Lilliana (Lilli) Noel Goggins
Lilliana (Lilli) Noel Goggins, passed away Thursday morning, February 24th, 2022, at her home in Edwardsburg, MI
She was born on August 27th, 2004, and is survived by her father and mother, Kevin and Cher Goggins, and two brothers, Caden and Jager Goggins, all of Edwardsburg, MI, Grandparents Larry and Connie Zuercher of Granger, IN; Ron and Ann Wittenbach of Lowell, MI; Pat and Peg Goggins of Grand Rapids, MI; and many special aunts, uncles, and cousins.
Lilli lived with a challenging disability of Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome, but overcame so much to live her life to the fullest. While her condition stole many of her motor skills and developmental abilities, she persevered with the loving care of her family, and impacted the world in so many positive ways.
She was truly evidence of God’s miracles! Early in her life, Lilli dealt with hundreds of seizures per day, leaving many to wonder if they could ever be controlled. Through the care of Helen Devos Children’s Hospital and God’s healing touch, seizure control was finally established. While occasional breakout seizures still occurred over the years, the destructive volume that happened early on had stopped. This allowed God to show off in other ways as well. Many thought she’d never be able to walk, but with a blessed determination, she learned to take steps and walk independently for short stints, or longer walks with assistance. The best miracle of all was a joyful and infectious personality that was finally able to break through. She developed her own language and sounds, and a natural propensity for laughter that touched so many and impacted her world for good. Many times she would laugh herself almost to tears, often times for reasons nobody else understood. The sound of that laughter was the sweet soundtrack of Lilli’s life that so many will remember forever.
Lilli’s family saw to it that she lived as “normal” a life as possible. She would attend her brothers’ sporting events and different school functions, and was their biggest fan. Mom and dad, grandma and grandpa would often throw out a big blanket at baseball or football games, and Lilli would sit and play with her toys, enjoy being outdoors, and be present for her brothers. Many came to understand that Lilli on a blanket at an event was an open invitation to come and visit with her. She always seemed to enjoy visitors and their time spent together, and she always seemed to brighten their day. Lilli was able to attend “school” with friends who had similar needs, at Lewis Cass ISD and Edwardsburg Public Schools. Through the love and care of her many teachers and therapists, Lilli made significant improvements over time, and more importantly was able to experience another normal way of life for a child her age. The family is eternally grateful for all of the many teachers and peers who loved her over the years.
While Lilli was often recognized for her natural beauty, she was also known as a bit of a fashionista. Mom and dad always saw to it that Lil was dressed and accessorized to the nines. While she couldn’t do many of the things that other teenage girls her age could do, there was no compromising her style and her sass. She was such a little boho princess.
Lilli loved nature in general. Her favorite spot on earth seemed to be outdoors in the grass, with a few of her favorite toys, the sun shining on her face and a cool breeze blowing through her hair. She would often sit contently with a ribbon or a ball, looking off into the trees or the sky, paying special attention to her surroundings. Many times we thought she was looking at her special angels.
She even suckered her daddy into putting in a pool. She loved to sit on the top sun deck in shallow water splashing and laughing, while the sun kissed her already beautifully bronzed skin. Lilli’s favorite holiday by far was the 4th of July! The lights and the booming sounds of fireworks brought out a joy and laughter in her that was infectious! Many people have said that the 4th of July has become their favorite holiday as a result.
If the outdoors in general was her favorite spot, her favorite specific place to be was at her grandma and grandpa Zuercher’s house. They were her very best friends and did so much to make her life full. Their back yard became known as Zuercher Park with touches of Lilli-friendly activities throughout. They hung a big net swing where Lilli could safely sit and be pushed. They created her own park in the back yard under some big shade trees, with cushioned synthetic grass surrounded by a garden fence with toy pinwheels twirling in the breeze. Toys, balls and ribbons hung from tree branches for Lilli to play with. They would set up the sprinkler in the heat of the summer for her to splash in, take her for long bike rides, and in the winter, hook up a sled behind grandpa’s tractor and pull her around the yard. Their basement became Lill’s indoor playground with many special toys, activities, and her own little padded nook with a mattress and pillows to rest on if she chose. If she wasn’t playing in her playground, she was sitting with grandpa in his recliner, rocking and watching whatever in- season sport was on the television. Many Lilli specific toys were hand crafted by grandma with love, tailor made for Lilli and her special interests.
While the pain of losing Lilli so early is heartbreaking, there is a confidence, and a peace that passes understanding, that she is finally her whole self; walking, talking, dancing and dining with Jesus. While she will be dearly missed, her legacy will go on forever and that sweet soundtrack of her life…her laughter… will forever run through the minds and hearts of those she’s touched.
In lieu of flowers and in celebration of Lilli, please consider a gift to A Rosie Place for Children.
arosieplace.org 53131 Quince Road South Bend, IN 46628 firstname.lastname@example.org 574-235-889
Funeral details: Visitation – 2-4 pm. Lilli’s Life and Laughter Celebration 4:30 pm. Friday, March 4th, all at Granger Community Church, 630 E University Dr, Granger, IN 46530.
* Special Note – The family invites you to wear BRIGHT colors in honor of Lilli’s colorful life!
To send private condolences, please visit: http://www.mcgannhay.com/condolences.html
To the Goggins and Zuercher families. I have followed Lilli’s miraculous life and am so impressed with the constant loving care you showed her. I know you will miss her. My condolences and prayers for all of you.