We created this blog to help us document the story of Malia starting at 29 weeks in utero. There have been and continue to be struggles for Malia and for us. It is evident to us, as you will see, that the power of prayer is mighty and God does love us and hear our prayers. We welcome and invite you to follow along with us. Though lengthy, start from the bottom to get the entire story so far.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Loss of a wonderful grandmother

What a week...  Since the previous note (Can I get an AMEN!?) we have really been through some difficult things.  About a week ago we received the type of news many people dread receiving.  The type of news that I have received once before, but long ago.  "Mom's dead"...  To hear my wife say these words, after speaking to her father on the phone last week, was excruciating.  We don't really have any information regarding the cause, the initial autopsy showed no cause.  Vicky (I called her Vic) was in good health as far as we knew.  We have really been struggling the past week (in Illinois) as we mourn together with each other and with many family and friends.  It hurts... we feel knocked down.  Alison's mom has been one of the people to fill a void that was left after I lost my mom as a teenager.  Early on, as a friend of the family, she was this incredible woman who treated me like one of her own.  Now after being married to her daughter and fathering her grandchildren there is no doubt she had filled that void for me.  An AMAZING woman and mom!  Kayla and Lydia have had the most incredible grandmother in the short time they had her.  They, and Malia, will be missing out on years of joy they should have experienced with her.  The memorial service took place yesterday and highlighted her life of faith.  God was definitely center stage in Vic's life.  The belief that Jesus died for her's and for all's sin gave her the hope, during her time here, that everlasting life awaited her once done on earth.  That time has come, and now we push on with that same belief and hope.  God please give us the strength.

We're trying really hard not to lose sight of the rejoicing which was taking place in that previous post.  We received word a few days ago that Malia was still having difficulty with feeding.  As a result they had an Ear, Nose, and Throat specialist check her out in case there are problems with her vocal cords.  In the exam they observed paralysis on one side and possibly the other side as well.  The vocal cords play a role in the swallowing process, so this explains her slowness when bottle feeding.  As a follow-up they scheduled an MRI to find out if the paralysis is related to the brain in any way.  We have not yet received the official report from the MRI, but we did receive a preliminary call from the doctor today sharing some information with us.  The two things we heard were that Malia does actually have cysts in her brain.  The doc said that the size was not causing any great concern to them right now.  Also noted was that they observed underdevelopment of the brain.  The brain is expected, at this point, to extend to the edge of the skull and that is not the case for Malia according to the MRI.  The doctors hope, and ours, is that her brain will continue to grow and develop during the next month.  We still wait for more information from the full analysis of the MRI, but yea this new info isn't easy for me to swallow right now.


  1. Harley and Alison,
    Please know that Dave and I have been praying for you and Malia since the first day we heard of her condition, and we continue to pray even more fervently for her healing, and for the two of you, for comfort, peace, and understanding of Vicky's passing. I have worked with Vicky for at least the last 6 years, since being at Todd School with her; later she worked with me on doing child assessments in the city, but more recently she was helping me with organization with my office work at home. Having known her at Advent for all of our 14 years there, I grew to know her even more closely in these past couple of years. Her loss is beyond human understanding. What an incredible mother, grandmother, wife, witness, teacher and friend she was!!! I pray that God carries you through this time holding onto you firmly. Please know that our prayers for you will continue daily / constantly, and will not soon end. Our daughter Madeline was born only a month prematurely, but severely sick, also with hydrops and brain issues; due to Rh disease. She spent just over a month in the NICU before coming home, and although she had some lingering special needs, she is getting ready to graduate high school next week as an honor student and with scholarships to attend Boston University. But what we are most proud of her is of her walk with Christ. Vicky has been a "second mom" to Madeline for all the years she's attended retreats and mission trips, and I recognize Vicky and Gary's influence on her as a major part of God's "big plans" for her life! We are eternally grateful to them for that. We mourn with you, and we also celebrate Vicky's life and legacy - and we share with you a real understanding of the roller coaster ride you are on with Malia - but as was the case with Madeline, these early struggles may be the foundation of a resiliency and a strength of spirit that could be unexplainable any other way. I can see (in hindsight) how God used her unfortunate illness and developmental circumstances, as well as the influences of many faithful people, not the least of whom was Vicky, to shape her into the very very special person she is today. I thank God for that, and will join you in giving Him praise as he heals and strengthens Malia and her life unfolds. May God give you all the emotional and physical strength you need during this critical time.

  2. Ellis & NancyMay 18, 2010 at 6:33 AM

    We're praying for all of you - love, Ellis & Nancy

  3. Harley and Alison,
    Barry and I were so blessed by the Celebration Sunday afternoon. How we loved seeing the slide show of Gary and the always beaming Vicky. The distance that separates us does not lessen the love we have for you, the dear children, of our dear friends.
    This new post and the ongoing needs of little Malia will help us focus our prayers on her behalf. The words to Annie Flint's hymn keeps filling my heart and mind as I think and pray for you all:

    He Giveth more Grace

    He giveth more grace as our burdens grow greater,
    He sendeth more strength as our labors increase;
    To added afflictions He addeth His mercy,
    To multiplied trials He multiplies peace.

    When we have exhausted our store of endurance,
    When our strength has failed ere the day is half done,
    When we reach the end of our hoarded resources
    Our Father’s full giving is only begun.

    His love has no limits, His grace has no measure,
    His power no boundary known unto men;
    For out of His infinite riches in Jesus
    He giveth, and giveth, and giveth again.

    Barry and I are home in Vermont. . .looking forward to that day when we will be reunited with our loved ones who have gone on ahead. Oh, how we loved Vicky.

  4. you don't know me but i know janet and barry tate. praying for your family and little malia! may the arms of heavenly father uphold you and his peace and never ending love comfort and sustain you.

    prayers from houston,
    renee smith

  5. What an emotional rollercoaster you have been on. My prayers are with you all for comfort, strength, healing and peace.

    Tall Carol from the gym.