Lillian Grace Ludwig
October 4, 2008 – January 14, 2009

A Tribute to my daughter Lillian Grace Ludwig
10/04/2008 (10:27 am CST) – 01/14/2009 (8:41 pm CST)

I tend to keep my private life private as it relates to Dark Sword – hence no birth announcement or pictures of our Little Lillian on our site when she came into this world. I will share updates on movies, books, TV series, artists, painting DVDs, other cool minis, etc. in my email updates, but I tend to keep my family outside of the Dark Sword news and information unless it is a tribute miniature or something along those lines. But this is a story that needs to be shared with all of my Dark Sword customers and fellow miniature enthusiasts to cherish every day with your loved ones and to truly live in the moment. Our time with Lillian was only 103 days, but they were indeed the best days (and the most painful at the end) of my life so far. So read on and get to know our little Angel.


This text is from the email I sent off to friends and family the night we came home from the hospital (at about 1:30 am CST):

Lillian Grace Ludwig (our daughter) left this world holding the hand of God at 8:41 PM CST last night – 01/14/2008. She peacefully died in our arms as we talked to her telling her how much we love her and how amazing our exactly 100 days to almost the minute were before she had her incident at Daycare on Monday where she stopped breathing while sleeping.

 

She then held on for 3 long days as a last gift to us so we could say our good-byes and let our friends/family say their good-byes She was such a little trooper trying to breathe on her own and fight through this. She just could not breath enough to sustain herself on her own after the brain damage. There were glimmers of hope here and there, but the damage to her brain was so devastating from the initial daycare incident, all of her upper brain functions were gone.

 

Melissa and I will never be the same as sharing our brief time with Lillian has changed us forever. They were the 100 most amazing days of our lives and also the most devastating at the end. Please see the attached pics we took the night before the incident (The Geek Shirt pic was from approx 2 months old and not really funny at all). She was so happy and so talkative. She just the same the morning we took her to daycare. We have no answers yet except some sort of SIDS-type attack that happened at Daycare.

 

It is so tough to type through the tears but I wanted to get something to everyone so you can all feel the calming peace that Melissa and I felt as we spent our last two hours with her alone reading her stories, giving her the full-body massage that she loves so much (feet especially) and just telling her how much we love her and how many people are praying for her. Looking across the bed at my wife lovingly rubbing lotion on our little baby girl was one of the most touching and beautiful things I have ever witnessed in my life as we were so peaceful with her in those final hours. We then sat down with her and held her so tight and told her once again how much we will miss her and how heartbroken we are that this tragic event occurred. Lillian has donated her heart valves and possibly her corneas to help other babies in need. Her final act of love will be helping out another family so their little child can hopefully pull through a terrible situation and live a happy & full life. Lillian is now looking down upon us all from heaven and she is filled with all of our love and the love of God. She is at peace and she is waiting for Melissa and I to join her when our time comes to be called home.

The pictures below take you from moments after her birth to the very night before the incident at daycare where she stopped breathing. There is also one picture that was taken at the hospital on her last day with us.


The first offical pic of Lillian taken 2-3 minutes after she was born.

We were amazed at how alert she was within 90 minutes of being born.

Her first little smile for us about 7 days after she was born.

I love her static mohawk in this pic.

Her first bath (afterwards).

In our backyard after her first walk with us on the Elm Creek Park Reserve ( a glorious 5,500 acre nature park that our house backs up to).

Ah, the rage of being in a silly costume on her first Halloween.

Her first ever pro photo-shoot.

Her classic look. She loved to just look at us like this.

I love the silly look of joy on her face here with her mother.

Such a little angel all dressed up…

One of our Miniature Schnauzers named Savannah giving Lillian a kiss

It’s a party for Lillian and Savannah.

Lillian with my God Son Gabe. He is right around 8 months old when this was taken at Thanksgiving 2008.

This look is so Lillian. She was getting a bath (which she so loved) and just looked up at me. Classic Lillian here folks.

At her Baptism on December 14, 2008.

At her Baptism party on December 14, 2008.

Her Baptism outfit. She was buried with this outfit as she was so innocent in it.

The look of “what the heck do you think you’re doing taking pics of me like this?”

My little sister Julia gave Lillian this outfit. It is one of my favorites and it is true I must admit.

Lillian at Christmas 2008 with her favorite stuffed animal sitting on her grandmother’s lap.

Lillian before one of her twice a day lotion sessions for her dry skin. She loved to get lotioned up (her feet big time) and would protest when it was time to put the clothes back on.

Classic Lillian look from her little excersise area.

Did I mention how much she loves to get her feet lotioned up?

Lillian before her first day of Daycare. This was taken around 7am on Monday January 5th 2009.

Lillian before her first day of Daycare. This was taken around 7am on Monday January 5th 2009. Those big eyes would have been deadly weapons when she got older I think.

Lillian before her first day of Daycare. All strapped into her car seat insert and ready to rock n’ roll. This was taken around 7am on Monday January 5th 2009. Abigayle (our other miniature Schnauzer) looks on all scruffy.

I love this look on her face like “what the heck are we doing now?”

The first of a series of pictures taken on January 11th 2009 around 7:30 pm CST. This is her last night with us before her incident at daycare. She is being the fun loving baby girl we raised and is 99 days old at this point. We were playing a new game we invented called “Rocket Baby” where I would lift her up after a 3-2-1 countdown and then have her descend back to earth (with full sound effects which she loved) and then cheer her for such a successful mission. She would of course land by trying to stand on her own with a little help from me (which you can see in some of the other pics).

Smallville Season 3 on DVD (paused as one needs full attention for Rocket Baby Missions) is on the TV in the background. We were watching the last episodes of Season 3 that night. Great series by the way.

This is the image of Lillian “The Rocket Baby” which makes me smile the biggest and of course cry the hardest as she is so happy and full of life. If there was one picture or image of Lillian that summed her all up – this is it. We were all so happy and felt so blessed as we went to bed that night after many missions of “Rocket Baby” that day. Of course the next morning, our world would turn upside down after a call from the Police informing us that she stopped breathing at daycare and was being rushed to the hospital.


This image was taken at the hospital on January 14th 2009 from an organization called “Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep” which is made up of professional photographers that donate their time and skills with little to no notice to take very tasteful pictures, free of charge. For families overcome by grief and pain, the idea of photographing their baby may not immediately occur to them. Offering gentle and beautiful photography services in a compassionate and sensitive manner is the heart of this organization. The soft, gentle heirloom photographs of these beautiful babies are an important part of the healing process. They allow families to honor and cherish their babies, and share the spirits of their lives.

Marnie Fiedler was the lady that took this picture and some others on Lillian’s final day with us on this earth . I donated to this great cause to support it and to help families in our situation that do not have the money to pay for a service like this. What a great organization and great people…

The following was sent to us from a person who we shared our loss of Lillian with. It is quite beautiful and really sums up how Melissa and I feel about Lillian’s early passing when we are not crying about her loss to us and the things we will never be able to watch her do as she grew up into a young lady:

“Precious is life. Life may be long or short. When a baby is taken and sadness and grief overwhelm think of that life. A babies life is love, attention, touch and love returned. They are joy, they are the basic needs of food and water and shelter and faith and love. This is what they know. This is ONLY what they learn. They never learn of the pain, the heartache, the destruction or wars in this world. They never see the pain of person hurting a person or a person hurting animals. They do not know the fight for survival nor the death of anything. They live for a short brief time in the light of this world and they take that with them when they leave.

Sometimes a life ends and time runs out and so the soul is sent back to finish some unknown task. A babies short life may be just what is needed to fulfill that last act.
Take heart that such lives become the cherubim spoken of in song and story and depicted in paintings. She is now a little angel up there that is watching over the family and she takes great comfort in that.

Your beautiful little girl awaits you and she will be there for you and she will whisper in the ear of the all powerful for you and she will love you in the purest form forever. You were her parents. You showed her the best of the human spirit. How could she not?”

Links to other places where people from all over the world have been touched by Lillian’s life:

George R.R. Martin’s Web site – George posted up a couple notices on his BLOG for his readers to pray for Lillian when she went into the hospital.
Notice 1 – Lillian is in the hospital
Notice 2 – Lillian passed away

The Miniatures Page – Susan Wachowski sent Bill an update on Lillian, so I forwarded the email I sent off to family members and co-workers to Bill with the pictures to post up.
Notice 1
Notice 2

There are others I will post up as well when I have more energy to do so. Susan Wachowski really got the word out there for people’s prayers.

A message I put into the photo slideshow at Lillian’s Wake – it applies here as well
We would like to thank everyone from the bottom of our hearts for all of their support and prayers as God called Lillian home.

It only hurts as much as you love. And this is why we hurt so much and have cried more than a lifetime of tears in seven short days.

Our time with Lillian has been far too short, but we look forward to joining her when God calls us home.

Until that day comes…

Every time we see a bright star in the sky or an amazing sunrise, we will thank our daughter for checking in.
Every time we take in a beautiful landscape or bask in a brilliant sunset, we will know our daughter called in another favor and wanted to say hi.

Every time we will lay our heads down to sleep, we will think of our daughter and be thankful that God sent down an Angel to live amongst us if only for a very short time.

You have changed us forever and we pray that the joy of loving you will soften the pain of losing you in time.

Mommy and Daddy love you so very much Lillian.


Marike Reimer (one of our very talented staff painters) custom-made this one of a kind tribute miniature with the head of Melissa from our 5th Anniv set and the body from our Elmore Angel. She then did custom sculpting work on the hood, and parts of the cloak. The Lillian Angel is also custom-done (with extra hair too boot). It is a very touching tribute for me personally and is sitting proudly in my Dark Sword display case. I will be looking for Tom Meier to sculpt something very similar to this in 54mm scale sometime this year as an offical tribute piece. It has been discussed and we may even go larger than 54mm with it. Marike is a class act – no question about it. As you can see, this initial Marike pose worked its way into the Larry Elmore tribute artwork (and Tom Meier sculpt of that artwork) below.

Painted by Marike Reimer
Sculpted by Tom Meier (head), Jeff Grace (most of the body) and Marike Reimer (all the rest)

My Wish for You

I dreamt of the day
When you would ride bike and play.
I imagined teaching you to play piano and sing
Like an angel, so much joy you would bring.

To send you off to college, I long
I believe there is nothing you could do wrong.
I hope that you would have grown to be compassionate and kind,
I fear and delight at the thought that you would certainly have your own mind.

I am certain that being in nature would be one of your joys
But, I’m confident you would also be surrounded by boys.
I pictured helping you prepare for your wedding day,
And watching your Dad walk you down the aisle in his own way.

The world I wished for you to travel,
But instead I found my wishes unravel.
You are gone forever
My dear baby girl, forget you, I will never.

Just as I feel sorrow for the terrible cost, your life,
I realize that all is not lost.
For my greatest wishes for you
Are somehow different and new.

You enjoy a personal relationship with God,
For this, I must certainly give you a proud nod.
You can travel the world in an instant,
Any message that you hear can be sent.

I find peace, I must confess
That you suffer no pain or sadness.
The angels take care of you now,
Who better to teach you to sing, and cheer for you when you bow.

Above all, my dearest Lillian, I wish for you love,
You will always have mine and receive even more from God above.

Melissa Ludwig
02/14/2009

A Father’s Poem for his Daughter Lillian
Yes, I know I am not much of a poet. But it helps to write things like this for Lillian.

My little Lillian is looking down from the heavens.
This part of course we all know.
I held her in my arms on our last night together.
As we said our goodbyes and let go.

Into the Lord’s embrace she so peacefully went.
Leaving me to question and to mourn.
A part of my heart left me that night.
The part that she took when she was born.

Her sweet little smile is now in heaven.
Her pictures and memories will remain.
They remind me of such joy that she gave to this world.
And help me to deal with the pain.

It comes and it goes throughout each of my days.
As I of course struggle to cope.
I then call out to my daughter for strength through prayer.
And she gladly throws me a rope.

We will meet in good time she then tells me.
Daddy please do not cry.
I tell her I’m very sad and lonely.
Why did God have to let her die?

So young and so pure only three months of age.
Her whole life ahead yet to live.
She was our life and our purpose.
We had so much more to give.

But march to the last I most certainly will.
As now there is no fear of the end.
I will say my goodbyes and look to the skies.
As I finally round that last bend.

We will then be joined in a loving hug.
As I hold my baby Lillian so tight.
We will then settle down for some serious “Rocket Baby”.
And play our fun games all night.

By then I hope for some answers.
Of why so soon and in this way?
That our little daughter Lillian,
Was taken to heaven that Day.

I love you and miss you so much Lillian.

Jim Ludwig
01/20/2009


Larry Elmore was kind enough to do a piece of tribute artwork depicting Melissa holding Lillian. We then had Tom Meier sculpt up a 6 inch (150mm) statue of this.

Painted by Jen Haley
Sculpted by Tom Meier

Painted by Jen Haley
Sculpted by Tom Meier

Painted by Jen Haley
Sculpted by Tom Meier

Painted by Jen Haley
Sculpted by Tom Meier

Painted by Jessica Rich
Sculpted by Tom Meier

Painted by Jessica Rich
Sculpted by Tom Meier

Painted by Jessica Rich
Sculpted by Tom Meier

The original Tom Meier sculpt. This is 6 inches (150mm) tall and was cast in white resin for family and friends.

Jeff Easley was also kind enough to create a piece of tribute artwork for our family. This one as you can see is Lillian as an angel. I will be having Tom Meier sculpt this up in the near future as well.