Madeline Grace Fall was, and remains for all of us, a delightful little girl. She was filled with joy and brightness in spite of the many difficulties that surrounded her short life.
Maddie was born on January 11, 2004 with numerous health issues. Her left arm ended at the wrist, she was prone to seizures, and was later diagnosed with mitochondrial disease, a very rare disease that prevents cells from developing properly.
Madeline Grace was Baptized and Chrismated on Sunday, March 28, 2004. During her time with us on earth, Maddie was in the hospital more times than anyone can count. She suffered both from her disease, from illnesses, and once from a severe and painful medical mistake which almost took her life. Nevertheless, she came to church nearly every Sunday when able to, though she lived some 60 miles away.
A spiritual highlight for Maddie and her family was receiving a special blessing directly from Archbishop Job just before they flew to Atlanta for a battery of medical tests in December 2005.
Madeline Grace loved church, and though she uttered few words in her short life, she sang with the choir in her own, beautiful voice. The one time many of us remember hearing her say a distinct word was during the Chrismation portion of a Baptism. Madeline said a clear “Amen” after hearing, “The seal of the gift of the Holy Spirit.”
Madeline Grace also touched the lives of everyone she met. She strengthened the faith of many adults who struggled, and taught us all the virtues of patience and endurance. She had a love for other children, and smiled and sang brightly for any child that talked to her.
Maddie passed away at her home on the morning of October 18, 2008, at the age of 4 ½ in the arms of her parents Steven and Darla.
Her funeral was an event of profound sadness, hope, and joy — sadness from our loss of this precious child; hope for the Kingdom we know she has inherited; and joy for the way in which Jesus Christ shone so brightly in this little girl’s life.
During the year that followed her passing, Maddie continued to touch the lives of many. Her presence continues to be felt at church and in the lives of those she touched, and she continues to be an inspiration for those who struggle with illnesses and difficulties.
A special set of para-liturgical hymns (available at the link to the right) was written in Madeline Grace’s honor. Having been blessed by Archbishop Job, these hymns were sung for the first time at Maddie’s one-year memorial service. In 2010, these hymns were reviewed and again blessed by Metropolitan Jonah during his archpastoral visit to Holy Trinity.
May her memory be eternal!