The grin on the Reaper’s face: A sign of

Elise Leoe, born on November 14, 2019, was a beacon of courage and inspiration despite her short life. Weighing only 1200 grams and measuring 38 centimeters, she was diagnosed with Neonatal Progeria, a rare genetic condition that causes rapid aging.

Her mother, Michelle, documented their journey from pregnancy to Elise’s final moments in a series of poignant Instagram posts. Elise’s heart was abnormally large, and her abdomen was smaller than usual. Despite the doctor’s offer for an amniocentesis, Michelle declined. At 28 weeks, she was hospitalized due to concerns about Elise’s growth and a brief episode where her heart stopped beating during an ultrasound.

An emergency C-section was performed, and Elise was born. Though unable to grow physically, she faced additional challenges with digestion and heart muscle issues. Extensive genetic testing failed to determine the cause of her rare condition.

Children with Progeria typically live to be around 13 years old, but Elise faced even greater difficulties due to her feeding challenges. Since birth, she was primarily fed through a tube.

“I promise you, my dear Elise, there is a better world outside the hospital,” Michelle told her daughter during their hospital stay. This promise was eventually fulfilled.

After 100 days in the hospital, Michelle and Elise were finally discharged on February 21, 2020. Michelle was ecstatic, joyful, and content, experiencing a mixture of exhilaration and slight insecurity. Elise could now see her surroundings and return to her loving family.

Having already made predictions about Elise’s lifespan, Michelle used the remaining time to give her daughter the happiest, most beautiful moments. Laughter, the best medicine, was always incorporated into their lives. Love was the most precious treasure for healing Elise.

Tragically, Elise lost her battle with the terrible illness. Just over three months after celebrating her first birthday, she passed away on March 7, 2021.

Despite the challenges, Elise and Michelle’s relationship allowed them to experience each other to the fullest. Elise’s story is a testament to a mother’s unwavering love and the preciousness of life, even when faced with adversity.

Elise, you are constantly missed and deeply loved. You are our guardian angel, watching over us from above.

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