It is an honor that you are here, Thank you!

Friday, May 14, 2010

MY Sunshine Surfer Girl remembered!

A letter written by Emily's family that was read at her memorial service.

Rest in peace my Sunshine Surfer Girl, I miss you everyday.

"Only the Good Die Young"

A Final Goodbye...

Posted May 11, 2010 12:45am
Hi Everyone,

Many people have recently asked us for the letter we shared at Emily's memorial last Saturday. Below is our last and final care-page update as well as links to the slide show of Emily's life for those who were unable to make it out to Saturday's service. Again, thank you all for the support and love you've shown us over these last few months.


Dear Friends and Family,

Many of you have followed Emily’s story on the Care Pages blog that we wrote to keep Emily’s friends updated on her progress in the hospital. For the past three months, we have written daily to share the ups and downs of Emily’s illness and the feelings that we experienced. In a sense, this is our last post on the blog. Thank you for your constant encouragement and support during this journey with Emily. Though we will miss her terribly, we are comforted to know that she is with the Lord, breathing full breaths, and experiencing the joy of eternal life.

Thank you for joining us today as we celebrate Emily’s life‐ a life well lived. We know that, like us, you are experiencing joy for having known Emily, yet, at the same time, deep sadness that she was taken so early. We want to share with you a few words about who Emily was to our family. She was much more than a sister and daughter—she was our friend, our shining light of joy, and a beacon of hope that continually challenged us to push forward every day. Her smile lit up our lives because it reflected the joy she carried in her heart. As she fought so valiantly in the hospital, we were energized to fight alongside her. If she could give 110%, so could we. We would also like to extend our heartfelt thanks to the doctors, nurses, therapists and staff at USC University Hospital who cared for Emily with incredible expertise and endless compassion. Their care did not end at the bedside. They were very supportive of our family during the past three months and they came alongside us and held us up.

Emily’s life was a life lived to the fullest. We saw this as she gave tirelessly to others. She gave abundant love to the people who surrounded her. It is clear from the many friends Emily had, that building relationships, loving people and spreading hope were Emily’s purposes in this world. Despite her busy social life, she was dedicated to our family. She reserved time for family gatherings, fun dinners, and spending time with each of us. Our annual family vacation to North Carolina was a highlight of each year for Emily. Of course, she loved to surf and swim there, but she also treasured time spent with parents, sister, brother‐in‐law, cousins, aunts and uncles. She was at the center of all our fun. How we will miss her vibrant soul!

Emily didn’t waste a single moment. Instead, she put her whole heart into every relationship. We often worried about her, concerned that she was giving too much to others and not reserving enough for herself. She was constantly meeting people for lunch, having coffee, writing notes, and going to events. Maybe we were slightly selfish in wanting to keep her for ourselves. Certainly, we worried that she put so much of herself into others that she might get hurt… or get tired. Yet, whatever she did, she did fully and completely. We learned long ago that we had to share Emily because she had so much love to give. We recognize now that the love, hope and joy she shared with the world is her story, and it is a story that will be shared for a long time.

As someone eloquently wrote on the Care Page, “Grief is the natural by‐product of love. One cannot selflessly love another person and not grieve at their suffering.” We have learned this lesson about grief and selfless love from Emily. For that reason, we are dedicated to continuing to share her story of hope, love and joy. We are blessed by the incredible community that Emily has left behind—a community much larger and deeper than we ever imagined. Thank you all for sharing Emily’s journey with us. There are many life lessons we have learned from Emily. One we will share with you is, that despite the fact that she had Cystic Fibrosis, a progressive and debilitating disease, she wanted to live fully. Her endurance was unfathomable. Emily often quoted Mike Bearden, her former youth pastor, “Joy is not in the absence of suffering, but in the presence of God.” Emily lived this every day. Even with her family and closest friends, she rarely complained about her rigorous health maintenance routine and physical limitations. Many words have been used over the last 27 years to describe this quality, but what Emily would want people to recognize is that this strength was found through her hope in Christ. Her deep faith was rooted in hope. Vaclav Havel describes hope as the simple “ability to work for something because it is good.” That was Emily—she lived for the good of those who surrounded her.

With Love to Everyone,
The Haager Family