A Celebration of Isabelle Ellis' Life

We would like to share with you:
  • The details of Isabelle's Candelight Vigil, Visitation (Celebration of Life) and Funeral
  • Things about Isabelle that some may not know
  • The joy of Isabelle!

Isabelle was a beautiful soul. Her spirit will live with us and many of you forever. After her untimely passing we wanted to celebrate her life with our friends and family in a fashion that was truely "Isabelle". As many of you experienced first hand, the services we held for Isabelle were "what she would have wanted" and fit for a 3-year old Princess!

Obituary Notices
Eudora - here
Lawrence - here
Topeka - here
Kansas City - here
Council Grove (not available online)
Obituary Guestbook - here

Vigil, Celebration of Life and Funeral

Vigil
December 13th, 5 PM: We were quite suprised when some of our closest friends and family gathered at our residence on a cold winter night to remember Isabelle. People shared stories, pictures, prayers, hugs and tears. Some of the attendees were: Isabelle's teachers at KU's Educare, many of our cousins, Isabelle's Grandparents, my co-workers and management, Isabelle's Great Aunt Dory Rogers from Indiana and many of our closest friends. It was very cold and windy, but the warmth of love helped keep us warm inside. My favorite part was getting up to share some of Isabelle's most favorite items: her stuffe kitties, her wand and shoes and her living room chair (that she loved to sit in). Afterwards, we went inside for a little while and drank hot cider, shared memories, hugged and enjoyed some tasty snacks.

Celebration of Life
December 16th, 5-7 PM: We had a special "Celebration of Life" service at the Warren-McElwain Chapel in Eudora. We received lots of help from our friends and family in decorating the entire place with pictures of Isabelle, displays of her toys, a video projector showing home movies and a wonderful display of her Princess and ballarina dresses. We had a great showing of people despite the bad weather outside. We saw people we haven't seen in a long time as well as many of Isabelle's teachers from Educare. It was great to spend time with everyone, talk about Isabelle and share stories of how wonderful she was. Everyone LOVED the displays we setup. They were immersed in all things Isabelle. We had a special musician there playing the hammered & moutain dulcimer, too. It was very enchanting. (for pictures see the "Witness" section below)

Funeral
December 17th, 10 AM: The funeral service was well attended. I think if the weather was better and school was out, we would have had double the attendance. Luckily we had enough seats to share with all those who braved the road conditions to see our last celebration and commemoration of our darling Isabelle. Pastor Michael gave a wonderful eulogy and we played some select songs that we thought were perfect for the occasion. A lot of tears and many hugs were shared. At the funeral we had another special musician play the harp. Again, it was magical. Around 11 AM we made it to the grave site in the Eudora Cemetery. It was cloudy and frigid. Just as Isabelle was taken from the herse, the sun came out and shone down up on us. In the background we had a piper playing the bagpipes. The mood was somber but we all felt the spirit of Isabelle in the air. Pastor Michael shared some very special words about Isabelle and her struggle in the Eulogy and we all said our last goodbyes to our Princess.

Witness
We understand that some of you could not attend the Celebration of Life and/or the Funeral Services for our darling Isabelle. Please take a moment to witness them through this photographic slideshow.

The Program
We wanted to create a program that symbolized the character, content and beauty of our darling Isabelle. We enjoyed picking our favorite pictures, some beautiful songs and some sweet words - all of which could capture "Isabelle" in such a limited space. We also wanted something that people could take home and cherish forever and ever. We got a lot of compliments on the program so we want to share it with the world.

Here is the program (below). It consists of four 8x11 pages (printed both sides). To reproduce it just print A1 and A2 on one piece of paper, then B1 and B2, then C1 and C2. If you have Microsoft Publisher you can print the program using Publisher (see far below).

images/Program_Side_A1.jpg Program Front & Back (1 of 2)
images/Program_Side_A2.jpg Program Inside 1 (2 of 2)
images/Program_Side_B1.jpg Program Inside 2 (1 of 2)
images/Program_Side_B2.jpg Program Inside 3 (2 of 2)
images/Program_Side_C1.jpg Program Inside 4 (1 of 2)
images/Program_Side_C2.jpg Program Inside 5 (2 of 2)
(this is the center page)

Microsoft Publisher Files:
(using your mouse, right-click, then "save target as" to save to your computer for printing)
Program Front & Back
Inside 1
Inside 2
Inside 3
Inside 4
Inside 5

Music
There were three songs played during the service. The first two are by Enya and the last was created by a charity called Songs of Love. The first song "Isobella" is a beautiful, peaceful song that captures the soft and precious side of Isabelle. You can hear it on YouTube here. The second song "May It Be" is a special song that we heard while Isabelle was a baby. It's lyrics speak to Isabelle's journey and the promise of Eternal Love we have given Isabelle. You can hear it on YouTube here. The third song is copyrighted by Songs of Love, but you can listen to it using their website. Click here and enter "Ellis" in the "Child's Last Name" field and the number "17686" in the "Child's Record Number" field. (minimum 99 cent donation required)

Musicians:
Nothing could have captured the beauty and serenity of the various stages of the service for our Isabelle better than the musicians we hired to play for us. During the Celebration of Life services, we hired Allen Macfarlane to play the hammered and moutain dulcimer. He created an enchanting atmosphere that everyone really enjoyed. For the funeral services we hired Tabitha Steiner who played heavenly music while our friends and family gathered. At the graveside we hired Dana Morris with the Pipers of the Plains to play the traditional Scottish Bagpipes, helping accent the mood and share our Scottish traditions.

This program was inspired by a father's love of his daughter and the following memoriable website for Kessia McConnell. Please take a moment to read about her couragous battle against cancer.

Isabelle | Photos © rpetersphotography.com

The Memorial

On December 12th, we decided to turn Isabelle's Transplant Fund into Isabelle's Memorial Fund (more info here. All money collected as a part of the Transplant Fund effort was moved into a program that will be geared towards memorializing Isabelle in the best way possible. We are still working on the exact details of the "Isabelle Ellis Memorial", but there are a lot of ideas being thrown at us right now. Our first step will be to formally establish the charity, then we will communicate it's mission. Long term, we'll probably coordinate an annual drive to collect contributions towards the charity.

St Louis Children's Hospital Interfaith Memorial
On March 10th, a special interfaith memorial was held for children who recently earned their angel wings. Isabelle's eulogy was read by Chaplain Connie Madden, a candle was lit in Isabelle's name by one of her nurses (Tom) and her name was spoken several times in a tribute. It was wonderful to be included in this special occassion and we know Isabelle was present and enjoyed the love being shared. You can read the eulogy here.