Abigail Hope Dahlen
April 9, 2008 – April 11, 2010
Abigail Hope’s story begins on April 9, 2008. After a long, beautiful labor, Abigail was born into this world. Her peaceful birth was met by loud screams. At that moment, I knew this was going to be a bumpy road. Abigail met the world with passion and enthusiasm. She knew what she wanted from the beginning, and she was always more than happy to let everyone else within hearing distance know her opinion. She was the 2nd daughter we had been praying for…a sister for Anna Faith…a chance to use girly hair bows and dresses…a 4th child to finish out our 2 and 2 set…but wow did she have her own agenda. To say Abigail was bossy isn’t entirely accurate–she was THE boss–but we were all happy with it that way. Whatever she wanted, she got, but she also in the process convinced us that whatever we had just done for her was exactly what we wanted to do as well. It was in fact the very thing we were truly wanting to do all along…we just hadn’t known it yet. She was that child. The one that could make a first time parent seriously reconsider having kids. But despite the volume, the activity, the demands, we all adored her. She was the baby, the fourth. I had learned how to relax, how to be patient, how to not stress about the small things…well, most of the time anyway.
April 11th, 2010 was a beautiful spring Sunday. It was the first day of sunshine after a long period of rain. We had a peaceful day as a family, enjoying church and an afternoon t-ball game. That afternoon, we split up with my husband staying home with 3 of the children, while I took my oldest and our 5 week old baby to an event. The kids were playing ball in the yard, when Abigail chased the ball into my neighbor’s driveway, tripped, and proceeded to pitch a fit in typical Abigail fashion. Just 2 days after her second birthday, she didn’t know to move when the teenager living in the house walked out to get in his car and backed up. She was temporarily revived at the hospital long enough for me to arrive, but the damage to her brain was extensive and the doctors could do no more.
Our world stopped that day. We had to tell our other children they would never again play with their sister. We had to keep moving and functioning and finding a way to exist in a world without our spunky one. God carried us in those first few months of darkness and he carries us now in our pain. We have the hope and knowledge that we will see her again, but the temporary separation of this world is a constant, crushing ache for us.
But her story doesn’t end with her tragic loss. If we collapsed as a family, we would not honor her memory. We could not sit and do nothing. We wanted to find a way to still share her passion for life with the world, while fulfilling God’s call on our lives. We quickly found that sharing Abigail’s story and helping to educate the public on the dangers of vehicles around children was the best way we could remember and honor our Little Bit’s legacy. Technology will help prevent some of these accidents, but drivers need to always be vigilant about the blind zone behind their vehicle, and parents need to be aware of the dangers of parking lots and driveways especially, as so we continue to advocate and educate.
Our family blog is www.hopeinthegrief.blogspot.com if you are interested in reading more of our story or contacting us. We are always available to share our story or a safety demonstration, and are available to speak to other grieving families when they are experiencing the tragic loss of a child.