On October 5, 2019, our daughter, Bree Isabel Johnley, passed away and went to heaven at only 4 years old. It was a day that changed our lives forever. And during our first few months of mourning, we decided to turn our grief into good with the creation of “Bree’s Gift.”
Bree was born on May 26, 2015 at Mercy Hospital in St. Louis, MO, weighing 8 pounds and 10 ounces with dark hair and chubby cheeks. From that day forward, we took her everywhere with us, such as Saint Martin, Hilton Head Island, Lake Michigan, Big Cedar Lodge and many other places where we made wonderful memories together.
The older she got, the more her personality shined: a sassy, happy, helpful, hilarious and goofy little girl who made a lasting impression on everyone she met, including her little sisters. At the age of 3, she became a big sister, a role that came quite naturally to her. Bree would hold Olivia, play with her, and eventually became her best friend. And she extended this love and affection to her youngest sister Jessie once we welcomed her to the world.
Bree was so into her role of biggest sister that she would even offer helpful advice, like “when Jessie cries, you just have to talk to her.” Needless to say, Saturday (aka “Family Day”) was Bree’s favorite day of the week. But she looked forward to any time she spent with loved ones, whether it was date nights with Dad, grocery shopping and play dates with Momma (e.g., the Bounce House, the park, etc.), or other activities with her family, such as fishing, dove hunting, jeep and boat rides, and visits to Big Joel’s Safari, as well as the neighbor’s cows and pigs.
When you also consider the time she spent at preschool and her roles as Momma’s Helper and Daddy’s Sidekick, it’s clear to see that she was one busy little girl. We cherish every moment we had with her and can say without a doubt that becoming parents is the best thing we’ve ever done. That’s why we want to give others the opportunity to do the same.