces and bracelets in her memory

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People brought lots and lots of delicious food

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The weather was absolutely gorgeous

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My cousin Wendy (Katie's mom) and my sister Marian (Wendy was wearing a necklace that Katie made for her)

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Marian and me (Wendy requested that guests wear Katie's favorite bright colors)

14 comments:

JMW said...

What a beautiful celebration of Katie's life! How wonderful of that community to show such support and offer your cousin and family comfort in such a way. Lovely, absolutely lovely.

mimi said...

I think Katie's family is incredibly brave to celebrate her life as they face it's loss. I know they will never lose their sorrow but I hope that they will gain new hope with the coming of their baby.

Maggie said...

Thanks for sharing these pictures. What a lovely way to remember Katie. While nothing takes away the loss the presence of family and friends gathering together for food and music is healing.

Christie said...

Seems to be such a wonderful tribute to honor the life of a sweet little angel...

Thinking of you...

Mona said...

Such a lovely celebration of Katie's life. Thank you for sharing this personal gathering of family and friends.

Amber M. said...

I'm so sorry to hear about Katie's passing. My heart is so sad for a precious life cut short, but I can tell from your posts that she was loved beyond mesure while she was here and will be loved forevermore.

Much love and many prayers of comfort to your family.

pink green & southern said...

What a lovely celebration of a life.

The 5 Bickies said...

I'm so glad you and your sister were able to be there together. I read about the celebration of life on Katie's Caringbridge site and saw such bravery in Katie's family to plan such a day. What a fantastic tribute!

Erin said...

What a beautiful service. Your love for your family shines through Eloise. I pray that Katie's family will find solace in the long and lonely days to come. The picture of a man holding her photograph made me cry...

3 Peanuts said...

I sit her with tears in my eyes and chills. This looks like a beautiful celebration of a little girls life. I love the hope that was present and the rays of sunshine I can see in some of the photos. Katie was smiling down on her celebration:) Still praying for you all.

Kappa Prep said...

What a wonderful tribute to such a sweet girl! I am so glad you were able to go and be with your family this week. You can certainly tell that Katie was part of a wonderful family and community and she will be missed by many. It is so wonderful that her organs will save the life of another child, her spirit will forever live on both on earth and in heaven!

cfvh said...

so sweet

Sherrie said...

It looks like a beautiful celebration of Katie.

CZ said...

Eloise - just found your wonderful blog and I'm so sorry to hear about your darling cousin. My prayers are with you and your family and I'm sure God is holding her in the palm of his hand. Peace.

CZ