Sunday, August 16, 2009


At the end of last month we had a short but sweet visit with some of our closest friends, Noah and Tricia. It was sooo good to see them but was somewhat of a bittersweet visit as well. You see, we haven't seen these guys in over a year. They were here last June to walk us through the worst week of our life. After hearing the news of Brayden they jumped on a plane the same night, got to NC, rented a car and drove the rest... arriving sometime during the night. When we woke up that next morning they were there for us. Some of the most amazing lifetime friends anyone could ask for. We are so blessed to have them in our life!

Our friendship goes back many years. Jake has been friends with Noah for over 25 years and lived next door for many of those years. Noah and I went to highschool together and after we became good friends I was introduced to Jake.... and the rest is history (:

We then ended up in Pa together as Noah and I both attended Valley Forge Christian College. This is where he met his beautiful wife Tricia. We spent lots of time together and grew very close. It was a sad day when they moved back to Md, leaving us behind. But we stayed in contact and visited when possible. They still live in Md and serve as Pastors of a church there and we now live even further away.. in SC. This makes it even more difficult to see eachother as often as we'd like. But we make the time as much as we can.

Things got even more exciting when Tricia and I found out that we were pregnant at the same time. She knew first, had a due date, and even found out the sex first. Later, I was given a due date about a week apart from hers. What's the chance?! After finding out they were having a boy we talked about how much fun it would be if I also had a boy so they could grow up together, the same age... and be best buddies!

January 5, 2007 we were blessed to welcome Brayden Russell into our family. Just 2 days later, on January 7th Noah and Tricia welcomed Davis Joseph! The hardest part was that neither of us could be there to meet the other babies since we were having our own!

As soon as we could we got the boys together and visited with all the new additions.

Here are Brayden and Davis in February, Just before they were a month old. Two and a half year old Nathaniel Loved having 2 babies around!

Here are the boys again, getting bigger, at our visit to Md on Memorial Day weekend 2007.

Reunited again, Christmas 2007.

For Tricia's spring break in March 2008 they made the long trip to SC to visit with us again. This is probably the most special visit and I am soo thanful they came. It was during this visit that Brayden began walking (more than 2-3 steps at a time)! Being older and more mobile, the boys were able to play and enjoy each other so much this time... as Buddies. We also had an Easter egg hunt for the kids and shared lots of fun memories together.

Noone would ever imagine, in a million years... that this would be the last visit the boys would have together.

Fast forward to July 26, 2009. We finally had a nice visit again to just enjoy eachother and share memories. This was the first time they met Elliana in person! We are so glad that they came and we had the chance to visit (after a whole year... way too long!! That can't happen again...)

But this visit was also Bittersweet. We had a great time, but things just felt... incomplete. Watching Davis as the fun. expressive and happy little toddler he has become also brought with it pains of the "What would's". Looking at him, we had to remind ourselves that this is the age Brayden would be. How tall would he be? Who would be bigger? Would he talking that well? Would he love the guitar like Davis did? Would Brayden still get along well with his Buddy Davis? What would they have done together?

I have no doubt they would have had a blast. They definately would still be buddies.

...and it was hard to feel/think/express those realities.

Before they left we, of course, had to take another picture of our kids together.

...But this time it was incomplete. Davis loved being able to sit by and hold Brayden Bear.... his Buddy.

Instead of visiting at home, seeing a room full of toys, and playing together... we made a trip to take Noah and Tricia to 'see" Brayden here...

This was one of the hardest trips to the cemetary for me in a long time.

It just wasn't fair. It isn't fair.

It sucks.

But I try to remind myself of the Hope we have. I hold onto the promises that we will see Brayden again. And together Davis and Brayden will play again...

as Buddies for Eternity.


Tricia said...

Michelle that was a very sweet post. I too wish and hurt about what could of been. It doesn't compare with what u and Jake feel bur we hurt for you. U guys are great friends that we cherish.

Pastor Noah said...

Yeah. Definitely crying. Amazing writing. Beautiful reflections. We love you all deeply. And miss Brayden so much.

Anonymous said...

Michelle, I'd rather keep my post private today for many reasons. But I just wanted to say I know how you feel about the "it's not fair" "it sucks" idea. I became engaged recently. I'm so thankful that God has placed this man in my life. Now the wedding planning. I'm sure you remember it. Choosing who your made of honor will be, for me it's my sister. I love my little sister with all my heart. But there's something missing. Or better yet, SOMEONE. I had an older sister. Years ago, at the mere age of 20 (I had just turned 8) a doctor made a mistake in a little hospital room in Pennsylvania that ended my sisters life. The "what if" she was here, what would she say to me, would she be the one helping me do all the wedding planning? Would she herself be married already? The "It's not fair" she should be here, she should be my made of honor. It sucks that I can't have her sitting here with me gushing over the man I love, having those late night girl talks. It's been 16 years. For about 10 of those years, I could not bring myself to visit my sister's grave. But finally, on the 16th anniversary, my fiance was here with me and we went together. I knew it'd be hard. But wow. While I stood there crying it started to rain.
Michelle, you are blessed. I've been praying for you. Your family is wonderful (and I don't just mean your immediate) all your friends and your family are some of the best resources through the happy times and the sad times. Ecclesiastes said it best there is a time for everything and a purpose under heaven, a time to be born and a time to die a time to laugh and a time to cry. Blessings Michelle

Mommyof3gifts said...

Anonymous, Thank you for your comment. Congrats on the wedding! I do understand what your saying... and it's hard. It doesn't matter how long its been.. greif and loss is a lifetime journey and the what ifs are so hard to block out. I would encourage you to find a way(s) to honor your sister at the wedding. I lost my father 17 years ago... I was 12.. my wedding was VERY difficult. I had my sister carry a rose in his memory and place it on a chair in his memory. I'm glad I did that even though it was tough. One moment at a time... thats all we can do. Glad you were able to go to the cemetary together.. you do whatever you feel is best for you. Thank you for your thoughts and prayers! Blessings,

Anonymous said...

Michelle, Thanks for encouragement of doing something for my sister at my wedding. We are going to have two memorials, one at the wedding and one at the reception. Both times will be a song played in her honor and my younger sister is carrying two bouquets and will carry one up and place it on her table which will have a special candle and a picture of her and I. Michelle from the time I met you you were an encouragement. You always will be!