Saturday, June 9, 2012


On Tuesday morning this earth lost one of it's most precious gems. And today I attended an amazing funeral for that beautiful girl, my sweet cousin JaKelle Westergard. That use of the word ‘beautiful’ is as sincere as can be. Beautiful inside and out. Anyone who has ever met JaKelle would agree with me in saying that she is like a dancing mixture of smiles, sunshine and Taylor Swift songs :)

There were hundreds of people at the funeral today. The church was packed to the very brim. And it was not a surprise at all. JaKelle and the Westergard family are so so loved. For as long as I can remember I have admired this family. And I still do. Such genuinely good people, with good hearts and just love each other so much. Being able to be in the room with the family as they offered up a family prayer and said their goodbyes before closing JaKelle's casket for the last time is an experience I will never forget. So much unconditional love. I look up to them and hope to raise my family to be that same way.

Just three months ago JaKelle was living her happy teenage life. Right after spring break she got sick and was admitted into the hospital with pneumonia. After a week and a half she took a really bad turn. I worried and hoped and prayed along with countless others. Getting family text updates....and always hoping it was going to be good news. Numerous surgeries and twelve weeks later her body was done and she was called back up to Heaven.

It's hard to understand how something like this could happen to such a sweet and healthy girl in a family of good people. It's hard and incredibly emotional and without a knowledge and belief that there is so much more after this life it would be impossible.

JaKelle and her family and her friends have inspired me in a lot of ways. And strengthened my beliefs...

I believe in God. I believe in prayer. That prayer has power. I believe in the light of Christ. I believe that some people carry it around with them and pass it onto others maybe without even knowing it. I believe in beauty. And I believe that beauty comes from within and shines outwardly. I believe that families can be together for all eternity. I believe that people are in your life for a reason. I believe that there is a plan for us. I believe that Jakelle had a mission on this earth and has a mission in heaven that she has served and will serve faithfully and perfectly. I believe that the effects of Jakelle’s death and the example of Jakelle’s life will reach farther than any one of us can comprehend. I am thankful for JaKelle. And I love her.

Jakelle's cute friends made multiple tribute videos. This is just one that shows how much she is loved. 

{Earlier this week I saw some traffic coming to my blog from a site I didn't recognize. I found that it was JaKelle's blog. She hasn't posted for almost a year. But just from her blog page you can tell a lot about her. Her main picture is of her family and the first three things on her sidebar: Smile, Dance, and (most importantly) Families are Forever. She knew what was important in life at just 17. She will be so missed}


  1. So nice to read your grateful to have shared the experience..luv you mom

  2. Beautiful post Melissa! So very true. Thanks for sharing.

  3. It was an amazingly emotional spiritual day. Thanks so much for all you guys did to help us. Thanks for your love and support! We loved the final balloon send off and bracelets! Please tell you mom and sisters thanks also!


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