Isabelle Gust ‘Little Star’

Isabelle, or Izzy as we called her, was born 16 weeks too soon. She weighed a mere 15 oz and was 10.5 inches long. She was smaller than a Barbie doll but she had determination that far outweighed her tiny size. Along with her prematurity and low birth weight came a number of complications that kept her hospitalized for the entire first year of her life (359 days 7 hours 45 minutes to be exact). She came home 6 days before her first birthday. This beautiful little girl struggled every single day to overcome her multiple medical issues. She did it with grace and without a single complaint. Through everything she inspired so many with her love, fortitude and desire to live. She was a gentle soul with a constant smile and endless strength.

Although she came home with a trach and was dependent on a ventilator and oxygen, she thrived. As she grew in size, she became stronger and came off the ventilator. Her trach was removed in May 2007.  In September of 2007, she started school at Heritage. Even though she was in a program for children with special needs it was apparent how smart she was. She was so bright. By the time she was 3 she could sign, knew all of her colors, could play “Twinkle Twinkle” Little Star on her piano and started to master her letters and numbers. Izzy was an incredible little creature.

 A 7 week battle with pneumonia and influenza B took my precious little girl on March 18, 2008, just 4 days after her 4th birthday. I am grateful for the time I had with her and what I learned through her. I learned to love and appreciate more deeply. I learned about the boundless generosity of family, neighbors and friends. I learned to believe in the kindness of strangers. I learned to live in the moment and appreciate the simple pleasure of sitting quietly with my child in my arms. Most of all what I learned from my tiny beautiful girl is how much love there really is in the world. Although I now live with a profound sadness because she is no longer with me, I also live with the life lessons that I only could have learned through her and her determination to live, love and find happiness in everything she experienced. Because of her, I have strength, an appreciation for the simple things in life and the gift of a very special kind of love that only a child like Isabelle could have shown me.

 Loving her was effortless.  Told by her Mom, Kathy