Sunday, October 25, 2009


Our sweet friend, Hannah, went home to be with the Lord last night. Tonight, she is whole and dancing with the angels. Hannah talked to her angels and saw them frequently, and I know without a doubt that she truly was one here on earth herself.

Almost two years ago exactly, I took Keegan to his very first outpatient heart transplant clinic appointment. As I checked in, a little brown-haired girl with sparkles in her eyes peeked at Keegan under his blanket, tugged on my shirt, and said "that's my bruh-der in there." It was the first time I had laughed in a few days. I was scared to death that morning, hanging on by a thread, wondering what was in store for Keegan. And all that changed in a moment when I met Hannah and her mom, Amanda. Hannah thought Keegan was her new little brother, Cooper, but the two of them were brother and sister in a different way. Siblings in Christ, brought together by the life-saving gift of a heart, and truly both angels here with us. Hannah and Amanda gave me hope that morning that we could do this, that there was life, beautiful life, after transplant.

For a month or so, Hannah and Keegan were on the same clinic schedule, and we saw them almost twice a week. I smiled every time she'd run down the hall yelling, "Dr. Fixler! Dr. Fixler! I'm here!" Yes, you were, sweetie. And you'll always be here with us. I laughed so hard I cried when Amanda would ask, "what color is this (pointing to something white)?", and Hannah would answer "the color of Dr. Fixler's hair!" And as Keegan's first annual heart work-up approached, and rejection was my worst fear...there she was again. Tickling Keegan, and saying to him while pointing to her cath site, "you'll have a boo-boo, but don't worry, it doesn't hurt too bad." Instantly took the fears away.

In the last few months, I saw Hannah at her worst. But even on her bad days, she shined. I am beyond blessed to know her, Amanda, dad Jason, and little Cooper. How could a family in so much pain support me even more than I supported them? Faith. That's the only explanation, and they have it in spades. Last Tuesday, I went to see Hannah after her first round of plasmapheresis. I changed her sheets and cleaned up her doll so she could rest after the stressful treatment. She was so tired, but she blew the most perfect bubbles as nurses Lorin and Lauren drew her blood. I told her I had to go and asked for my usual hi-five for Keegan. When I realized I had no pockets to put it in, she said I should put in my purse! Of course! So, I gathered hi-fives from everyone else in the room, and we put them in my purse for Keegan. I entered her room feeling completely overwhelmed, and I left completely at peace. That was the effect she had on you. The peace of the Lord and her angels. I will treasure that feeling forever.

Thank you, Hannah, for just being you, for inspiring me, for fighting the good fight. Thank you, Lord, for sharing her with us for even a brief time. Please, please keep the Collie family in your prayers. They need to be surrounded in love and prayer right now. We are heartbroken for you, Amanda, Jason, and Cooper. We love y'all so much. We miss you, sweet Hannah. Also, please lift up the nurses, doctors, and staff at Children's who loved Hannah so much and worked tirelessly to heal her body. They are grieving just as much tonight. Lift them up and renew their spirits, knowing Hannah is with them as they treat other heart kids.

“For many years I’ve known and believed God’s word, but I’ve never had to stand upon it when everything else around me seems to be sinking – to trust what His Word says when the circumstances don’t make sense – and to trust in His future promises when all I can feel is sorrow.” Unknown

For I am convinced, that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present or the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. - Romans 8: 38-39

Hannah Olivia Collie 8/30/04 - 10/25/09 - forever with the Lord, forever in our hearts