I'm an event planner. My job consists of planning celebrations. I've been planning celebrations since I can remember. At the end of each event, we are usually giving high fives, hugging, and well, celebrating.
This event was different.
This event hurt, confused, and hurt some more. The more I tried to make it perfect, the more I felt like I failed. I couldn't do enough. It wasn't going to be enough.
The week leading up to our boys' memorial service was rainy, dark, and pure gloom. Sometimes I wondered if God accepted our thoughts as prayers, as I wasn't able to sit down, hands clasped, and pray for no rain, or anything for that matter. All I could do was hope he heard my thoughts of how much I longed for a beautiful day Sunday. If anything, I felt the boys and I deserved it after all we had been through.
My sister had mentioned to me that we'd need programs designed. I'm the designer part of our partnership. Sure! I could do this. I could create something meaningful, something I'd love.
Something they'd love.
I sat at my computer and began to draw. I drew two blue balloons and typed out, "Grady Dean & Ryder Dylan."
I lost it.
Everything went blank, and I was stuck. As my fingers stroke each keyboard key, a tear welled in my eyes. G-r-a-.... our two beautiful names that were set aside for these beautiful blessings... names that have now become names that won't be said daily, besides in my whispered prayers, names that have become a memory. A memory of 22 weeks and a few hours, two beautiful faces, and a memory I'm afraid of losing.
To me, a service is about letting go, but to me letting go means forgetting, and I'm not willing to do so.
If God accepts our thoughts as prayers, then he knows that I'm praying to never forget the boys that carry the sweet names, and I'm praying to never forget the few hours I was able to hold them, kiss them, and spend together with them.
Sunday morning came. I received a text from my sister telling me how beautiful it was outside, and boy was she right. The sun shone down with not a cloud in the sky.
It was blue.
I opened my front door to a fresh breeze greeting me as if it had a smile on its face to say, "He heard you, and here is your perfect day."
I smiled and knew it'd be perfect. But I hadn't realized what exactly the event was that I was hoping to be perfect. Sure I know what was going on, but I didn't let it settle in my heart.
I went to church that morning. In okay spirits. Church for me was my release. The songs they sang were my prayers. If I wasn't able to get the words out correctly, sure He'd hear my voice through the songs.
Our Pastor held me in front of everyone as he spoke about the funeral that was to come that day.
And he just held me. He'll never know how much that meant to me.
After leaving church I was supposed to go get air blown into the balloons I ordered just for Cohban and Maddie Lu. Two huge balloons- a blue G and a blue R. As well as pick up the basic blue balloons for our family and friends to release into the air.
This was my only job to do for their service.
I went to Party City with both kids in tow, and was so happy to see how great the balloons turned out. The lady behind the check out asked Cohban if the balloons were for his birthday party. Ouch, stab right to the heart.
We walked outside and that's when it happened.
Our gate on our SUV had just broken, so it was impossible for me to hold it open while putting all 20-something balloons in there without them flying away. I tried stuffing them into the front seat, then the back seat, and then the gate again. It was impossible.
I tried again..... and there it went. Ryder's 'R' balloon slipped from my hands and flew away.
I began to panic. Pacing back and forth, for about 10 minutes, bawling my eyes out, a sweet couple finally came to me and asked if they could help. They held the balloons while I got the kids into the car. We were still unsuccessful in getting the balloons to fit in my car so I told them it was okay and that they could leave. I called my sister and my friend bawling. My friend came immediately and took the balloons from me and gave me a moment to re-coop.
That was the moment it hit me. This is my sons' funeral. An actual funeral. Two infant babies... gone.
I just wanted the day to be over.
I came home and rested until it was time to change and be on our way.
It actually turned out to be a beautiful event. They were there with us. God was there with us. Jesus was there. I could feel their presence as our friends from church sang our songs, as our pastor talked about family and love, and as our closest family and friends released balloons into the air.... they were there.
My friend ended up saving the day in many ways. She designed the programs for me and she purchased two blue balloons and had a tag with each of the boy's names written on them. It all turned out perfect.
My sister planned every detail in the day, and I couldn't thank her enough. She is my rock.
We will be forever grateful for those that love our boys just as much as us, and show it to us daily.
When we see the color blue, our memory sticks. Their memory sticks. Forever. He heard my prayers.