Praise You in This Storm

This is the tribute I wrote for Nora’s funeral service. {Post note: I was actually given the strength to get up and read it!}


As I put my hand on my forehead in despair I feel the tender strain of the muscles and sinew beneath. They’ve been contracted and skewed with unfathomable grief over the past days as I’ve tried to absorb the reality of a life without Nora in it. For a moment I was angry with God, “If this was her time to go, why was it prolonged??? Why didn’t You just take her that horrifying day in the shock and trauma bay??” Just as quickly as I yelled out, I realized. How often after we lose a loved one suddenly do we wish for “just one more day”. Although we weren’t thinking along those lines, AS it seemed like Nora was getting better, I now realize that God gave us not “just one more day”, but he gave us FIFTEEN OF THEM. Those 15 days were spent focused on Nora, PRAYING for her and loving her profoundly. He gave us the gift of one last smile, one last visit from her brudder and her sister, her Kelly and her beloved relatives and friends before He took her home. He gave me the GIFT of laying peacefully next to her in her little hospital crib in the dark, her Daddy on the other side, and surrounded by everyone who loves her. There was no longer a crisis or an emergency. It just WAS. It was her time. So we held her little hands and we whistled and we sang. We stroked her little head and kissed her precious cheeks and told her how much we love her, as we walked her to Heaven’s Door. My heart is wrapped in a mysterious shroud of peace as I look back at how God so tenderly prepared us for these final moments. The 2 week hospitalization in January prepared us for the gift of these 15 days. We got to know the doctors and the nurses and they got to know us and Nora. We were all too familiar with the parent sleep rooms, the teams of doctors rounding, the food menu, medical terminology and on and on. This wasn’t a foreign land that we were suddenly thrust into. There was one part of the hospital that we had never been, but it was exactly as horrible as I had imagined it. My eyes scanned past the skids of medical equipment, diapers, and sanitizing supplies there in the bowels of this huge ship as we trekked along with the clergy and a nurse. Nora’s Daddy held her tightly as if to protect her from it all, a trail of tears behind us. And then there they were. In such a hallway where it seems almost laughable and senseless to hang any type of artwork — THERE THEY WERE.


I probably seemed hysterical and out of my mind as I pointed out not one, but two framed photos featuring the THREE BIRDS. The three birds, signifying the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit who have revealed themselves to us over and over and over again were THERE in that ugly hallway. It was exactly that little bit of reassurance that we needed to keep putting one foot in front of the other, to keep breathing, just like so many other times. The chain of unexplainable “coincidences”, for lack of a better word, were put in place as guideposts. They have made us keenly aware that this path is NO ACCIDENT, nor are we walking on it alone.

Late Thursday night as I was rummaging through computer files trying to compile music and two years worth of photos, I stumbled across a short story I had written for a writing class back in 2001. It’s called:

© 2001 Aleisa
The sun was shining down warmly upon my skin that day. I clearly remember the sound of the dry grass crackling beneath my feet as we walked to that tiny plot of land. There were no clouds, only a hot summer breeze that danced with wisps of my hair. Never had I seen such a delicate baby, but never for a moment did I give up hope. The words of the pastor were soft background noise, as I was completely distracted by your sweet memory. Was there nothing I could have said? Nothing I could have done? I walked away from there without you in my arms, but instead forever in my heart, my love.
A strange emptiness fills our home, neighbors give their silent nods of remorse. I try to keep my empty hands busy and for short periods of time, I forget. But just as soon as I forgot, I hear the echoes of your first cries. I remember the loveliest little baby and the day I was your mother. God will take care of you my little flower. God will rock you in his arms.

Eerily prophetic, but yet another instance of how God was preparing my heart with empathy before He commissioned me with my own assignment. There have been so MANY instances, I could stand up here and ramble on about them all day long.

There have been no mistakes and there is nothing that we wish we would have done differently. I thank and praise God who entrusted us with this beautiful little miracle named Nora. I thank Him for giving us the strength to say YES when the world suggested we opt out. I give thanks and praise to God for the gift of writing and a creative mind that enabled me to share Nora with the world. Thank you GOD for the indescribable joys, and yes thank you too for our sorrows. Book of Romans, Chapter 8, verses 18 – 19 states, “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that WILL be revealed in us. For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed.”

Nora was loved every millisecond of her life not only by us, but by all of you and the thousands around the world who have followed along on our journey. Her beautiful two years of LIFE are the fruit of your prayers, when the odds and statistics were stacked against her. She only knew love, as is evidenced by her beautiful little smile. The little bit of suffering that she did endure, is not worth comparing with the GLORY that has now been revealed in her.

As we continue along on our journey, I am boldly confident that God will continue to reveal His presence to us in these days, months and years to come with the hearts, the trios of birds, songs on the radio, etc. Many of you also see them and we are so touched when you share them with us. In a book called “When God Winks” by Squire Rushnell he refers to these coincidences as God winks, “Like a wink from your grandfather, these winks are communicating God’s message to you: ‘Hey kid, I’m thinking about you — right now.”


44 thoughts on “Praise You in This Storm

  1. I love you. So blessed to have you in my life as a steward of what FAITH looks like. Im praying that each day God fills the void in your hearts. I also pray that you are all given sweet dreams of Nora. Today was a beautiful memorial. Thank you for allowing all of us to take part in it. Nora was an inspiration to me personally, medically, and most of all to my relationship with Christ. Her footprint will forever be with me. ♡♥♡♥♡♥♡♥

  2. Aleisa,
    Though we have never met I have followed your blog over the past 2 years. Nora was such a beautiful gift & I thank you for sharing her with us. I sit here not knowing exactly what to say…there are truly not enough words. May God comfort you, surround you with love & constantly gift you with God Wink’s from sweet Nor Nor!! I pray for Gavin & Greta as I know this must be very hard on them! There love for their sister was just breathtaking!! The faith that you have shared is unbelievable and one that God wants all of is to come to!! Thank you from the bottom of my heart for sharing so openly! May a God be with you, William, Gavin & Greta!

  3. Alesia and William– Thank you so much for sharing Nora with us. She was such a blessing and inspiration to so many. Her legacy will continue to inspire all of us as we continue to share God’s holy word and message. I take joy in knowing that she and my son, Evan, are now playing together and running the streets of gold pain free. What a joyous day it will be when we all see them again.

    • Hi Martha,
      The short story is in this post, right where it says:
      M I S S E D
      © 2001 Aleisa
      It’s the paragraph written right under that. That short story was “fictional”.
      Isn’t that a Precious Gift from God? That “short story” actually came true with Nora Rose’s Life, almost 10 years after she wrote it!

      I hope that helps you. Hugs, Jo

  4. Thats beautiful, just beautiful. Many times I have sat and cried after reading what you wrote. I will miss little Nora. She has been a part of my life for two years now. If I ever missed any of your posts, I would go back to see what I missed. You and your family have touched me in many ways and I have prayed for you guys many times and I still will.

    Many times, things you wrote were right on !! You really have a way of saying something to get right to the point and make whoever is reading feel exactly what your saying. I hope you continue to express yourself in this site. I will be right here reading it and praying for you as always.

  5. I first started reading about Nora via friends (both nurses) we have in common (Amy & Carrie). I am still in awe how our God brought another little baby (Nora) into this world to help save so many! You & William are like Mary & Joseph in a way because you were SO willing to share your girl with the world that even 1 might be saved! THANK YOU is not enough but a start for your willing obedience to offer her as an example of God’s love to those who may never have understood until Nora how precious & great is the Father’s love for us. This is NOT the end of your (or Nora’s) story! She is alive in all of our hearts and He will continue to use us all as willing vessels! Never underestimate how one post can change a life for the better. You are loved & lifted up in prayer.

    Layne Myers (a new friend for life)
    (All because of one Lady Baby) 😘

  6. I thank you again for sharing your faith, your family and your baby girl, Nora with me. I will always think of you and Nora when I see three birds together, or an unexpected heart shape. I’ve been doing it for two years as I read about her blessed life journey. I pray for you, and am certain that our God will grant you peace and joy in this new phase of your lives. God is with you always. And so is Nora Rose. Thank you, and bless you.

  7. Aleisa,
    Once again I am humbled by your faith and devotion. Even in your profound grief you share God’s word. In memory of your sweet Nora, please continue to write, it is a gift our Lord has given to you. People all over the world knew Nora and the words of her Mommy. Wrapping you in christian love and hugs.

  8. Oh Aleisa!!! I have been at a loss for words. I was expecting Nora to be back home with you carrying on as normal after her difficult hospital stay. I prayed with faith knowing that our God is the God of the impossible. I was praising God as I watched that last video that brought me to tears of her contagious giggles. I was certain she was on her road to recovery. And then my heart broke as I read your updates on the FB page. I could feel the finality of it in the last update, but I still prayed for a miracle. I was praying Scripture over her. I have watched God miraculously carry her. I was then wondering the same questions you posed at the beginning of this post as I read the update of her being born into heaven. And then I see His Glory and His Plan being revealed moment by moment these last few days just reading the comments and seeing your unshakable faith as you walk this new path. His Ways are above our ways, and His Timing is always perfect. I trust that, and I know you trust that. And I am inspired by you through this trial that I cannot even imagine. My heart aches being a mama and knowing the deep, deep unexplainable love I have for my babies. Oh, how my heart aches and grieves with you. On the morning of June 3, I read your update and immediately began writing out a prayer for your family in my journal. The first verse on my page was the verse about nothing separating you from the love of Christ. Then on the next page as I finished writing out my prayer, my last words were Amen. I then looked at the verse at the bottom of the page that read, “My health may fail, my spirit may grow weak, but God remains the strength of my heart; He is mine forever.” Ps. 73:26 And I knew that it was no accident that this was the verse on this page on this day that I was writing out a prayer for your family on behalf of precious, precious Nora Rose. I know she is truly His forever. I know that anything I have said will not ease the pain or take away the mourning. And I would never think I could say something that could. I just wanted to share that verse with you that is another one of those coincidences on this day. All my love goes out to you, and I am continually praying for you and your whole family. Nora has blessed me in more ways than you can imagine. And your posts are like devotions for me. You are a blessing! I only wish I could have met and held Nora. Much, much love, Cara

  9. Alesia,

    Again, you have written a most beautiful elegant post! There you are in such absolute disbelief of what is happening, yet able to find the positiveness in God granting little Nora fifteen extra days. What a blessing Gavin and Greta have to be raised in such a loving positive home by you and William.

    Three birds, looking for hearts, and “it’s going to be . .” have become a part of my daily life. You and Nora made a lasting impact on my life. Much love is sent your way.

  10. Reblogged this on Honesty – The Best Policy and commented:
    I have been following this beautiful family since Nora’s birth. Their faith and honesty has been amazing to witness and I can only hope that the life of myself and my family bears a fraction of the witness to the amazing grace and goodness of God that theirs does. I weep with both sorrow and joy knowing that she is free from suffering and resting in His peace, but will miss her beautiful smiles and joy she brought to so many in her short time with us. All my love to the Yusko family.

  11. Aleisa you are the strongest person I know. I’m so happy to have met you and very blessed to be able to call you my friend.
    When I first heard about you and little Nora I was pregnant with Ivy. It was November 2012. A nurse at Good Sam told me about Nora’s blog. Her name is Nancy. I am so thankful she did. As soon as I came home I searched for the little rock star named Nora. When I read the title of her blog “I will carry you” I found it ironic. I had spoke those words to my belly at 19 weeks to Ivy. We did and do what we can for our children. We’re their mothers. You deserve the award for Mother of the Century.
    I’m so thankful for that day and that long hug in the CICU back in September. Thank you for your and little Nora’s inspiration.
    I love you my sweet friend.


  12. Aleisa, I have lurked into your lives via your fantastic blogging & never written you personally, today that ends with this short note to let you know I have followed your story of sweet Nora since a few weeks after her birth when a friend who attends Crossroads told me about your blog. I was in the midst of welcoming my 2nd great grand daughter, Sophia, who was born April 26 in CA. My grand daughter Maegan, Sophia’s mommy, has followed Nora’s story & was devastated as was I when the news came of Nora’s birth into Heaven. Words fail to express heartfelt love & grief for a life cut too short & bushels of love that now wings it’s way to heaven.

    You & your precious family have filled my days & prayers….I found myself not “asking” God to be with you all today but “thanking” Him for being near to you for I knew prayers were not needed for He is always very present wherever you are for You are HIS child, how could He NOT be in your very presence when He knew how desperately you needed Him to get thru these lonely days.

    I have no words to lift your heart today except to say: you are not alone!! Tho’ she spent such a short time here, you will have an ETERNITY to spend running, jumping & dancing all over Heaven with Sweet Elanora Rose Yusko, the baby who brought God to so many all around this big wide world!!!

    Blessings to you my sweet girl….hug William, Gavin & Greta, your Birth daughter & of course Kelly for me & as they hug you back that will be my arms around you!! My heart cries out, Blessed be the Name of our Lord!!

    Charlene Benton West Carrollton, OH

    Sent from my iPad


  13. Pingback: Praise You in This Storm | Today's Tomfoolery

  14. You are truly showing the beauty in the ashes of going through such a heartbreaking trial under the hands of an Almighty God. It’s encouraging and inspiring to see you giving such glory and honor to God in such a devastating time. I know The Lord is smiling down on you and beyond pleased with your handling of this situation. There is no coincidences or mistakes. God choose you for this. He made you well enough to do it. Your writing is a gift and you have displaying Nora’s story so beautiful. Nora sadly spent such a short time here with us, but she has probably done more touching of hearts, inspiring others, and been more of a light for the kingdom of God than some of us will ever know. Praise God to give such a mighty task to such a small and precious girl like Nora. A short life doesn’t mean it can’t be full of meaning and triumphs and that certainly is true of your sweet girl. Praying for you and your family!

  15. I have followed your journey with Nora since her birth and was deeply saddened AND full of praise when I opened today’s post…I’m so very sorry for the loss of your precious child but also know that she is in the arms of our Father and she’s been made new.

    My prayers will continue as grief is another journey you have been asked to walk. Having lost my 50 year old husband to cancer several years ago, I know that your grief will come and go, will be so intense you think you can’t bear it and be so slight you wonder where it’s gone. That is all ‘normal’ and OK.

    We grieve not as those without hope as we know the One who is Hope, who is Love, who is Comfort. May you allow yourself to be held in His arms and rest in the knowledge that Nora left here fully loved and having loved fully.

  16. Oh no. I’M SO SO SORRY! Like one of the other commenters said I thought Nora was going to heal from her stomach issue like she always had in the past and I would see happy posts from there on in. Then I read about the blood in her urine and I got worried. I prayed the blood issue would just clear up and that would be it. I hoped and prayed I was wrong when your pervious post about Jesus made me wonder if she had gotten worse or passed away. I just read this post and I am crying. This may sound crazy but I considered Nora a friend. I will miss her so much! She brightened my day. I loved watching her grow into a more and more beautiful girl. Nora helped me become even more pro life than I already was. You definitely made the right decision by not aborting her and you gave her the perfect life. You gave her a full 2 wonderful years of life that she never would have had otherwise. She taught me so much about Trisomy 18, and if I were ever to get pregnant with a baby with this condition I would keep him/her and give them the best possible life I could, because Nora showed me that no matter how short a life is it is completely worth it. You showed me that babies like Nora can have a beautiful quality of life. I know Nora lived much longer than expected. She gave Trisomy 18 families hope! She was a blessing. So are you for being her mother and sharing Nora. I know you are going through a rough time Aleisa. I saw my friend lose her baby in 2010 and all the grief and despair she went through. She was never the same, but her despair faded and she healed and was happy again, and her faith and my faith is even stronger after the babies’ death. I know the same will be true for you. You will always be Nora’s mother and Nora will always be your daughter no matter how far apart you are. Nora loves you. Take as much time as you need to grieve. Some people may tell you to get over her death etc but they don’t know your process. Life will go on. This dark time in your life will end. I have no idea what your other children are going through, but I know they will be okay and I’m praying for them. I am here for you. To Nora: I love you. You were my friend. I will love you always. Rest in Peace my dear beautiful angel. May you and my friends’ baby become friends in heaven and continue to watch over your families. Love me.

    P.S Will you continue to post on this blog anymore?? No rush and no pressure. Just curious. Let us know!!!

  17. Praying for strength and comfort for you and your family. Thank you for sharing your sweet angel. Love, Bethany

  18. I just want to say my heart and prayers go out to you, I have followed you blog for sometime now and I understand the sadness and loss you are going through. i am blown away by you steady faith in the Lord through you pregnancy and now your loss or your sweet beautiful Nora. Thank you for sharing her with us. And again my prayers will be with you and your family as you say good bye to your daughter.

  19. When I pulled into the parking lot of the funeral home Friday evening I saw THREE hens in the yard next door. What are the odds of three hens strutting through someone’s yard in the middle of the city? I wanted to stop everyone I saw in the parking lot and say, “Look! THREE BIRDS!” I have no doubt that Nora is in Heaven now but her memory will live on forever in the hearts of thousands of people. Thank you, Aleisa, William, Gavin and Greta for sharing your miracle with us.

  20. I thank our precious Lord for the day that I stumbled across your blog. Since that day I have prayed with you, rejoiced with you, and now am mourning with you, from afar. I am forever grateful that you so selflessly allowed me, along with thousands of others, to do so. There are no words to describe the impact that your sweet Nora had and will continue to have on this world. God bless you and keep you until you hold Nora in your arms again.

  21. This mom in ND is praying for you and your sweet family. Thank you for choosing LOVE every step of the way. Nora was and continues to be a wonderful gift from God . God bless you and hold you close today and all the days to follow.

    • Amen! A mom praying in CA, Nora has touched my life. Thank you. As Susan said, you chose love every step of the way. God bless you all.

  22. Sincere condolences, and may you continue to find such peace and comfort in your faith. I followed Nora’s journey since her birth, and always admired your strength and joy.
    God bless you and keep you,
    Claire xxx

  23. I have followed your blog since almost the beginning. I looked forward to new pictures and to see how Nora was progressing and growing. I am so sorry for your loss. Thank you for sharing Nora’s story. You will all be in my thoughts and prayers.

  24. In Nora’s short lifetime, she has had such purpose. She still continues to touch lives, especially for the furthering of God’s kingdom. How amazing is that? I will continue to pray for your family as you mourn the loss of your sweet little girl, but I rejoice with you that she is in the arms of her precious Savior.

  25. I had to read this a few times because I was just in such denial, I thought I misunderstood. And I keep coming back looking for clarification, some indication that I was wrong, everything is okay. Even though I know that doesn’t make sense, I just keep hoping. I’m sending my love. Thank you for sharing your faith and your love and your beautiful daughter. Praying for peace and healing for your family.

  26. Dearest Aleisa and Willim,
    Thank youo so much for sharing your journey. I can’t tell you much have helped me on our journey with Jojo;s cancer. I continue to pray for your family. And I have added Little Nora Rose to my list of the littlest intercessors. Please keep our Jojo in your prayers.

  27. I am so sorry. No words can express my feelings for your family and your loss of Nora. Please let us know what we can do and have the privlage of any arrangement. The Doyal family

  28. I am just in disbelief. I sit here tearing up. What an inspiration you and your who whole family are and have been for me. I just loved little Nora from the time she was born. Thank you so much for sharing & may God wrap his arms around Nora and all of you. You have a true little, peaceful happy guardian angel in Heaven. God Bless you. ❤

  29. Aleisa, I admire your willingness to share Nora and the rest of your family here with all of us. I know that the future will bring many stories of how you and Nora’s story affected so many, not only in our little part of the world, but all over. Looking at Facebook, you and I share several friends in common (my cousin, Aaron Conley; friends from high school; nurses that I have worked with). So many threads crossing, weaving a tapestry with Nora right in the middle. And yes, she was only here for two years, but what a life full of LOVE she lived…so many of us are blessed by the gift you gave by sharing that life with us!

  30. Dear Nora Rose and your family here on earth. I have followed your posts for almost 2 years. Nora you have brought so much to people in far reaches of the world. You were loved by many. I was a silent prayer warrior for you and your family. God has another angel in heaven.
    Dear, Aleisa, Will, Greta and Gabe- Your strength and love for family has always been there these last two years. Nora had love like no other and she was one lucky girl to have you for parents and sister and brother. I pray for you all and wish I could reach across the page and give you a big Hug. Thank you for sharing Nora with us. Reading your post about her passing just now — I too thought she would make it through this bump in the road and be back home–made me realize that life is short. Not even thinking about it I catch my self looking for hearts and “things of three” in unusual places. I will keep looking and thinking about Nora Rose. Prayers!!!! Love from Westchester Ohio

  31. Dearest Yusko Family
    I was referred to your blog by a dear friend of yours, JH. I have been following it since Nora’s birth. I am so very sorry for your loss. May you all find peace in the days ahead.
    Grace Iha and family

  32. I am so sorry for your loss. I am a fellow T18 mommy and have followed your blog and my heart sunk when I read this post today and heard of Nora’s passing. Your family is such a beautiful witness and you and Nora will continue to touch lives for years to comes. Peace & Blessings -Jessica Hellmer

  33. aleisha, i am stunned as i read this post, never expecting to read these words. i have not been on my computer for days and decided to check my email for an update on nora after i saw a perfect heart stain left under a pot i moved from one place to another. you see, a heartshape means nora tp me…you have made it so…she made it so.

    i am so sorry for you all, for the loss of that beloved little girl. please know that you will remain in my prayers.

    love to all,
    terri m.

  34. I have sat staring at the computer screen trying to find the words to type but there is really nothing I can say other than thankyou for sharing your gorgeous Nora. My thoughts & prayers are with you

  35. Pingback: Celebration of sweet Nora Rose. » LOFT 3 PHOTOGRAPHY

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