Even in death, life goes on

Certain is it that there is no kind of affection so purely angelic as of a father to a daughter. In love to our wives there is desire; to our sons, ambition; but to our daughters there is something which there are no words to express. ~Joseph Addison

I am perhaps lucky to have been quickly disadvantaged of any ambition with regards to my son. But this quote rings very true to me all the same, especially regarding a father’s love for his daughter.

It has been almost a week since Emma died. Everything has been so hard since. How does a little girl just forget to keep breathing?? It just breaks my heart so much when I think about it.

Our family has been lucky to have a lot of support in the past week however:

  • My wife’s dearest friend and her husband jumped to our aid from the first day and were invaluable. They helped make arrangements for us at the chapel where we held our memorial service while we were taking care of matters in Jacksonville, where Emma died. They babysat Ian for us when it was so hard just to drive from point A to point B without breaking down in tears. They helped take our mind off of trivial matters wherever possible, and even lent us clothes to wear as our stay became extended. (In my case, I flew down still wearing my uniform).
  • I received many condolences from my friends in the KDE project and condolences from people who didn’t know me at all but had found out about my plight. My wife and I were both deeply moved and we can’t say thank you enough.
  • Although I was away from my command, the Naval bases at Mayport and Kings Bay, and their subordinate commands provided invaluable assistance to aid me in taking care of affairs.
  • My former Commanding Officer and his wife opened their home to us and Ian at several points during the week, including one night when they were also trying to host their own visiting family.
  • Although I had been transferred away already, my shipmates from the submarine I served on (both currently assigned and transferred off but in the area) were there for me and my family. I know that even if I never step foot on a boat again, I’ll never have a better group of friends and mentors than I had on USS Maryland (Blue).
  • I can’t thank the members of my current division enough. When I was called at work I left in a hurry, knowing that the men in my division would take care of the notifications and paperwork. They made sure my house was looked after, that our pets were taken care of, and that my bosses were kept informed of what was going on so that I could focus my complete attention on my family, and myself.
  • Our family even had a visit from a teacher from the high school that my wife and I attended, who had pooled donations amongst the faculty there.
  • The funeral home where we organized matters were friendly and helpful to a fault, and were the only ones who finally allowed me to see my daughter (I found out she died on the phone, the last time I saw her was through the window of my wife’s car as they were heading out of town…)
  • I received many calls of support from both the family on my and my wife’s side, many of whom found a way to attend the memorial service for Emma even though it was organized and held on short notice. Those who couldn’t attend made sure to keep calling throughout the week to make sure we were receiving any help we needed.

I just wanted to say thanks for all of the support. I’ve been spending my time trying to celebrate and remember my daughter as best I know how. It’s hard when the simplest routines become the hardest, or when things that ordinarily wouldn’t merit a passing glance become potent reminders of the daughter I once held in my arms. Tasks once performed without a second thought seem so unimportant now, and other things are thrice as important as before.

Portrait of Emma prone, holding her head up
Emma Hope Pyne, Apr. 2, 2009 – Aug. 25, 2009

34 thoughts on “Even in death, life goes on

  1. Bugsbane Identicon Bugsbane

    She’s beautiful. You both deserve to be very proud, always.
    “The flame that burns half as long, burns twice as bright.”

    Take good care of yourselves and each other. *hugs*

  2. nixternal Identicon nixternal

    God bless shipmate. I know it is hard, just know that myself and the rest of the KDE community are here for you and your family. I have a almost teenage daughter (next month) that I am separated from and it is very hard, but not nearly as hard as what you and your family have gone through and will continue to go through. She was a very beautiful girl. Let us not forget, but always remember. My heart and prayers are with you and your family Michael, and if there is anything myself or other members can do to help, please do not hesitate to ask.

  3. atomopawn Identicon atomopawn

    My son was born just a few weeks ago and already I know how hard it would be to lose him. I know there’s nothing I can say that would help, but I’ll be praying for you and your family.

    Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven.

  4. atomopawn Identicon atomopawn

    Hey Michael,

    I can’t imagine the pain you and your family are going through, but I know it must be hard. I will be keeping you all in my prayers.

    “Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven.”

  5. Zeke Identicon Zeke

    My condolences to you and your family too. You’re daughter was very beautiful. I wish you the best in your time of memorial and everything else to come. If there is anything you need or talk to don’t hesitate to reach me. My thoughts and heart is out to you Michael.

  6. Wesley Identicon Wesley

    Hi. My condolences to you and your family from me as well. I don’t know you personally, but this deeply touches me. I can’t imagine what you must be going through.. Please take care.

  7. annma Identicon annma

    There are no words to write for you except that we think about you. Why such a beautiful baby should go is beyond us all.

  8. Diederik van der Boor Identicon Diederik van der Boor

    My condolences to you, and your family from me as well. This story touches me deeply that it’s beyond words. I wish you love to help you through these times.

  9. mat Identicon mat

    I don’t know you personally, but as a father of a five-month-old, I know the love and tenderness, a father feels towards his little treasure. It must be so hard und cruel to lose it … You are in my prayers. Good to know, that your little beauty is in the loving arms of God.

  10. Nuno Pinheiro Identicon Nuno Pinheiro

    My Condolences, I can only imagine the feeling of loosing something as precious. And wishing you all the strength in the world that you and your family need.

  11. blauzahl Identicon blauzahl

    It can’t be easy. I think of you telling irc how you were coding while bouncing the two kids on your lap. Or you vanishing to do something kid-related. Or other things — it’s obvious both you and your wife loved your daughter. I guess death is never easy. Later that day I found out that my grandmother had just died. She left behind quite a rich legacy. Is it worse, I wonder, when your baby dies? Who never had a chance to do very much? Certainly not to fulfill many of your hopes and dreams for her future… I’m sure you will treasure your memories of her. And that she was a sparkling source of sunshine in your life and leaves behind quite a void — neither of which will be forgotten.

    I’m sure that I don’t speak for just myself when I say that I wish we could help you somehow. Flowers don’t seem enough. So I’m glad that you have people there to help you out. You continue to be in our thoughts and prayers in this difficult time.

  12. Michael Identicon Michael

    I can’t help – but may be your daughter. I am a father of a 2 year daughter and feel as I assume you do. But I was only fokussed to work. I have not had wet eys for 2 years. Reading this was like a mirror an it was as if some one told me that I do wrong – that I may loose the most important person in my live. Thank you, may I say Emma?

    I do not expect an answer, I am not a junk who play with someones tears. My life did chance and something tells me that it is good.


    (father of Ella *2. Nov. 2007)

  13. Michele Mocciola Identicon Michele Mocciola

    I am the father of a 2-years son and I simply want to express my closeness to you and your family in this fearsome moment.

  14. Jon Identicon Jon

    We don’t know each other, but I just wanted to express my condolences for your loss. Your daughter was such a beautiful little girl, and, for what little it’s worth, my thoughts are with you and your family.

  15. blauzahl Identicon blauzahl

    And hey, give my regards and condolences to your wife in particular. None of us in KDE-land have met Mary (yet!), but I’m sure it isn’t any easier on her.

  16. Christian Identicon Christian

    As a father of a seven-month-old girl, I’m deeply touched by your loose. My prayers are with you and your wife. May Emma’s beautiful middle-name (Hope) become real in your life.

    (Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies.” John 11:25)

  17. taj Identicon taj

    The rest of us can only begin to imagine what you and your family are going through right now, but hopefully the happy memories of your criminally short time with your lovely daughter will help you through this. My deepest condolences.

  18. C. Identicon C.

    After reading this post I went to our bedroom and sat besides my sleeping son, tears running down my face. I feel with you and am deeply sorry for your loss.


  19. hron84 Identicon hron84

    Please accept my honest condolences. I wish you a lot of strength to survive these times. I remembered to the post what you written when she bornt, and i surprised when i read an announce of KDE 4.3.1 (sorry, i don’t follow your blog permanently). This is a very-very bad thing… :-(

  20. Abhay Identicon Abhay

    I want to express my sincere condolences for your loss. Praying to god that he gives you and your family the strength to endure this tragedy.

  21. hi1971 Identicon hi1971

    My english is poor…enough to read and clearly understand,
    but very hard to find the right words with tears in my eyes.

    (father of two girls and two boys)

  22. xyz Identicon xyz

    I’m so scarred about my girl (preterm birth) that I use breath monitor when she sleeps.

    Deep condolences :(

  23. Just a guy from the Net Identicon Just a guy from the Net

    I send you my deepest condolences and support, too.

    I wish you courage and strenght to lead your family onwards.

    (A father and a former military officer)

  24. Brad Mccormack Identicon Brad Mccormack

    I cannot begin to imagine your pain. My deepest condolences.
    I wish you all the strength to get through this.

    (Father of 2 girls)

  25. Quazi Saad Identicon Quazi Saad

    I am a father and I have a daughter. I can understand your pain. Yes, so true, father-daughter relationship. I just don’t have the courage to say any comforting words to you and your family. But Emma is beautiful. And I truly believe that She will never be “was”. She IS/WILL BE always your daughter.

  26. Dusty Identicon Dusty

    I’m so sorry to know of your loss, I recently lost a friend (2 days ago) and I’m so depressed, I can’t imagine what would be losing a daughter :-(

    But while nobody still knows what happened to my friend (lost in the sea while gone fishing) I can tell you something about the way Emma died: it looks like a recurring thing related to vaccinations.

    I don’t know if you recently (some months) vaccinated her but since I’ve studied correlated things for a number of years now I suggest you to do the same to understand more.
    You can start with some documentaries like “Vaccine Nation” by Gary Null (phd).

    My deepest condolences, Alex

  27. Eloy Cuadra Identicon Eloy Cuadra

    My condolences, Michael. It’s a terrible loss. But now you have to remember, as you said, that life goes on.

  28. Philipp Identicon Philipp

    @Dusty: don’t do this.

    Dear Michael, I’m deeply sorry and touched by your loss and by what your family has to go through. I wish you and your family that some day you’ll come to terms with what happened.

  29. Christine Identicon Christine

    I’m so sorry for what you and your family have had to endure. Emma is so beautiful. My son also died as a baby and it has been a torturous year since then. There are no answers, at least not for us in this life. Please please find some professional support. I’m sure Emma (who is still with you) wants to make sure that you and your family are ok. Much love to you all.

  30. Federico Mena Quintero Identicon Federico Mena Quintero

    I am speechless and tear-eyed. Just caught note of this as I hadn’t seen Planet KDE for a while. Hugs to your family and to little Emma, wherever she is.

    When my daughter was that young, my wife and I lived in constant terror at night. “Is she okay?” Then you’d hear her snore lightly. “Oh, she’s okay.” I can’t imagine the horror of that not happening.

  31. Nicolas Identicon Nicolas

    I just found about this in KDE 4.3.1 announcement (which was dedicated to Emma). My condolences to you and your family… :(

    But my curiosity doesn’t resist asking: what happened to her?

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