The Harnisch Family

The Harnisch Family

Feb 28, 2012

Remembering Sweet Sophie

Our local Down Syndrome family has suffered a tragic loss.
I do not even know where to begin.  There are just no words.  My heart is breaking for dear friends who had to say goodbye to their precious child the other day.  A young, full of promise and hope, life taken too soon, it just doesn't make sense.  The amount of grief they must be feeling is absolutely immeasurable, I simply can not fathom the pain.  I just can not stop crying as thoughts of this sweet baby girl are on my mind constantly - oh the sheer devastation her mother and father must be feeling. 

I have enjoyed getting to know Stephanie this past year.  She and sweet Sophie were regular attenders of our DS Super Mom's Coffees.  Her presence was heart-warming and comforting, as well as refreshing and insightful.  She works in the medical field and was able to provide our group with a vast array of knowledge as well as support.  AS difficult as I'm sure it may be for her, I hope she knows she will ALWAYS be in our "family", and she is ALWAYS welcome at ANY of our gatherings and events.  She told me the other day, that she will always be a momma to a Down Syndrome baby.  You don't just lose that kind of passion.  She has forged a strong connection and has a loving heart towards this Down Syndrome community, has adapted to this "way of life" and upon learning of Sophie's diagnosis has fully embraced this new journey.

We have not seen the last of Stephanie.  All us mom's have coordinated a meal-train and are taking meals to her home over the course of the next few months.  Not that it will make too large of an impact, but I hope it does help her feel less alone and allow her to know that she is thought of always and prayed for regularly.  Both her and her husband are from out east (her family is in Washington DC & his is in Pittsburg, PA, that distance alone has got to be hard). May she find even an ounce comfort and solace as days go by.

Sweet Sophie Analie Bunt, born March 7th 2011, was just a few weeks shy of her 1st Birthday. 
how does one NOT fall instantly in love with that face??
She passed away unexpectedly in her sleep, likely due to complications from RSV.
Her father, Christopher is a physician with the US Air Force and was actually deployed to Afghanistan at this time.  Upon hearing the news (can't even imagine), he was aboard a plane and immediately reconnected with his family.
As all her loved ones (both Grandma's, both Grandpa's, Stephanie, Chris and Chris' brother) SOO ELOQUENTLY shared at her memorial service, she was a happy, beautiful and amazing blessing to them all.  Her smile could light up any room.  Between the heartfelt and highly emotional speeches and scrapbook video, there was most certainly not a dry eye in the house.  Her big brother (4 yr old) Brayden was especially fond of his baby sister, his mom described how he loved her as though SHE WERE HIS.  His love for her was truly unconditional. 

Below is a touching tribute written by Sophie's family:

Our Adored Sophie
Sophie Analie Bunt arrived into our lives on March 7th, 2011 at a healthy 7lbs 6oz and 20 &1/2 inches long.  She did not arrive in the package we were expecting but rather came as a beautiful gift tied with an extra chromosome.  Although we did not know it then, we were immediately graced with all the love, joy and happiness that she gave us each and every day of her exceedingly short life.
Sophie was the most beautiful, sweet, cuddly and loving baby that we could ever have hoped for.  She was always happy and she smiled with her whole face bringing joy to all those blessed with her presence.  Sophie loved playing peek-a-boo, cackling at our dog, eating, wiggling her whole body when she was excited, and most of all, her big brother, Brayden.
Sophie taught us more in her short time than anyone could have taught us in a lifetime. 

Some were lessons in the little things, which brought unbelievable laughter and joy:
  • If you are going to smile, always use your whole face.
  • Tutus are definitely food.
  • If you are happy, wiggle your whole body.
  • Bath time is always for splashing.
  • Sometimes hair just doesn't lay flat
  • If you can't find your spoon, it's probably on your head.
  • If you grab it, never let it go.
  • Be extra happy always
And some were monumental:
  • Love conquers all and transcends all boundaries
  • Perfection comes in all packages
  • Everyone loves a smile.
  • Happiness is a journey not a destination
Sophie is and always will be adored by her family, especially her big brother, friends, teachers and all that were blessed with her smile.  We are devastated by her loss and miss her with every breath we take.  We will forever cherish the short time we were graced with her presence in our lives and the happiness and love she brought will forever live in our hearts. 

Love, Stephanie, Chris and Brayden
This page was framed and shared at Sophie's memorial service. It was taken from our Down Syndrome Mom's Scrapbook.  Each of us mommas created a special page representing our own families and I am glad that Stephanie made one and shared it with us - she now owns the "original", but we'll have a copy made to take it's place. 
Sophie was and IS a loving member of our "group", she will always have a page in our scrapbook and has made a lasting impression in ALL our hearts.

I know that words are unable to provide adequate comfort.  But perhaps the sharing of a precious life through stories and photos (to keep her spirit alive) can aid in healing and allow for the forever remembrance of an angel who we were blessed to know.  If even for a little while...

Memorials can be made in Sophie's memory to the National Down Syndrome Society


  1. How incredibly horrible! What a sweet, beautiful baby! My thoughts and prayers are with the entire DS families!

  2. Thank you for sharing this. What a beautiful little life she had! She brought so many wonderful people together, people who will always be in each other's lives. Her family and all of you are in my prayers. What a huge loss.