It's Wednesday.. So Its time to capture and relive some memories! This was started by Lynette Kraft at Dancing Barefoot on Weathered Ground. This is a fun opportunity to document some of the things you don't want to forget and share those memorable times with others so we can enjoy them too. You can visit her site by clicking the picture above to share in her memories as well as others.
Today's walk is a difficult one. But one that I know is important to remember, to document, and to share. I have wanted to write this out for some time and have not taken the time to do it... so I thought Wednesday's Walk would be a great way to do it.
This memory goes back to June 9, 2008... the day that we celebrated the life of Brayden Russell. One of the hardest days of my life, a day I never dreamt I would live through... but a day where God carried us through.
I remember the day so well, waking up and getting ready.. trying to look nice... yet wanting to crawl in a whole and avoid this whole thing. Hurting, nervous, scared, numb, a wreck. How do you prepare for your child's funeral?
But it was not a funeral.... it's a celebration of life. We couldn't bear the sadness and pain of a traditional service. There was no casket, only pictures EVERYWHERE to remember the Life of this precious baby boy. My sisters, my close friend, and my brother & sister in law worked so hard to find and put together amazing tributes to Brayden.
I remember walking into the church. I just froze... Pictures everywhere. Poster boards full of memories... His smile, His laugh, His chubby fingers always pointing, His adventures, His joys..and tears.
A celebration of Life. The life he lived. and enjoyed. The life he embraced and made so fun. The moments we shared.. the moments we will always treasure.
During the service our pastor spoke and shared some things, as well as my brother, Chuck, and one of our closest friends, Noah Kaye.
Noah shared that Brayden was taken from Love to Love. This was encouraging to think that all he ever knew was love. He didn't have to experience the hardships in life, the struggles of the teenage years, the heartbreaks of love, or the sting of broken relationships. As parents our number one goal for our children is to get them to Heaven. We can also say that we have succeeded in that goal. It may have been sooner than We had planned, but we loved and prayed over him here and know that he is resting in the Father's arms in his eternal home.
My brother shared some memories as well as a video tribute that he had put together with photo's of Brayden throughout his life. It was put to music with 2 beautiful songs and made us laugh, cry, and smile as we remembered the moments. Chuck also shared one of his favorite memories that I will share another week. In a nut shell Brayden LOVED music. He loved to dance, clap, etc... Worship on Sunday mornings was one of his favorite times. Because of this we asked a few members of our Praise team to play some songs at the service. It was so awesome to have them there... and to be able to praise the same God that we know Brayden is now worshiping right at his feet!
At the end of the service we had a response time, much like the ones we have at the close of each church service. Many people responded for personal prayer, lit candles for others or to send a request to Heaven, or nailed requests on the cross. It meant so much for us to see others lives being touched in the midst of such a difficult time. We KNOW that God WILL use this situation for His Glory and that good will come from it. My hearts desire is to bless others and be able to complete the work that God has begin and desires for this family.
All in all we left the service with a smile. It was a sad and difficult time knowing that we would not have our little boy with us any longer, this side of heaven. Yet, the service was truly a celebration of his life... we remembered, we cherished, and it was a joy to share his life with all those who came.
My friend Sarah found a poem and adapted it for Brayden. It was written on the back of the card we gave out at the Service. It is called, "Our Brayden"
He was just a little boy
Who only know love and care.
He had to go be home with Jesus
but he's waiting for us there.
Don't fret about him Mom and Dad
He's one of God's lambs most blest.
He'd have loved to stay there with you
but the Shepherd knows what's best.
It's hard to know just what to say
When one so young is taken away.
Far too soon he had to part,
His memory forever engraved in our hearts.
We only knew him for a short while,
But the life he lived made us smile.
Those gone before him will watch with care,
Till the day comes when we will join him there.
Know Brayden is watching from Heaven above,
And with each ray of sunshine, He's sending his love.
Held tight in the arms of his Pop Pop Russ,
He is playing and laughing and waiting for us.
This is something no parent should ever have to experience, and one of the hardest things ever. I can honestly say though that it exceeded what we could have wanted and we were so blessed with the way things went. The outpouring of love and support for our family was unbelievable. To know that so many loved Brayden, and love us to rally around us and walk this road with us means more than anyone will know.
Thank you for letting me share this memory. I don't choose to remember this day for the pain or the sadness in held, but for the memories of the joy, the strength, and the peace that came from our Heavenly Father. Because of Jesus we made it through. Because of Him we could smile, and celebrate. Because of Him we can remember the good and be pleased with how well things went that day.
We were blessed through the life of Brayden, and we continue to be blessed by so many. We are so very Thankful.