goodnight, my dear

Well, we made it.  We’re still standing.  Today we buried our Gabriel.

The weather was absolutely perfect.  (70 degrees and clear blue skies – I still love October)  So many people came that I lost count.  God was most definitely in that place.  The service was so beautiful and I don’t think the set-up scared anyone.  I was actually able to speak and to pray.  I sang (quietly) but only along with the songs that we played.  We had some scripture read and Brian’s dad said a few words at the end.  Then everyone made their last pass to say goodbye.

We tucked him in, along with the stuffed animals and the picture that Chloe drew, and closed the casket ourselves.  Then my husband and my brother carried him out to me and put him on my lap for the ride to the cemetery.  (which was about 200 yards away)  At the graveside we played 2 songs by Andrew Peterson (our favorite): After the Last Tear Falls and More.  In between the songs I read Psalm 23.  It was just precious.

Afterward we went to a nearby church for food and fellowship.  It was nice to have everyone sit down to a meal together.  When that was over we had my in-laws take the kids back home so we could go back by the cemetery to take the last of our pictures.  We have documented EVERYTHING with pictures.  Our funeral director was even so kind as to take pictures of us while we were busy with Gabe.

Though I really wanted a nap after we got home (we were up until 2:30 am this morning and got up around 7 am, not the best idea) the kids were not cooperating.  I am really ready for some hard sleep tonight.

As I sit here and reflect on the day I am so thankful for the time we were given with Gabriel and the opportunity we were given to say goodbye the way we wanted to (considering).  I have just been surrounded and filled with the peace of God.  Don’t get me wrong – I have had some emotional outbursts and weeping episodes.  But overall there has been a deep and lasting peace, and dare I say joy, in the midst of this.  Losing Felix was like getting hit by a truck.  This time was much different.

I feel like I’m rambling now and maybe later I will have some clearer thoughts.  I’d like to finish off with the lyrics to one of the songs we played today.  This one is just for you, my darling boy.  I love you, Gabriel Elliott.  Sweet dreams, baby.

May the Lord Bless and Keep You

Goodnight, my dear, go to sleep;
til you’re floating like a ship across the sea;
go to sleep.

May the Lord bless and keep you;
the Lord shine his face upon you, child, and give you grace.
May the Lord turn His face toward you, love, and give you peace.

Goodnight my dear, be at ease;
till you’re floating like the sunlight through the trees;
be at ease.

May the Lord bless and keep you;
the Lord shine his face upon you, child, and give you grace.
May the Lord turn His face toward you, love, and give you peace.

So lay down, breathe deep.

May the Lord bless and keep you;
the Lord shine his face upon you, child, and give you grace
May He turn His face toward you, my little boy, and give you peace.

-Andrew Peterson

like the dickens

Brian and I are sitting here planning Gabriel’s funeral.  (which will be held on Monday)  We’re choosing music that has touched us and we’ll be creating a video slide show.  We’ve asked the kids what they would like to include: Chloe wants us to have Psalm 23 read and Dylan wants “song number 8 on the Andrew Peterson CD – you know ‘Sarah take me by my arm.'”  (that would be Canaan Bound from Appendix A)  I’m not really sure what Ezra was trying to tell me.  I think he wants to do a dance.

We are really going to mess with some people’s heads.  We’ve asked them not to wear their “Sunday best.”  We’re also setting up the chairs so they face each other.  We want this to be very simple and comfortable and family-like.  Tonight I was thinking I wanted to sing something (with others joining me in case I can’t make it through).  I’m not sure what but I really desire for this to be very worshipful.  Losing our son hurts like the dickens but I also want to be reminded, and remind others, that Gabriel is in Heaven.  He is with Jesus – can you imagine?!  He’s met Noah, Moses, Elijah, the disciples… and his brother Felix.  He knows why God allowed this to happen to him and to us.  He knows all sorts of things that we can only speculate about.

Since it’s late (and I’m supposed to be helping my husband) I will end here.  Please keep praying for peace and comfort.  Tomorrow we go to the funeral home to get Gabriel dressed and ready for our final (worldly) farewell.  It’s not forever – just for a while.

far from emotional (aka the funeral home experience)

We had an appointment at the funeral home today.  Good news, we did not see hide nor hair of the lady I spoke with on the phone.  Lucky for her.

It was pretty much uneventful.  I mean, the guy was very obviously stumbling through everything because he was uncomfortable but at least he didn’t say anything incredibly stupid.  Well, maybe he did.  He had spoken with the general manager about opening Felix’s grave to put the boys in there together and got approval for that.  But we had already purchased a plot for Gabriel and upon mentioning that he said that we could just save it for someone else.  WHAT?!  I really hope we don’t EVER have the need for another grave!  After I told him that he said we could use it for mom or dad or donate it to someone.  Okay, the donating makes sense.  Keeping one grave for one of our parents does not since both of our parents are still married to each other.  (What do you suggest we do, have a drawing?)  I am really trying to believe that he was so taken aback by our situation that he just had no idea what was coming out of his mouth.

I’m not sure if I was playing Egyptian (floating in DENIAL) or if it was true peace but the whole time we were there I just felt like “Thanks for the info but we’re not going to need it.”  It was nice to be far from emotional this time around.

That being said I feel good about having all of the paperwork and decisions made now just in case we do need it.  All we have to do is make a phone call and they can take care of the rest.

Here’s hoping we don’t need to make the call!