Wednesday, February 18, 2009


Isabel Anne Emry was here with us for 352 days. How is that possible? How could 352 days be so long, yet her life so short?

How is it possible that she, one among thousands, would be born with a rare genetic disorder? How is it possible that one small girl could endure so much, yet smile so frequently?

Moreover, how is it possible that we could be so lucky, that our family would be chosen to be hers? That our relationship with Isabel made over the course of a year would have the depth and quality of others we've made over a lifetime?

Isabel's life is a testimony to what is possible.

When we first met, Isabel--like all new babies--had this luster of heaven about her, as if she was not quite of this world. Children seem so much closer to the divine, like a purer version of us. They radiate those qualities of God that we seek on earth, and are just not able to find in any other place. Pure acceptance, absolute joy, true love at first sight: Isabel demonstrated all these. And there was not a single person who was quite the same after knowing her.

We all admired her. Her resilience to spring back into life after her many surgeries was truly breathtaking. She made us all want to do better. Though her parents tirelessly cared for her every single day, they did not begin their parenthood with this kind of vigor. Isabel inspired in them strength, energy, and capabilities sufficient for her care. For how do you express your fatigue from caring for a child with special needs when they are looking at you with bandaged head three days out of surgery? Isabel inspired Adam and Kari to be, simply, the most devoted and patient parents I have ever known.

For the rest of us, Isabel showed us that we could do better. We could do better at those things that we sometimes resist out of fear, trepidation, or sheer laziness, for here was a girl who could teach you a thing or two about living…

Eating was not easy for her, holding her head up was not easy for her, breathing was not easy for her. The basic business of living we take for granted, yet Isabel had to work every day, as did her parents and grandparents to help her reach these milestones. She not only achieved them, she did them with a smile.

But, I must also tell you that Isabel’s life was no tidy lesson, sent here to give us all something to think about. She was her own person: a girl, just beginning to develop opinions, moods, a personality. She was happy, sunny, quick with a smile, and in recent weeks a bit of a conversationalist, if you could keep up. Your time with her would make the clock stop. It was magical, and profound. She would gaze into your soul with those beautiful, expressive eyes...and you would be hooked immediately.

Those of you who cared for her in the hospital probably got to see the "assertive Isabel,” making sure you knew which blanket, toy, or TV station she preferred. You may have suffered her tiny wrath, all kicking feet and waving arms. And you may have noticed that, in keeping with her Quaker heritage, Isabel wasn't afraid to administer a good shunning.

It was comforting for me to see this girl display such individuality and strength of spirit so early. To me, it meant that she planned on staying here, preparing herself for a life on earth. A life we all know, of daily struggles and joys, of triumphs and disappointments, of loving family and bossy cousins.

But it was not to be. Isabel, despite the tireless effort of her family, doctors, and nurses, passed on from this world to the next. To those who adored her, much too soon. We can hardly begin to understand why. Though Isabel will never walk, eat an ice cream cone, kiss a boy, drive a car; she wants for nothing. It is we that want these things for her, these life experiences and memories.

As people of faith we know that she is complete, she is fulfilled in her Creator's presence, a place we all wish to be someday. She has no pain, must never endure another surgery, has cast aside silly things like oxygen and g-tubes and helmets.

Instead of trying to make sense of our sudden loss, we are actively affirming that our time with her was a blessing. One that we were not prepared for, and one that continues to be revealed to us. We may never know why Isabel was taken, but we do know that she is at peace, with her Creator...and it is our job to honor that.

She will be missed in a most physical way. The void she left in all of us is felt every day. We are working on filling that space with her memory, and we long for a time that we will see her again. We do not mourn the years we did not have, we thank God for the 352 days that we did.

Thank you all for honoring her today.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Isabel Anne Emry of Boise passed away late Saturday, February 7th, 2009 at St. Luke’s Regional Medical Center, just two weeks before her first birthday. She was surrounded by her mother, father, and loving family and friends.

Isabel was born nearly one year ago on February 20th, 2008 to Adam and Kari Emry. She was born with a rare genetic disorder, Crouzon Syndrome, that necessitated several surgical procedures and intermittent hospital stays. In spite of these medical challenges, Isabel thrived and grew into a bright, happy, and social baby, quick with a smile and eager to charm. Every day Isabel spent many hours playing on the floor, rolling and kicking and pushing up, a testament to her strong will and infatigable spirit. She was a source of immeasurable joy and inspiration to her family, and they will forever treasure her short time in this world.

She is survived by her parents, Adam and Kari Emry of Boise, her maternal grandparents, Ron and Karen Folwell of Boise, and her paternal grandparents, Doug and Linda Emry of Kuna, as well as a large family of great-grandparents, uncles, aunts, and cousins.
The family would like to thank the dedicated team of surgeons, physicians, and nurses who took such excellent care of Isabel throughout her life, and particularly the staff of St. Luke’s Pediatric Intensive Care Unit for their compassion and professionalism during this difficult time.

Services are under the direction of Cloverdale Funeral Chapel, where a visitation for all family and friends will be held Thursday, February 12th from 6:30 to 8:00 in the evening. A celebration of Isabel’s life will be held Friday, February 13th at 1:00 in the afternoon at Boise Friends Church, with a private graveside service to follow. Memorials can be made in Isabel’s name to St. Luke’s Children’s Hospital Family Assistance Fund: P.O. Box 190 E. Bannock Street Boise, Idaho 83712.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Isabel Anne Emry

It is with broken hearts that we relay this news: yesterday, around midnight, Isabel passed away after unexpectedly arresting earlier that day. She was with her brave, loving mother and father and not in any pain. We ask for your prayers for Adam and Kari and their parents.

God bless.

Saturday, February 7, 2009


Dear friends & family:

Isabel was brought into the emergency room via ambulance. She stopped breathing for an unknown amount of time. She was eventually resuscitated, but is now very critical condition. The doctors are watching her closely and evaluating the impact to her brain and body. We do not have many details to share at this time: Kari and Adam ask for your most ardent prayers.

Thank you.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Home For Christmas

So, being in possession of super-human-baby-strength, Isabel came home on Wednesday night, less than 48 hours after her surgery! Being home is a giant plus: not only is she less likely to contract a nasty cold or flu bug, but she's with her people and comfortable, familiar things.

Other than a wee bit of swelling around her eyes and right side, she's doing just great, as these pictures can attest.

And she's eating little bits of solids! (As you might remember, she has some structural issues with her palette, so this is a huge step.)

Thank you so much for your prayers and love. The Emrys and Folwells are blessed beyond measure by your friendship.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Finally Out!

They finished the surgery up at 7:15 PM and Isabel is now in recovery. (Adam will be with her shortly; poor Kari has a cold and cannot be in the PICU.) No complications: she lost a bit more blood than usual, but that is likely due to her slightly larger, more robust body. The doctor released the suture and removed the faulty bone from the left side of her head as planned, and then decided to harvest healthy bone from the right side of her skull to patch up her fontanel. She is being moved to PICU soon and will hopefully be released in just three days.

We are currently hoping and praying that she doesn't catch any respiratory bugs in the PICU, which would greatly prolong her stay and complicate her condition.

Thank you for all the love, prayers, and good thoughts. We'll keep things updated as she recovers.

Still In Surgery...

....and waiting for word. Isabel was in pre-op for nearly two hours and the surgery began much later than anticipated. Will keep everyone updated.