Monday, August 31, 2009

Crack Down

I have to say thank you to the Nodaway County Sheriff's Office for what I read in the Nodaway News Leader on Friday. The article states that the Sheriff Department will be cracking down on impaired drivers now through September 7th during Missouri's You Drink and Drive You Lose campaign. The article stated that law enforcement efforts will be increased in order to reduce deaths and serious injuries caused by impaired drivers.

There is a quote in the article from Sheriff Darren White that I would like to share. "Driving while intoxicated is one of the most violent crimes, randomly killing or injuring someone in Missouri every 1.7 hours. These tragedies are preventable when drivers make a simple, smart choice not to drink and drive." This quote echoes what I said in my victim impact statement and I hope people listen.

Friday, August 28, 2009

To Keep Her Close

When we lost Abby, my sweet sister Beth thought that we would want to have her close to us still in some way and brought us fingerprint kits. At the time we thought this was such a great idea, but I don't think we knew how much exactly it would mean to us. We had the kits made into necklaces for Marc, Mady, Elly, both Grandmas, and myself. Later copies were made for the aunts. These necklaces have meaning beyond words for us. Marc's has never left his neck and mine only comes off at night. We let Mady wear hers on special occasions for now and Elly will get to wear hers when she is old enough to understand. I am constantly touching and rubbing my fingerprint charm to feel close to Abby.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

A Glimpse of Preschool

During Abby's year of preschool in 2006-2007, her teacher Randi Nielson would email pictures of what the class was doing. So with the start of school I thought I would share a few of these today so everyone can see a glimpse into Abby's preschool life.

With her buddies Cole and Sage.

the whole class with their masks. Abby is fiddling with hers.

Abby is just off to the side.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009


Birthday~ as the name implies, it is the anniversary of a person's birth. Usually accompanied by a celebration that includes a birthday cake with candles. The tradition is that the person who's birthday it is may make a silent wish and blow out the candles.

Yesterday was my birthday. The 33rd anniversary of my birth. I did not see much reason to blow out any candles on this day because the only thing I would wish for would not come true. My little Mommy's Girl can't rejoin her family and give me a big birthday hug. There are no other wishes for me right now.

It's days like these that I just don't understand why I was spared to keep "celebrating" these days while my innocent little girl couldn't even celebrate her fourth birthday.

Mommy misses you every day Abbers!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Donated Plushes

The wonderful ladies at Midwest Transplant Network sent a box of stuffed animals to the Foundation.

Monday, August 24, 2009

VBS Donation

St. Gregory's Church and First Christian Church held their vacation Bible school together at the end of July. They chose to bring donations for the Foundation again and just look at all they collected! Thanks so much to all who gave!

Friday, August 21, 2009

I Stood By Your Bed

I stood by your bed last night,
I came to have a peek.
I could see that you were crying,
you found it hard to sleep.

I whispered to you softly
as you brushed away a tear,
"It's me, I haven't left you,
I'm well, I'm fine, I'm here."

I was close to you at breakfast,
I watched you pour the tea,
you were thinking of the many times
your hands reached down to me.

I was with you at the shops today,
your arms were getting sore.
I longed to take your parcels,
I wish I could do more.

I was with you at my grave today,
you tend it with such care.
I want to reassure you,
that I'm not lying there.

I walked with you towards the house,
as you fumbled for your key.
I gently put my hand on you,
I smiled and said "it's me."

You looked so very tired,
and sank into a chair.
I tried so hard to let you know,
that I was standing there.

It's possible for me to be
so near you every day.
To say to you with certainty,
"I never went away."

You sat there very quietly,
then smiled, I think you knew ...
in the stillness of that evening,
I was very close to you.

The day is over...
I smile and watch you yawning
and say "goodnight, God bless,
I'll see you in the morning."

And when the time is right
for you to cross the brief divide,
I'll rush across to greet you
and we'll stand, side by side.

I have so many things to show you,
there is so much for you to see.
Be patient, live your journey out ...
then come home to be with me.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Another School Year Begins

The days leading up to the first day back have been just as I feared ~ no different than last year. For some reason I was really hoping that I could make it without any tears. But no such luck again. We made it to the supply drop off/meet the teacher night early to avoid all that we could in hopes of sparing some emotions. I was proud of myself at the school for keeping my mask in place and made it most of the way home before the tears started to flow.
The first day was the day it all really hit me. With tears in my eyes, I took Mady for the first day of fourth grade. It was so difficult to see all the parents walking the younger kids into school, excited to start the school year. I wish I had my little girl to walk in to the first grade. I wish I had that little girl for Mady to escort in and show the way to. I felt like Abby was sharing tears with me this morning as the rain started on our way in to the school. I know she would have loved to be a first grader.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Avery's Birthday

Avery Baker celebrated her 6th birthday recently with a Fancy Nancy Spa Party and requested her guests bring a stuffed animal for the Foundation. Little Ms. Avery told me this was her way of giving back because she has received two stuffed animals from visits to the emergency room herself.

Thanks Avery for generously sharing your birthday with the Foundation to help other kids!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Nodaway News Leader Story

After we returned from our trip to DC, the Nodaway News Leader contacted us to do a story about the trip. The story can be found here ~

They did a great job telling about the honor we received in going to the ceremony. Thanks Jacki!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Eleven Years

After we lost Abby, we were told a scary statistic about how many parents end up divorced after the death of a child. I can't tell you now exactly what the percentage was, but it was a large number. Then later we were told the number maybe only raises slightly higher than the average divorce rate. Which one is correct, I'm not real sure, but we hope to beat the odds as we marked our eleventh year of marriage over the weekend. It might seem a strange way to celebrate, but we did so as a family minus one, doing family things.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Bunnies, bunnies, bunnies

My sister Beth's coworker made this donation to the Foundation and this was only HALF of the bunnies she gave.
I am always amazed at the generosity of people we don't even know. It really warms my heart.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Birthday Gifts

For her birthday, Jill Spire requested donations for the Foundation. Her 11 guests that attended the slumber party gave three stuffed animals and $65!

Thanks for sharing your birthday with the Foundation Jill!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

West Nodaway FCCLA

The club just keeps giving and donated these cute bears to the Foundation.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Tractor Cruise Donation

Sunday was the Heart of America Tractor Club's wrap-up dinner and check presentation at Mozingo. We were unable to attend due to Mady's Bible School performance, so Board Member Roger Frueh went on behalf of the Foundation.
Roger accepted the donation of $6500 from the Martin From. When we received word from Roger later that evening about the dinner and the donation, we were in shock! I said that it was probably a good thing we sent him because I was in tears after just being told the amount. I am sure if I was out there accepting the check that I would have be overwhelmed with emotion. We cannot even begin to thank the Tractor Club enough for this generous gift! The support this organization has shown for the Foundation is overwhelming!
All three charities, Abrielle Neff Foundation, Special Olympics of Northwest Missouri, and Muscular Dystrophy Camp, each received the same generous amount.


Monday, August 10, 2009


Midwest Transplant Network's Newsletter ~ the Celebration is included as one the events that helped raise awareness on organ donation.

Other events included in the newsletter were ~ St. Luke's Appreciation Luncheon, Celebration on Life Ceremony in Kirksville, the Annual Scott Phillips Memorial Golf Tournament, Autumn and Friends Memorial Run, the Fifth Annual Dakota Lawrence Volleyball Tournament in St. Joseph, and the Second Annual Cut Short Ride.

Friday, August 7, 2009

A Forced Day

Today (yesterday for everyone reading) has been a day of forcing myself to do things. The fast approaching start of school is really beginning to wear on me. No matter what I try, the sadness seems to stay, clinging in the depths, allowing me to still put on my happy face, but bringing tears at night. I know that it is because Abby so loved preschool that this time of year brings up more emotions than other days. It's not that I miss her any more one day than I do the next, because I don't. It's the excitement in the air from all the other little kids preparing for the start of another year of learning. It's all the things that I can't avoid no matter how hard I try. It's that it just seems to make everything public that my little girl is gone. I just want to cry out to God "It's not fair!", "This sucks!", "I need my little girl back!" , but this is the path He gave me and the one I have to walk. Sleepless night, chills to the bone, a sadness that grabs the depths of me are just some of the things this path is bringing me right now.

Today was school registration that made the grief come flooding back. Despite my wonderful friend providing me with a much needed distraction while there, the fact was still in my face that I was just registering one girl for school instead of the two I should have been.

Tonight has been spent with lots of quiet time. I spent almost an hour just sitting outside on the bench by our memorial garden. I sat there crying as I listen to the wind. Mady has always told me that she can hear Abby in the wind, so I guess I was hoping to tonight too. Instead, the breeze gently blew, drying the tears that streamed down my face while two butterflies and a dragonfly danced in the sky.

This path that I'm on right now seems to have many curves and crossroads in it and I am still not sure where this path will lead, but I am on the journey just the same and that today is the best that I can do.

I apologize for my rambling tonight, but sometimes these emotions are just too difficult to put into words.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Missing My Little Girl

I so love seeing Abby's friends, but at the same time, my heart breaks knowing this is how big my little girl should be. This is where my Abby should have been on Saturday night. She should have been in the sand between her Sissy and her preschool friend Leanna. They should have been building the sand castle together.
As the start of school draws closer, my grief seems to become greater. It's something as simple as the school supply list or the ads on tv that make my heart heavy. I was hoping that the start of this year would be easier than last, and maybe it will, but right now my thoughts are consumed by the fact that we are missing a first grader in our household this year. What kind of backpack would she want for school this year? Who would she have for a teacher? Who would her classmates be? The list and the heartache go on.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Elks Luau

Saturday was the Elks Toad Holler Luau that was to raise money for various charities including the Foundation. The event was a pork barbecue filled with music and fun and games. The luau theme meant leis and umbrellas, among other things.

There was a DJ that had several kids out dancing, including mine.
The kids had several activities that included a flush tank with Elks members taking a seat to get wet (which I failed to get pictures of), bubbles, limbo, and of course, just playing in the sand. The adults had some fun and games too. The funniest was the hot dog race. Take a look ~

(Elly kept trying to take a bite out of all these hot dogs tied to strings.)

Thanks to the Elks and all who organized, and helped with this event!

Monday, August 3, 2009


On June 5, 2009, the OPTN national patient waiting list for organ transplants included the following~

79,747 patients waiting for a kidney transplant
15,789 patients waiting for a liver transplant
1,494 patients waiting for a pancreas transplant
188 patients waiting for a pancreas islet cell
2,208 patients waiting for a kidney-pancreas transplant
213 patients waiting for an intestine transplant
2,785 patients waiting for a heart transplant
86 patients waiting for a heart-lung transplant
1,932 patients waiting for a lung transplant