Sarah’s Tribute

The previous post was the tribute I wrote and shared at Nora’s funeral service. There were 2 others who gave beautiful tributes and then the amazing eulogy. I want to share their words with those of you who were unable to be there. The first of the three is from Sarah, my dear sister.


I’m Sarah.  I’m blessed beyond belief to say that I am Aleisa’s younger sister.  I know I speak for our other siblings, Joe and Emily, when I say that she has been a pioneer on so many fronts, paving paths for us.  She has been a shoulder to cry on, a listening ear, a source of incredibly creative silliness, and most importantly, a vessel for sharing God’s Word and God’s Truth.  The best advice I have EVER gotten came from her.  In my time of despair begging her, “What should I do?!”  She replied with a quote from Psalm 46, “Be still.  Be still and know”. That, my friends, is powerful advice!  She has the most gigantic heart anyone could ever imagine.  Many of you may not know, but today is her birthday.  Who on this earth could be so selfless to be accepting of an event such as this on her birthday?!

I know there is a lot of hype these days with the dislike of social media and the “put your phone down” activists, but look what such technology has allowed with Nora’s story! The sharing of hardships, happiness, tears and joy, not only quoting scripture but sharing with the world how a humble family applies it to real life!

My Mom shared “Today’s Word” from Joel Osteen with me yesterday and we thought it was worth sharing to describe exactly what I’m talking about:

The scripture is from 2Timothy, “Every scripture is God-breathed…so that the man of God may be complete and proficient, well fitted and thoroughly equipped for every good work.

Joel continues to say, “God has equipped you with everything you need to fulfill your destiny though His Word.  The scripture tells us that as believers in Jesus Christ, we are anointed.  The word “anointing is the power of God which gives you courage, strength and ability.  When you put the Word of God in you, you are receiving that anointing, you are building your faith, and you are being equipped for every good work.  The next time you start to wonder if you have what it takes, go to God’s Word and stir up your faith.  Focus on His Truth which says you are well able to do what he has called you to do.  You can accomplish your goals.  You have the ideas, the creativity and the talent to be successful.  You can overcome every obstacle!  You’ve been armed with strength for every battle; the forces that are with you are greater than the forces that are against you and you are thoroughly equipped!

Based on a quote from Matthew chapter 6, the Lyrics of one of my favorite songs goes, “Tweet tweet tweet way up high in the sky fly the little birds, without a care in the world, and how much more does the Father provide for the ones He loves?”

God does care about even the tiniest creatures, as tiny as a common house sparrow like the one that Aleisa nurtured as once a tiny featherless bird, who was named Ava and cared for & loved for 9 years…

Speaking of such care, the book of Matthew, chapter 25 says, “His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant!  You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things.  Come and share your Master’s happiness.’

God saw Aleisa’s gentle and loving ways. He saw William’s strength and willingness to follow His plan. He carefully and purposely chose them to be Nora’s Mom and Dad. He knew they would accept this calling on their lives with love and understanding, even though they knew how difficult it would be.

I quote Aleisa as she has said without hesitation, “If we were asked to carry, care for and love a very special baby,,,but then we’d have to give her back after 2 years,,,we’d still do it.”

The amount of time spent on this earth matters very little. A man can live 90 years and never find God, know Him or accomplish His plan. Someone like Nora, on the other hand, only living on this earth for 2 years, has taught thousands of people the meaning of love, she brings people to the Lord and teaches us the fragile nature of life. That little girl loved her life! She loved her Mom and Dad, her brother Gavin and her sister Greta, her Kelly.  She loved her baffs and her milkies she loved to squeal it out and let everyone know just how happy she was to be alive! She had such a strong and distinct personality…When you focus on all that somebody IS rather than what somebody ISN’T, beautiful things happen.

I was reading back in Aleisa’s blog. Pregnancy day 42, it says: “Dear Nora, As I write to you I’m resting in my bed reveling in your spritely flutters and wiggles.  I think of your sweetest little cheeks, your tiny button nose and your beautiful little eyes. Those beautiful little eyes that I dream will one day soon look up at your Mommy and Daddy expecting nothing but love.  We have an over abundance of love for you, sweet Nora, if only that were enough.”

But don’t we all see it now?! Love was enough! Love is enough! Love will always be enough!

NOT ONE of us in here can say that our lives aren’t better from having Nora in it.  How can anyone doubt God’s words to our little modern day Jeremiah, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations”.    Can you imagine her welcome into heaven?!  I can hear the shouts of glory and victory: “Nora!  You did it!  You did it”!

Nora couldn’t have fulfilled the calling of her life without her parents love and stewardship.  Without her parent’s unwavering faith in God’s plan.

Her little life’s works will continue to go on in so many ways. As I stood in the hospital room with them after Nora had passed away, William came back with the news that Nora was eligible to donate cartilage. I quickly prayed for the Holy Spirit to lead them to the right decision. Aleisa was very truthful in her words, “You know, people are always like, yeah yeah, organ donation….but when the decision comes down to your own child?!”

Seconds of silence went by, “This isn’t Nora anymore,” she said, “If we can help other children by donating her cartilage, I say we do it”. William quickly agreed and the decision was made. How bold. How selfless. How giving. What Love.

I know I speak for every person in this room when I say, thank you Nora, thank you Aleisa, thank you William.

Now let us today, not only honor the life of our precious angel Nora Rose who will be so painfully missed, but let us also honor the birthday of Aleisa, whose own birth and life allowed, embraced and cherished Nora’s beautiful life.

How lucky we are to have had something that makes saying goodbye so hard.

Thank you.

16 thoughts on “Sarah’s Tribute

  1. With tears streaming down my face, but a huge smile…because I adore the light from such a beautiful friend. Be Still has been a part of my life as long as I can remember, so much so, it is tattooed on my side. It’s my constant reminder to slow down and trust. I’m not sure I could ever be so strong, but I do know I’m blessed to know you and your faith keeps me focused. Much love and momma hugs.

  2. My deepest condolences for your loss! Nora has been an inspiration to me and a lot of people. May God receives her into his Kingdom and may God bless you for being wonderful parents and give you more strength to deal with this tremendous loss!

  3. I’ve followed your story from pregnancy on and have always read every blog post but never offered any words. I am blessed to have been able to know Nora’s story through you. I mourn the loss of her on this earth with you and your family. What an amazing journey her two years were! Love and prayers to you all.

  4. Yusko family, what a precious gift Nora is, and how blessed you are to be chosen by God as her family! I’ve been a silent follower (from Ukraine) since a few days after Nora was born, and have been so blessed and encouraged by Nora and your family. I’m not one to comment much on things online, and have simply followed your blog from a distance for 2 years. A few moments ago, I was reading an online discussion on abortion and came across a person challenging people to consider the babies that will never live a normal life. In their words, “Would you selfishly force the child to live a long life of pain and suffering to some birth defects or would you mercifully allow the child to suffer a short (still painful) death and mercifully allow the parents to try again for a normal, healthy baby?” The fiery emotions that welled up inside me caused me to do something I rarely do – write a reply. My emotions centered on one thing – “What about Nora?” It is simply unfathomable for me to consider a world that would have never had the joy of having Nora’s presence here. It is even more unfathomable for me to consider that anyone could dare say it would have been merciful to deny her the joy she had living in this world. My response was to challenge this person to look at this blog and then try to proclaim that Nora should not have lived. To read and understand the “suffering” she had in this life, and see her smiles and hear her squeals, and try to claim that she did not thrive on life and love! When Nora caused such an immediate, fiery rise of emotions in me, I knew it was time to make a comment here on your blog. Nora and your family have had a lasting impact on me, and I doubt this will be the only time Nora jumps to mind as an example of joy, love, and life personified. Thank you for choosing to allow God to accomplish His will in Nora’s life, thank you for so generously sharing her life on earth with the world, and thank you in advance for any continuing sharing of your family’s journey that you choose to give. I cannot begin to imagine the pain your hearts are experiencing right now, and you all are in my prayers, that the God of all comfort would daily, moment-by-moment, tangibly and tenderly wrap you tightly in His loving arms.

  5. Beautiful words! Your family is so special!!! Thank you for sharing this! I wish I could have been there. I am sure I speak for so many in saying that. Nora has truly touched SO many lives through her precious life. And you all have as well. Much love today. Continued prayers!!

  6. So beautiful. My favorite…”How lucky are we to have had something that makes saying goodbye so hard”.

    How lucky are we because we know you can see Nora again. I may not attend the same church as you. But I believe in Jesus Christ, just as you.
    “He lives. And because He lives we all will live again. Because of Him.”
    I watch this video often to remind me:

    Thank you for sharing your faith and deepening my own.

    In my faith, I know that Families are Forever. Your family will be reunited. You will forever be Nora’s mommy. Someone lovingly made a comment on the Fb page that our children are not ours, but borrowed from God. I kindly disagree. But families are a part of God’s Plan. Our families here on Earth are a part of our heaven. I know I wouldn’t want it any other way.
    I love your family. You all are in my prayers as Nora will always be in my heart.

    I hope one day I will get the chance to know your Nora.. 🙂

  7. What a honor it has been to join your family on this amazing journey, Your precious Nora Rose oh my word…… will be so terribly missed.
    What a beautiful testimony your whole family is, Nora Rose was so loved, she was so nurtured and embraced by you all………what joy your whole family brings to this world, what a example you all are…….I am so proud to stand with you for how ever long you need us……….xxxx

  8. Beautiful words from a beautiful person! God is all knowing, and there is comfort in His plans and His ways. His perspective is a beautiful one, and I’m proud of all of you for accepting Gods ways in this situation. Nora was given such a sweet Honorable life. A witness that will last ages. Generations changed.

  9. What a wonderful tribute to you and Little Nora Rose. I have followed your story and laughed, cried,and held my breath until the next blog. Prayers were all that I could do for you and your family. I feel the pain and the strength that you have to keep going. Although, I’ve never met you I feel as part of the family (I know that we are family in God). I am the mother of three and grandmother of 11. I know how scary it is to find out that your child has a health defect. Our last little grandson was born with 3/4 of a heart and has gone thru 1 surgery and faces 2 more. We found out about it when his mother went in to learn the gender. It was all smiles and laughter (10 boys and 1 girl) until the dr. came back and told us the news of what he had and will go thru in life. He is our miracle child at 2 1/2 months old. Watching you and Nora love, laugh and strive has shown the world that there are no mistakes when it comes to giving birth and loving what God has placed in your care. I thank you for the beautiful writings and moments that you shared with us, just strangers. Nora gave us a heart that we sometimes forget we have for others. You gave us insight on God’s love for us…..once again thank you for sharing.

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