I write this with a pounding headache from crying for hours last night. After vacillating all day about it, about 10 minutes to six I decided it was important for me to go to the memorial service, both to show support for the family and for me to face my own fears. It was horrible…and beautiful. I live in a small mountain town of about 1,000 people, and I’d bet there were at least half that many in the venue in which the memorial service was held. Ironically, it’s the same building in which Charlie and I celebrated our wedding reception nearly five years ago.
The local school bus drivers donated their time to drive people to and from their cars to the venue because there were SO many people that cars were having to park quite a ways away. The state DOT made their roadside sign flash between “heavy roadside traffic” and the sign you see above. Local restaurants donated food for grieving people to eat after the service. People came from far and wide to support this family in their time of greatest sorrow, and that was pretty cool to see.
I never actually spoke to his parents – the receiving line was a mile long, and honestly, I just felt like I needed to get out of there after spending an hour listening to the people who loved Axel the most tell stories that made us all laugh…and cry. I’m glad I went though. It was good to hear all of the wonderful words that people had to say about this little boy and his family and the community he grew up in. What an amazing life of travel and adventure and love he experienced in his short two years on earth.
Afterwards Charlie and I had a long discussion about Faith… our own Faith and our desires for Stella. She was splashing around in the tub, oblivious, while Charlie sat on the toilet and I perched on the edge of the tub, and we cried together and talked about God, and love, and the importance of a spiritual upbringing. We talked about how we know that some people say that they don’t “believe” in a higher power… but how it is truly incomprehensible to us that anyone could truly not believe in God in their heart of hearts, because it is such an integral part of us and our families.We talked about how we want to start going to different churches in the area to find the one that’s the best fit for us as a family (he grew up going to one church, myself to another, and it’s time to find one that works for both of us). We want to start learning about their Sunday School programs, so that when Stella is 3-4, she can start learning about God and Faith and Love. We won’t “force” it on her, but we do want to expose her to it and give her a good basis of education about God, so that some day she can make her own decision about what to believe in. We want to continue to pray with her before meals and before bedtime. We want her to realize how important it is to have faith in a God who is there to support us in our times of joy and our times of sorrow.
I love this article written by a Pastor about grief and what you should/shouldn’t say when there is tragedy involving children. Please take two minutes to read it, it’s important. Hint – never say it was “God’s will” for a child to die, capisce?
Don’t forget to hug the people you care about and tell them you love them. Remember what is truly important in your life.
Love & Peace to you and yours,
(ETA – Here is a newspaper write up about the memorial service if you’d like to read more about it.)