Thursday, August 6, 2009


School yearbooks came in this week. Hannah was on the yearbook staff last year, and her picture is on the first page with all the other members of the yearbook staff. Her picture is the very first one on the junior class page, because she was the junior class president. There are no pictures of her in the middle of the yearbook, because after September 25th when she started her second round of radiation, she only attended school for a few days. There are pictures of students raising money for Arkansas Children's Hospital in Hannah's memory, pictures of students signing a picture of the junior class that was included with a wreath sent to her funeral, and pictures of the girls' softball team wearing their special sweatbands in Hannah's memory. What a surreal feeling to look through the yearbook, look at these pictures, and read these articles...and realize they were referring to my daughter!

In the back of the yearbook, right after all the senior tribute pages, is a page with several pictures of Hannah...and this caption: "In Loving Memory of Hannah Joy Sullivan, October 22, 1991 - February 26, 2009". Wow...this was tough to look at...yet another reminder of the reality of her death. I remember having similar pages in my own high school yearbooks, but would never, ever have dreamed I would see a page like that for my daughter.

But there were not only pictures on that page, there was a poem, a song, and a tribute, all written by fellow students. The poem and tribute, in particular, I thought really captured what Hannah's storm was all about, and I wanted to include them here. It's a comfort to know that these words will be read for years to come...

"Riding Out the Storm"
by Samantha Overton

She lived a normal life,
Living it for God every day.
Until He trusted her with a gift.
The storm for which she prayed.

She met every day with courage and strength,
Never doubting her Father above.
Her face always held a smile,
And her heart was always filled with love.

Never did she complain or ask why,
No matter how great the pain.
Her faith remained strong,
Despite the cancer in her brain.

Her amazing story was heard all around,
And it helped point people God's way.
She won her year long battle,
When she drifted home that fateful day.

Even though she has left this world,
And our hearts are now torn,
We continue to tell the story
Of how Hannah rode out the storm.

"Hannah Sullivan was a devout Christian. She had a strong faith in God and knew that everything that happened was part of His plan for her. On February 20, 2008, Hannah found out that she had a brain tumor. The doctors removed the tumor and thought they had it all, but the symptoms returned a few months later. Hannah continued to battle her cancer. She and her family's faith remained strong no matter what happened. Hannah had prayed for a storm in her life so that she could use it to help change other people's lives. Through her battle with brain cancer, Hannah helped many people find a relationship with God. On February 26, 2009, Hannah entered Heaven. She is and always will be missed by her family and friends, but they know she is in a better place. Even though Hannah is gone, her story will continue to be told, just as she had wanted."


Mom said...

Wow...I love you Hannah!!!

Maria Sullivan said...

I agree Betty.... WOW... that was amazing...Samantha is a talented writer. I love you Hannah and miss you terribly. So proud to be your Aunt.

Uncle Mark said...

TO GOD BE THE GLORY! Hannah continues to be an inspiration to me! Love Uncle Mark

Samantha Overton said...

Hannah was an amazing person; she is such an inspiration to me. I just wanted to say how much of an honor it is to have had the chance to help with her page. When writing the poem and tribute I was so worried that I would not be able to tell Hannah's story the right way. I am so happy to know that you guys liked it and am glad to have had the opportunity to have done this. Samantha