The Cemetery

On June 5th, a beautiful sunny day, we set out to pick out a final resting spot for our sweet Lady Baby. We were already very familiar with Highland Cemetery, as that is where our little bird Ava is buried.

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She is buried in the pet section and I can say with ABSOLUTE CERTAINTY that Ava is the only house sparrow buried there.

We pulled up to a part of the cemetery that we had passed many times before and had even walked through on occasion. Before my eyes even scanned the area, I was drawn to one particular headstone. It wasn’t anything ostentatious or showy. It was classically simple and blended well with the surrounding markers. But something about it couldn’t have DEMANDED my attention more if it had flashing neon signs and sirens on it. Our Kelly even said the name out loud, “Nunery!” The gears in my head began turning and I suddenly made the connection. I pursed my lips together, unbuckled my seatbelt and thought to myself, “No way.” Closer, with the fine print now visible. Yes way, “Allison Brooke.”

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Once I caught my breath and picked my jaw up off this sacred ground I snapped the above picture — my flustered thumb in the way and everything. Perhaps you remember this beautiful love story that was featured in just about every news media outlet around the world. {Yes, please take a minute to click on the above hyperlink}. The exquisitely beautiful Ali Nunery, who is now famous largely in part because of her sister Melanie’s incredible photo shoot and blog!! She was RIGHT THERE before my very eyes!! Even if I had only just seen this story on the news and that was the ONLY connection I had, I would have been star struck. But the connection stretches down to a much, much deeper level.

Back when I was pregnant with Nora, we were told we might not have long with her. There was a big chance she might not survive delivery, if she even made it through the rest of the pregnancy. We wanted to optimize every possible second with our baby, which is where Melanie comes in. Melanie had gone to high school with my youngest sister Emily which is how she heard about our story. On February 6, 2012 Melanie sent me an email. She was no stranger to grief having just lost her sister Ali 3 months prior to writing to me. In Melanie’s words, “People have continuously told me that through my blogging (I’ve continued to blog since she’s passed) that I’m spreading her legacy and inspiring thousands. So I think sometimes, maybe that was our purpose. To grow up and play out God’s plan. And now hundreds are finding their way back to Him through hearing about the life she led. Did he put me here to do that?? Did he put YOU here to do the same?” (Chills) With this e-mail came the extremely generous offer to photograph Nora’s birth. I had already contacted another popular organization that specializes in these types of photos, and also had a couple of offers from other people. However, after seeing the images she shared of her friend Luci’s precious angels, there was absolutely no question. Just as I had expected Nora’s birth photos were out of this world. Melanie’s flawless ability to somehow capture EMOTION in her camera lens produces images that are so much more than “photographs”. She did it again with the images she shot of her niece and brother in law, reminiscent of his fairy tail wedding day with his stunning bride–the beautiful Ali Nunery who was sooooooo much more than just a pretty face.

Only a day before this unexplainable encounter in the cemetery William had called Melanie to ask her if she could take photos at Nora’s funeral service. Yes, maybe that sounds weird at first, but if you’ve seen the slideshow of the photos that she and Kate C. took – you will see just how PERFECT they are. If you haven’t: PLEASE DO!

Meanwhile, back in the cemetery I stood there staring at Ali’s headstone. “WHAT ARE THE ODDS????” I laugh-cried over and over as I tried to type a text to Melanie in warp speed.

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I have no idea what the actual odds are, but adding up the approximate acreage of seven major cemeteries in the Tri-State area, I’ve come up with about 1600 acres. Just in Highland Cemetery alone there are around 47,000 existing graves. The odds of us pulling up to Allison Brooke Nunery’s special plot of land is next to impossible – EVEN IF I KNEW SHE WAS BURIED SOMEWHERE IN THAT CEMETERY, WHICH I CAN ASSURE YOU I DID NOT!!!!! Ali is from Cincinnati. This is just across the Ohio River in Northern Kentucky! (???)

I can’t explain this. I have no idea what this all means other than God reminding me, reminding ALL OF US that He has every bit of this under control. From the HUGE God winks to the little whispery God winks: His ways are PERFECT.

Two of the many God Winks associated with Ali are the color PINK, and feathers. {!!! Hearts are typically pink / Three Birds have feathers !!!} By this point it should have come as no surprise to look down and see a perfectly placed feather there in the grass at the burial. I held it up crying and laughing at the same time.

When I start to feel myself getting really upset and sad I simply think about this incredible God Wink of Ali’s headstone. Nora and Ali’s final resting sites are practically right next to each other, or as Melanie put it, “Can I borrow a cup of sugar out the window close!” This is such a sweet soothing balm.

Soooo… Incase you were there at the burial or you were wondering what the significance of the NUNERY headstone is in the slideshow – that is it. An amazing, unexplainable, right there in your face, can’t even try to explain it GOD WINK.

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
(John 14:27)

8 thoughts on “The Cemetery

  1. I am SO grateful for all that you are sharing through this trial you are walking!!! I know it gives much comfort to all of us seeing the Lord truly carrying you. What a blessing! Continued prayers my friend!!! xoxo

  2. Thank you so much for sharing every part of Nora’s journey. I have never seen a greater example of faith and love then this. Your family is an inspiration. You make me want to be a better mother. I pray for you all everyday, this is an amazing love story.

  3. When I first learned that my baby would be born with trisomy 18, I searched for stories of hope, and I found your blog. Through my pregnancy, your story and new pictures of sweet Nora gave me hope. And it gave me comfort. Partly because of your blog, I was inspired to blog my sweet baby Elise’s journey into this world.

    Elise was born on April 19th, 2014 and died on April 23rd.

    Yesterday, while stepping outside for some fresh air, I saw a clover with only two leaves…it was a perfect heart. I immediately thought of you, and Nora in heaven. I meant to snap a picture to send you, but my children ran outside and I got distracted. When I looked for it today, it was gone.

    While sitting and grieving today, I was reminded of that heart. I suddenly realized that your sweet Nora is with my Elise in heaven. Maybe that heart was to remind me and comfort me. Or just from God to say, “I’m still here.”

    Many prayers for you and your family as you walk this path of grief.

  4. You can not possibly comprehend the inspiration you and your family are to so many people. Thank you thank you thank you. BTW, there is a picture from the funeral of you and your mom and the outline of you together forms a perfect heart!

  5. I read Melanie’s blog post about the funeral and watched her slideshow. So while I knew parts of this story for some reason it was not until this blog post that I made the connection that Ali, her husband and daughter were the family I had read about months ago online. The father daughter recreated wedding photos in their house story…It wasn’t until I clicked on the link (by your urging) that I made that realization! Can’t believe I didn’t get that before! Thank you so much for sharing this.

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