A Gift to Nancy

Dianna Schalles

On January 17, 1993, three years ago today, I lost my best friend and beloved sister, Nancy, to a tragic motor vehicle accident. In addition to being a sister, daughter and wife, Nancy was also a mother of three; Megan, age 5, Justin, age 3, and Ryan, age 1 1/2. Needless to say, it was and still is a devastating loss to her parents, husband, five siblings, and, most of all, her children. In reference to her children, Nancy left behind a priceless gift that I would like to share. By doing so, I hope to encourage others to leave behind a similar treasure. And because Nancy always expressed herself so well in writing, yet never realized her dream of becoming a writer, I hope by sharing the following, a small part of her wish will finally be realized:

This handwritten document by Nancy was apparently written shortly after the birth of her first child, Megan....

"My Baby and Me"

On August 25, 1986, I was blessed with a precious baby girl -- so small and fragile -- I was scared to death to take her home, not knowing exactly what to do with this small being who had just came into my life. She was so tiny, just under six pounds at birth. Yet, the more times I held her and fed her at my breasts, the more relaxed and happy with her I became. I didn't know that I was capable of so much love -- she stole my heart the minute I saw her. I couldn't sleep just knowing that she was right down the hall from me and that she was mine. I had helped create a living, breathing human being and it was a miracle to me. She was the best thing I'd done with my entire life. Instead of her clinging to me, I clung to her. I was so proud of her. She was a happy baby -- always smiling -- and she soon became a BIG baby -- rolls of baby fat and sweet, chunky cheeks that just begged for kisses.

I was never so happy at any other time in my life than I was that first year of my daughter's life. I stayed home with her and watched her grow from a helpless, tiny infant into a wide-eyed, energetic bundle of pure joy. She smiled at me and said my name, ('ma-ma', of course), and my world was bright with love only a mother can know. Every day that I awoke to the sound of her crying I didn't really mind -- all I had to do was look into those eyes and see how much she needed me and nothing else mattered. All I wanted to do was to comfort her -- hold her still warm and sleepy body close to mine and show her how much I loved her. I'll never forget the special closeness we shared in those wee hours of the morning. She would feed at my breast and I would caress her face and hair and just stare at her in open fascination. She was so beautiful -- it was hard to believe that she was real at times. We would have little talks where I would tell her how special she was to me and how happy she had made me. She would look right into my eyes and become so still that I knew instinctively she was listening to me and I somehow knew that she knew she was loved. I'll never forget the first time she smiled at me -- the way her eyes lit up and the way the corners of her mouth curled up into this big unmistakeable 'smile'. No doctor in the world would convince me that it was 'just gas'. I started crying and laughing at the same time. My heart was swelling with love for my sweet little girl. I held her closer than I ever had before and whispered 'Thank you' into her ear for she had just made me the happiest woman on earth. From that time on we kept growing closer and we shared oh so many sweet moments. There were quiet times alone, playful times, silly times, warm baths and messy feedings, long nights of rocking and singing 'Rock-a-Bye Baby' over and over again. There were too many moments shared that I couldn't even begin to put them all down on paper. I don't regret a single one, and if I could, I would go back and do it all again. I love you, Megan, more than you'll ever know.

Always, Your Mommy

In loving memory of Nancy Ranae Phillips, October 11, 1962 - January 17, 1993. Submitted by her older sister, Dianna Schalles, 34.

You can send email to Dianna at [email protected]
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Crisis, Grief, and Healing: Tom Golden LCSW