Monday, 3 February 2014

"Calling all angels" - Launceston East Ward remembers Maria Isabelle Badana

Norbert and Marnie Badana from Launceston East Ward experienced one of life’s biggest joys, with the birth of their beautiful daughter Maria Isabelle. When Isabelle was just three months old, they experienced one of life’s greatest trials and heartbreak, when their beautiful baby girl passed away in hospital, as they held her in their arms on the 24th January, 2014.

Norbert and Marnie have many friends in and outside of the church, but knew that having their family here would be the biggest blessing at such a hard time in their lives. Getting a visa to come to Australia from the Philippines can take months, but a tender mercy took place which allowed Norbert’s two brothers Maynard and Eric, and Eric’s wife Rochelle to get their visas within a couple of days, and to arrive the day before the funeral.

Maria Isabelle’s funeral was held on Monday the 3rd February at the Launceston chapel, and Norbert and Marnie were surrounded by family and friends as they remembered their beautiful girl. There were many tears, but the spirit was strong as we listened to the Primary choir sing A Child’s Prayer and I Lived in Heaven. The congregation was asked to wear white tops and it looked beautiful as we all sat together in our white, as we showed our love and support to Marnie and Norbert.

Sister Tania Honey spoke and shared her thoughts about Maria Isabelle, and how she had held her just weeks before she passed away and she felt that she was "perfect". Sister Lisa King spoke and shared her experiences and said that she knew how much their hearts were breaking and said they will forever miss their beautiful daughter until they are with her again, but their hearts can also be comforted and miracles can happen in their lives because of the atonement of our Saviour Jesus Christ.

Norbert spoke and shared his love for his daughter and also his beautiful wife Marnie. He said that "the best thing I can do for my baby girl, is to love her mother until...forever." Marnie sang a beautiful song for her little girl and tears flowed as we felt of the love that both Norbert and Marnie have for each other, and their daughter.

Bishop Corey Bailey and President Lionel Walters concluded the funeral and shared some tender mercies that Norbert and Marnie had been blessed with, and how they had been prepared in small ways. For example, Norbert had been assigned to speak in Sacrament meeting a week before their little one passed away on the topic of "finding joy in life." During the week, he and Marnie had studied a talk by Elder Richard G. Scott which describes how "sadness, disappointment and severe challenge are events in life, not life itself." They counted this speaking assignment and the opportunity to study this talk as a tender mercy from a loving Heavenly Father.

At the graveside beautiful white balloons with messages on butterflies attached to them were released as we said a final farewell to "baby Isabelle".

We know that Norbert and Marnie will be with their beautiful daughter again, but we also know how hard it will be for them to live without their daughter Isabelle. We hope that our love and prayers will give them both the strength they need over the coming weeks, months and years ahead as they grieve for the loss of their daughter.

We hope and pray that they feel the comfort of the Holy Ghost and the miracle of our Saviour’s atonement in their lives, and that they may witness many miracles and tender mercies in their lives, until they are together again.

Written by Lisa King, Launceston East Ward.