She came into this world stamping her feet and screaming, but I know she left with a smile on her face. She loved to laugh, she loved to joke, and she loved playing pranks.
Some of you may be wondering why I dressed my daughter the way I have for this day. She had terrible fashion sense, and it was a running joke between us. “Oh, Noelle, what are you wearing?”
“What, there’s nothing wrong with this.” She would tell me.
When she was little, I dressed her in frilly dresses and put braids in her hair. By the time she hit 3rd grade, she put a stop to that nonsense. Her idea of dressing up was in her words, nice jeans and a nice t-shirt. I’ll admit, it was hard for me but I finally gave in and let her be her own person. Terrible clothes and all.
Noelle was an individual. She never cared what people thought about her. I wish I had more of that quality myself.
Some of the songs you will be hearing today may seem odd to you, but she loved all kinds of music.
When she wouldn’t go to sleep as a baby, I walked the floor with her singing, “Walking After Midnight”, she was my “Brown Eyed Girl”. When she was 3, she knew all the words to “Me and Bobby McGee”. She rode her stick horse all through the house in nothing but panties and a cowboy hat singing Kid Rocks, “Cowboy” and anytime Ricochet’s “Daddy’s Money” came on the radio, she said…”Mommy, this song is about me.”
There are so many things I could tell you about my daughter, so many memories I could share, but honestly, I don’t think I have the strength. I can’t talk to you today about her love of OU, but we all know she was a Sooner through and through.
Instead, I am going to thank you all for loving my baby. For bringing joy into her life.
Bryan, thank you for giving me this precious gift. Amber, you were as much of a mother to Noelle as I was. I couldn’t be happier with Bryan’s choice of wife. Thank you for being there for Noelle when I wasn’t.
Brett, thank you for coming into our lives and being a wonderful step-dad. Noelle was only 10 when we started dating and when I introduced you to her, you told me, “She looks just like you.” She loved to snuggle up to you on the couch and watch TV. Even though she was far from little, if she didn’t want to walk, she would ask you to carry her. You never told her no. Even as a freshman in high school, you carried her on our back from Owen Field Memorial Stadium to the parking lot after an OU game, which was according to you, damn near a mile.
When she got older, she stopped calling you Daddy, especially around her friends. Unless of course, she wanted something and then it was, “Daddy can I have….” Your answer was always, “Sure baby”.
I can’t tell you how many times I got on to you for spoiling her, but she loved to be spoiled, and I love you more than you will ever know for giving in to her every whim.
When I was pregnant with Noelle, I wrote letters to her. My intention was to give them to her on her wedding day.
Sis, you never got to read this, but today Mommy has a letter to share with you. I wrote it just before you turned one. I know you’re in heaven looking down on me now and you’re probably wishing I wasn’t being so sentimental because I know you don’t like the mushy stuff. Sorry about that girlfriend.
The time has flown by since you were born, and almost before I realized it, you are about to be on year old. It seems like just yesterday you were born! Mommy loves you so much! I don’t know how I made it all those years without you. Granted, sometimes you are more than I can handle, but my life would be so empty without you. Your sweet little face is so precious to me and every achievement you make amazes me.
I am looking forward to watching you grow into womanhood, but yet I’m sad at the thought of you growing independent of me.
You are a very stubborn child at this phase in your life. We joke to others that you make all the rules and we just tag along granting your every wish. You have your Daddy wrapped around your little finger and I think that even at this point you know it. Some people may call you spoiled rotten, but I like to think of it as being very loved!
You are already very independent, always wanting to do things by yourself. At 8 months you stopped eating baby food because you wanted to feed yourself. At 9 ½ months, you started walking because crawling just didn’t get you there fast enough. Now you are beginning to talk. Coming from your sweet little lips, Momma is the most beautiful word in the world. But along with all of this sweetness, there is mean streak in you. All said, you have a very well rounded personality.
And now you are waking from you nap and calling, “Ma”, so I will go for now.
Rest in peace, baby girl. I promise that your memory will live on. I always knew you would do great things and now that you are gone, I will do great things in your name. You will never be forgotten.
I would like to extend an invitation now to any of you who would like to speak on Noelle’s behalf. The only thing I would ask is that you not say that God took Noelle because he needed another angel, God didn’t do this.
Noelle was very proud of her Cherokee heritage. Although our family does not follow Cherokee traditions, she loved to learn about her people. At the time of her burial, a Cherokee elder gave a family member an Eagle feather wrapped with sage to place inside Noelle's casket with the following explanation:
Being given an eagle feather is considered a great honor and marks many important moments in life for young people. The gifting of an eagle feather by an elder or spiritual leader can confer honor and blessing on an individual. The gift of an eagle feather is a great honor. It is a mark of distinction, one that could indicate that a rite of passage has been earned. The eagle feather represents the norms, responsibilities, and behaviors that are all a part of the conditioning, learning, and commitment to a spirit. It is in this way that life is honored and becomes whole.
The eagle feather is also for protection. The eagle is very powerful medicine. Sage with the feather is for protection for Noelle and the family. They work with each other to keep evil and bad away. The eagle is held in high regard because it flies so high and can carry our prayers to the master of life. The feather will help her on her journey to the other side. The sage is for her protection on her journey.
Cherokee mourners were at her gravesite to sing "Amazing Grace". The video quality is not great, but you can watch it below. They did an excellent job singing her home.