Interfaith Memorial Service - Eulogy for Isabelle Ellis

March 10, 2009
Presented by Chaplain Connie Madden

St Louis Children’s Hospital

Note: We gather not so much because these children have died, but because they lived, and loved, and touched our lives. As a way of affirming their lives, let us share together our stories and memories of them.

Isabelle was born on February 4th, 2005. Her name means “Consecrated to God” – and she was. She would have celebrated her 4th birthday last month. While it’s been 3 months since her passing, her spirit is still very strong with us. In her three years she taught us about love, compassion, strength, will power and grace. Isabelle was always teacher’s pet at her daycare and she was part of the welcoming committee at school. She never knew any strangers and she always had a smile on her face. She possessed a grace a mature demeanor – showing wisdom beyond her years. She loved all animals and wanted a kitten for her 4th birthday. She loved playing dress-up and frequently dressed up as if she was going to a “Cinderella Ball”. Isabelle loved her little sister Elorah and called her “My New Baby” (after a book by Fischer-Price called the same). Isabelle loved flowers, butterflies and playing outside. Her greatest dream was to become a dancer. She caught the dancing bug from watching Dancing with the Stars with Mommy and while watching the 2008 Olympics on TV. Isabelle was a true Princess. However, her heart was not perfect, which is why she went in for the Fontan operation on August 25th. Due to complications she continued her stay in Intensive Care. We hoped her condition would improve, but it did not. A week before coming to St Louis her Mommy witnessed seeing a beautiful rainbow in October (which is rare) and the next day she saw another beautiful rainbow. God was talking to us. On October 28th Isabelle was transferred to SLCH and evaluated for transplant. Upon arrival we looked out the window and we beheld a beautiful image of the St Louis archway. It was a sign of hope for us. Isabelle was listed for transplant on October 30th. Over the weeks the nurses and staff got acquainted with Isabelle and learned how strong she was. Isabelle also showed them her elegant, Princess side as well. Around Thanksgiving, Isabelle was getting enough strength to sit up and interact. She wanted to be dressed up as a Princess and she would wave at anyone walking by. She would wave her Princess wand as if to bless everyone in her presence. Isabelle’s room was decorated extensively with tigers (her favorite animal and a symbol of her strength) and Princesses (her favorite characters). Her room was adorned with pictures of Isabelle and her sister playing, dressing up and enjoying Mommy and Daddy. Isabelle’s spirit seemed to know it’s time here was short. She had lived life to its fullest. She was very even tempered, intelligent and a complete charmer. Isabelle was dubbed “The Warrior Princess” by her fans and her story reached thousands of people. In her final weeks she had an “awakening” and she gave us all she had left. She progressed to the point at which her Dr’s were paying her many compliments and there was talk about getting her to walk around. The nurses and staff brought her little gifts, which she loved. The various Chaplains prayed with us for progress. We were so hopeful that a donor might come soon. Alas, Isabelle was called home to God on December 11th, 2008. Her heart could not keep up any longer.

A family member wrote these immortal words: Isabelle has given to the world what the world could not give to her: a heart, a very special heart, one filled with unconditional love, the love of God.

Isabelle’s story and the details of her Memorial (called “HOPE” for Heart of a Princess Eternally) are detailed on her website:

We are eternally grateful for the love and care we received while at SLCH CICU. The nurses, doctors, and staff gave us hope and we’re blessed to have known them.