Posts Tagged ‘Jeremy & Cheryl Yoder’

Celebrating Ariel’s Life

Ariel Joy Yoder

December 27, 2012 – April 25, 2014

Ariel

The death of a loved one stops us in our tracks and makes us think about our own mortality.  But there is something extra sobering about the death of a child. They are not suppose to die before they have had a chance to live life to its fullest.

Yesterday we celebrated the short life of Ariel Joy who died from SMA-Type 1  (Werdnig-Hoffman Disease).  In 16 months she  had shyly charmed her way into many hearts. She couldn’t speak except to utter a few noises but she could smile.  Her huge brown eyes would connect with the person talking to her for a few seconds as she flashed a big, wide smile.  Then very quickly she would drop her gaze as she glanced to the side. It was sweet, demure, bashful and charming.  If you wanted one of those precious smiles you had to drop to her level and look her in the eye.

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Ariel and Grandma Yoder

 

She left behind no wealth, no words of wisdom, and no achievements.  She never said a bad word, fed herself, or learned to walk. She was never able to approach people, they had to come to her.  She left her legacy: joy in the form of  her smiles, lot of smiles, and the quiet presence of a life she struggled to live.

Ariel was loved.  Her two brothers adorned their little sister and her parents faithfully and without any complaint attended to her every need.  Ariel went to church and she was told about Jesus and His love for her. She was prayed for by her family, extended family, church family, friends and friends of friends who fervently hoped and longed for a miracle of healing.

Ariel lost her fight to live on earth but she gained heaven’s victory. SMA is a cruel disease rubbing the body of the ability to move and grow. At 16 months she weighed a mere 10-1/2 lbs. But now she is fully and wholly free and perfectly healed.  She can sing and dance, run and jump. She is celebrating life to the fullest in the presence of Jesus.

And so it causes me once again to pause and think. I think about life and what it means, I think about the finality of death and infinity of eternity.  I think about choices and our ability to choose in life where we will spend eternity. At the moment of death there is no second chance, no coming back, no opportunity to change my mind. Regardless of the allotted years, I will have had my chance at life.

The last weeks had become an increasing struggle for Ariel. Breathing and eating became more difficult and she had several choking episodes. She started running a fever and about 1:30 on Friday morning Cheryl got her and put her between them in bed. At six when they awoke she was gone.  We don’t know all that happens at death but God’s Word gives us nuggets of information, treasures that bring peace to our minds and understanding to our hearts.  Sometimes the veil between earth and heaven is briefly lifted for someone who comes back from death and we have their testimony of life on the other side.

We know that we have guardian angels and that they do the bidding of our Heavenly Father. (Psalms 91:11) We know they come at the time of death and carry us to heaven (Luke 16:22). I envision excitement in heaven as the order was given to go and get little Ariel.  Heaven paid a visit to 7300 Kathydale Rd. The angels knew exactly where to go and went with haste. Did they lovingly caress Jeremy and Cheryl as they slept and kiss them on the cheek as they gently cradled Ariel’s spirit to take her home to Jesus?  Were six little cousins* and other extended family members summoned to the pearly gates to welcome her home?

Psalms 116:15 says “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints.”   As we laid to rest little Ariel we celebrated her short, sweet, innocent life not only with tears of loss and sorrow but also with tears of joy and release.

At the close of the memorial service the rafters in the Church of Baltimore rang as we sang with passion “I Know That My Redeemer Liveth” by Jessie B. Pounds.

I know that my Redeemer liveth,
And on the earth again shall stand;
I know eternal life He giveth,
That grace and power are in His hand.

Refrain

I know, I know, that Jesus liveth,
And on the earth again shall stand;
I know, I know, that life He giveth,
That grace and power are in His hand.

I know His promise never faileth,
The Word He speaks, it cannot die;
Though cruel death my flesh assaileth,
Yet I shall see Him by and by.

Refrain

I know my mansion He prepareth,
That where He is there I may be;
O wondrous thought, for me He careth,
And He at last will come for me.

 

*Note: There have been numerous miscarriages in the family and Ariel’s little cousin Truman died two years ago from the same disease. Someday I will write about our two children who also died of the same disease.

Ariel Joy (About her struggle to live in the last weeks)

The Life of Truman

How Truman Touched Our Lives 

 

Ariel Joy

 

December 2103-3

Ariel Joy

(Hebrew name meaning Lion of God)

A little over two years ago I posted several blogs about my nephew Micah’s son, Truman, who passed away from SMA Type I or Werdnig Hoffman disease. SMA is a severe genetic disease attacking the nerve and muscle systems.  Children born with this disease are known as “floppy” babies.  As the nerves quit functioning that control the muscle movement from the spinal cord they lose the ability to move. It eventually affects their breathing and swallowing.  We also had two children with the same disease in 1977 and 1982.

Fifteen months ago this cruel disease surfaced in the Heatwole family again. My niece Cheryl has a little girl, Ariel Joy, who is fighting for her life.  It is very unusual for it to show up in a family this many times as both parents have to carry the genetic markers for the disease.  Just to understand the family connection…Micah and Cheryl are brother and sister and their dad, Richard, is my brother.

September 2013

Ariel has huge, imploring eyes and an angelic smile. She has never rolled over or taken a step. She can’t turn her head but she can turn her eyes. She is very aware of her surroundings. She loves her family and feels very insecure when others try to touch or hold her.

Brithday-December 2013

Here she is celebrating her one-year birthday-December 26, 2013.

December 2013

 

December 2013-2

Time is running out for Ariel unless God performs a miracle.  Her parents, along with family and friends, have diligently and persistently implored God for a miracle to heal their little sweetheart.  It truly is amazing she has made it this far. Normally they do not get to celebrate their first birthday.

April 2014

Ariel is very tiny, weighing a mere eleven pounds. She is a fighter and several times has had a very close call.  Her swallowing is now being affected which makes it very difficult to even eat pureed food.  I quote from Jeremy and Cheryl’s March 23 facebook page….

“Well friends, it would be impossible for us to make up the kind of hope that we are experiencing right now. Two days ago Ariel choked on a bottle, stopped breathing, became blue and we thought we had lost her. But she came back! The last two weeks or so, she’s been borderline sick and “on the edge” health-wise. The choking event wiped her out and yesterday we truly felt we were looking at the end. We kissed her last night and put her to bed feeling like we had said “goodbye”. But this morning…. ! She woke up early and took some water. I was just trying to make her comfortable but she liked it and wanted more. Then she wanted breakfast. She polished that off, gave us tiny smiles and was interacting some, looking around with bright eyes…more herself than she has been in days. She has been sleeping, now, all morning. We are so encouraged and are, like I said, hopeful. I have to admit that my soul has been suspicious of such hope. After all, I feel I’ve been looking death in the face. But I have said to my soul, “Bless God! To Him belong escapes from death. Hope in God! Rest and receive hope.” What if we have been walking through the valley of the shadow of death and we’re actually, like He said, walking THROUGH. Please continue praying! (We cannot express how grateful we are!) We are so dependent on His presence, protection and touch.”
It was 37 years ago today that we laid our own little Karla to rest.  I remember and my mind is very much on little Ariel and her struggle to breathe, eat and live. I think of Jeremy and Cheryl and their struggle to cling to the threads of hope. Hope, that just maybe, they will be granted a much desired miracle.
I am reminded of my Heavenly Father’s deep love for his children. I am reminded of His presence, His peace and His comfort. Maybe He will yet miraculously choose to heal little Ariel in this life. But if He doesn’t we know that she will be perfectly and fully healed in her new life with Him.  God tells us to bring our sorrows, our desires, our needs, our petitions, our joys and our worship to Him.  And so we enter the throne room of heaven and ask for a miracle for little Ariel.  God hears.  Regardless of the outcome I will praise His name and thank Him for His goodness. I can trust Him.

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