By Laurie Stone: PNT correspondent
Susanna Hope Jilek, family members said, was proof that one life, no matter how short, can make a difference in others.
Susanna died Feb. 26, 2005 in her home of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) at four and-a-half months old.
According to family members, little Susanna was marked with perfection through her resilience and gentle nature.
Evie Sullivan Jilek, Susanna Jilek’s mother, said that Susanna’s experiences in this life changed the character and attitude of their family upon notice of her arrival.
“We were young and independent and were caught up in ourselves when my husband and I were first married,” Evie said. “But when I became a mom, I no longer saw my husband and I as being equal, but similar. Susanna helped us take the focus off of us, as individuals, and focus on someone other than ourselves,” she said.
Susanna Hope Jilek was born Oct. 12, 2004. She began sleeping through the night when she was three weeks old. She enjoyed riding in the car, dancing, twirling in circles and found comfort in playing with her stuffed animal Tigger or her sock. She especially enjoyed looking in the mirror, receiving family kisses with her parents on each cheek and being sung to; “Susie-Q” by Creedence Clearwater Revival was one of the songs she heard often. Evie said one of her favorite moments was watching the affect Susanna’s life had on her husband, Brook Jilek.
“I really enjoyed watching him become a wonderful dad,” Evie said. “I watched him go from a young man into a responsible father.
“Having a child makes you grow up,” she said. “That is why we should feel privileged when we get to participate in someone’s life.”
The whole process of learning to live after losing a child has been difficult for Susanna’s family but according to Brook, you learn to live because that is what your body does.
“She brought a lot of good into our lives,” Brook said. “It’s amazing what she accomplished with her life. She brought a lot of vitality to our family in a variety of ways,” he said. “Fathering a child teaches you patience and her life taught me that you can handle a lot more than what you think you can. Had I known all the pain we were going to go through in her death, I believe I would still have chosen to go through it because of the joy I experienced with her.”
Evie said she and her family have not lost hope throughout this endeavor, because of their faith, they know that someday they will see Susanna again because she is with God.
“There is a wellness in my soul that is incomprehensible,” Evie said. “I’m not angry at anyone, especially God, because I know that He never promised that bad things would never happen to us. What He did promise was that He would bring us to eternal life and in this lies our hope and our Susanna Hope Jilek.”