On Friday April 30th, we held a visitation and service to honor Landon’s life. We played songs that are a compilation from hand picked lyrics and music coworkers have given us over the years. Favorites include I Trust in You, by Lauren Daigle. The first time I heard that song I was driving on a trip and had to pull over to sob. Then spent the rest of the drive memorizing the lyrics and singing way too loudly. That one reaches me. Another favorite, very special to Karson was Brother Let Me Be Your Shelter.

We played photos and shared some special items that make us smile. It took hours to put the photos together, possibly because I couldn’t stop looking at them over and over. Nearly 8 years of memories. It was a healing process to look at the journey we’ve been on, and so special to see and stare at those two sweet faces together.

Ben Borsay spoke, highlighting scripture from Romans 8:28, as well as Psalms 23. He spoke of a risen savior, and that because Jesus is risen indeed, this life isn’t all there is, and I will someday hold and hear these sweet boys again.

I spoke, and said a tearful version of the following:

1 Corinthians 13 tells us that Love is patient. Love is kind. Love is not envious, or boastful, or arrogant, or rude. It does not insist on its own way. It is not irritable or resentful. It does not rejoice in wrongdoing but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.

When I look back on the last 8 years, it would be easy to remember the pain, the sad, the hurt, the fear.  But I first and foremost remember the faith, the hope, and the love.  I think one key reason for this is Landon has lived his life as the epitome of Biblical love.  He has endured all manner of things, enabling us to believe in all things.  He was patient and kind.  He was a protective big brother to Nolan and in ways that are hard to explain to people who didn’t see it up close, he put Nolan’s needs first.  I watched his existence, his open acceptance, and his gentleness teach Isabella about the love of a caretaker, as one of her favorite things to do was to bring him stuffed animals and hold his hand.  She and Karson would climb in bed with him, and read books, sing songs, and tell him about their world.  When I stand up or am about to change tasks, I almost automatically say “I’ll go check on La La”, to which she replies, “me too”.  Isabella, you loved Landon perfectly.  I watched Landon teach Karson about putting others first, about the blessing of serving, but also about the blessing of being served as so many within our community, our village have looked out for Karson throughout this journey as well.  That has helped shape him in to the most compassionate, empathetic little boy I’ve ever known.  For nearly 8 years, Karson has given Landon unconditional love that couldn’t be returned in conventional ways.  Love that required him to give, wait, change plans, cancel his own, and give again of himself repeatedly and without expectation.  Karson, you loved Landon perfectly.

Landon taught me about Faith over fear, hope rather than resentment, and love above all else.  Landon loved perfectly. And he taught me to love him perfectly too.

I’m going to be really honest and tell you that I got stuck here when writing this and couldn’t come up with the right words for three days.  I kept thinking if I could figure out what my point was, what I wanted the message to be, I could figure out what to say next and how to tie it together.  But I couldn’t find the words.

I was hung up on the earthly ending, but the earthly ending of two children is an unbearable pain, for which there are no right words. 

But a heavenly beginning…I can find joy in that. I can find peace in that.  The idea of a heavenly beginning is what got me through the pregnancy, knowing that if they never made it to my arms, they would make it to God’s.  The idea of a heavenly beginning is what made the 3 and 7 years of life bearable, knowing that their pain would never be permanent, and that something better was ahead.  The idea of a heavenly beginning got us through Landon’s last night, because we all kept picturing Nolan greeting him with open arms.  The promise of a heavenly beginning will carry me through the rest of my life, because I know I will join them some day.

A heavenly beginning allowed me to live and mother, not out of fear, but out of faith, hope, and with a mission purely of love.

  • The kind of love that led 1,000’s of people over the years to ask about Landon and Nolan, ask how you can help, or pray for us, sending thoughtful notes, even gifts to a family many had never even met. 
  • The kind of love that led siblings to forego many of their own goals and needs understanding that sometimes, often, they couldn’t come first.
  • The kind of love that led a cousin, to sit out a trick or treat opportunity, so she could help Landon hand out candy instead.
  • The kind of love that led a retired nurse, at a day care, to quit her job and re-enter the nursing world and love two little boys beyond measure.
  • The kind of love that led coworkers to make cd’s, make t-shirts, crochet hats, host fundraisers in honor of birthdays, and pray for our babies as if they were their own.
  • The kind of love that enabled us to raise and donate over an estimated $25,000 over the years by selling those t-shirts, tacos and bracelets one at a time.
  • The kind of love that powered a mom through sleepless nights and impossible decisions.
  • The kind of love that made people show up to help that mom even when she didn’t know how to ask for it.
  • The kind of love that knew when to fight, and when to let go.
  • The kind of love that was patient and kind.  Did not insist on its own way.  Endured all things.  And will never end.

I prayed without ceasing nearly 8 years ago that these boys would receive a miracle.  That God would change the path, that God would take this away, and make everything good.  As I stand here today, I can finally tell you that while God did not take this suffering away in quite the way I had asked, He did miraculously change me.  I’ve been saved by His mercy and held in His Grace and lifted by His love.  And through your perfect, enduring love over the years, He showed me through you that the world still has so much good.

1 Corinthians 13 also tells us, these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

May the Lord Bless you and keep you. 

May the Lord make His face to shine on you and be gracious to you.

May the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.

As we hugged, and forced ourselves to walk out, we listened to Fires by Jordan St Cyr as well as We The Kingdom & Tasha Cobbs Leonard – Holy Water. If you’ve never heard them, please give them a listen. If you’re having a hard time or know someone who is, please give them a listen. If you’re on top of the world right now…even then, give them a listen.

We walked out for the balloon release, which considering the wind turned out beautifully. Hugging the kids, we enjoyed the beautiful blues, the comfort of being surrounded by friends and family, and Karson asked if we could go back in one more time, so of course we did.