I started part of this on his birthday night....
I lay in bed this morning, not sure how today would be. Sometimes the expectation of a moment is worse than the actual moment. I hoped that was true. This whole week was really tough. Then I wondered why it makes me sadder on a certain date than another. After all, we don't need a birthday to remind us that we don't have our son in our arms. I believe it was the finality of 1/2 year going by that hit me.
I knew I needed to go to work, I knew I should get up and look a little cute for the day (this did not happen, but in retrospect, I really should've listened to this thought...), I knew I would be in a bit of a fog, and I just hoped it would be a day that I did not pull a really obnoxious, awkward crying moment with anyone.
So I sat in bed and prayed for awhile. I know He gives peace at the moments we need it most. After praying, I sat up and received a text message from my sweet Melanie. She is an early morning riser, who knows exactly what to send from her daily quiet time. Any day. Any situation. She knows what to send. Today was no exception.
Then the messages, emails and texts started coming....
...and I am still receiving text messages tonight.
God gave us peace today.
Chet and I had planned to meet after work to release 6 balloons. Nothing fancy; just a little way to remember our son. Kara said she would meet us out there and release them with us. I told her she better not be driving to Snyder just for this, but she assured me, "I have plenty of things to do today in Snyderville..." Or something like that.
10 minutes before 5, Kara instant messaged me that she was feeding Jax and then would meet Chet and I at the cemetery. I drove to the cemetery at 5. All the songs on the radio on the way out there were perfect reminders of His mercy. I felt so at peace because He again showed me that He cares for the smallest details in our lives.
When I pulled up to the cemetery, I could see the tops of a lot of vehicles. I was picking up my cell phone to call Chet and tell him, "NO way. We cannot release balloons in the middle of a funeral!" as I inched slowly up to the the parked cars, readying myself to make the most inconspicuous getaway possible. Then I noticed that the cars all looked really familiar.
That's because they were cars filled with so many of our dearest friends!
The scene was one of those things I just cannot really describe. Instead of six balloons in my husband's hand, I walked up to friends and more balloons than I could even count. My family, the Shuffields, were even there...all the way from Brady!! It was unbelievable!
Wow! To have our son remembered in such a beautiful way, is really just something every parent probably dreams of. I have never seen a bigger, more perfect 1/2 year birthday celebration in my whole life. The balloons all had messages and notes from our friends from all over the country (even world). We read each balloon and each sweet message to Holden. The moment was one I will never, ever forget. The precious notes are a treasure to our hearts.
Kara put together a day that we will never forget. The thought of today made my heart physically ache for the past 6 months, but instead of unbearable pain, we received LOVE.
Jimmy Jim and Tisha (Shuffield Photography) captured the evening. They were so sweet and took pictures of as many balloons as they could. I wanted ALL of it to be something I could look back on for as long as we are away from Holden. This is just a glimpse of the 180+ photos they took.
3/26 months ago, I did not believe I could live another day. I could not even fathom making it to 1/2 year.
By the grace of God we are here. And by His grace we are not just 'here', but we have joy and peace and are grateful to be here.
I wish there was a way for me to describe what it means to be loved like we have been this week. My pathetic "thank you" is all I can offer. Thank you. Thank you for loving us. Thank you for letting me cry at random moments with you. Thank you for reaching out to us. Thank you for making our son feel like a part of your lives. Thank you for remembering him as if he was someone you grew to know and love for a lifetime. Thank you for your hugs, letters, prayers, words, time, etc. I love you all.
I have loved with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness. I will build you up again. Jeremiah 31:3-4