Tuesday, August 26, 2014

You Are My Sunshine

In true typical Erin fashion, when I plan something outdoors, mother nature decides it should rain.  Take my wedding for example, I had always dreamed of having an outside wedding.  Well, the week prior to our wedding, it rained and rained and rained.  There was a hurricane on the coast and it was sending lots and lots of rain.  All week my dad kept saying those dreaded words, "Erin, what if it rains?  We need a back up plan."  There was a tent covering the back deck, so if need be the ceremony could be held there.  Time for the rehearsal, what was it doing?  Raining buckets, I mean it was so loud on that deck that we could not even hear each other talk.  Time for the wedding, what was it doing?  It was absolutely beautiful out!

The weather forecasts often predicts rain when I plan things, please take note of that if you ever want me to plan something for you.  With that said, the weather channel is normally wrong, and it usually turns out to be a beautiful day!  And oh what a beautiful day it was on August 2, the day of Asher's memorial service.

One of the main reasons that we went back Maryland was to have a memorial service for our sweet Asher, a service that all our family would be able to attend.  Asher was and always will be special to all of us and it was important for me that we were all able to celebrate him together.

I remember the night prior to the service, looking at my mom with tear filled eyes and saying how in the world am I going to be able to get through tomorrow?  There has been several times over the past months that I said those same words and each time I came out a tad bit stronger.  I have been carried, there is no way I have been able to endure all that has happened on my own; it is truly amazing to see God meet you right where you are, take your hand, and walk, drag, or carry you along.

The service started and I remember sitting there in the front row, looking at the pictures of my sweet boy on the table wondering if this was real life.  I was feeling extremely numb and kind of like I was watching all of this unfold before my eyes.

With a box of tissues, my husband beside me, and all my family behind me, we celebrated and memorialized our sweet Asher.  The service was beautiful beyond words, more perfect than I could have ever imagined.  The sun was shining, the breeze was blowing, I felt such a peace during that service.

We sang songs, shared stories, and my wonderful Uncle Rich talked about how God uses trials for our good.  He calls us to be faithful servants and to follow where He leads us.  Asher has taken us all to a place we never imagined we would be.  He has caused us to ask God why.  He has forced us to come together as one.  He has strengthened us.  He has caused our faith to grow deeper.  He has brought us to our knees.  He has made us love more.  And all that was part of God's perfect plan.

Asher was given his first lacrosse stick at the service and now it is hanging in Poppy's office on the wall of fame.  This was a total surprise to me and I couldn't think of a better gift to give our little boy.  We are a lacrosse loving family, in case you didn't know.  We all played lacrosse, I don't think we had much of a choice, did we dad?

Since we knew we would not be in Hawaii forever, we opted to have Asher cremated.  To us, cremation just made sense.  Asher was created from the dust.  There seemed something so pure about having him in his original "state of being."  Just like the song, You make beautiful things, you make beautiful things out of the dust.  We took his dust and planted a tree in my parent's yard in remembrance of him.  The tree is a Crepe Myrtle, which means it will bloom every July for Asher's birthday!  We all took turns placing a shovel full of dirt around the tree and finished with a beautiful prayer around that tree as we were all holding hands.

And ended it all with fellowship, laughter, and good ol' Maryland crabs!

I look back on that day and just smile, it was beautiful and touching and sad and happy all wrapped into one!


  1. Tears... I'm so sorry Erin. That was a beautiful tribute.

  2. Hi Erin--you don't know me, but I know your Uncle Rich and Aunt Debbie--and their boys of course. I'm not sure if she shared with you at all, but my husband and I lost our daughter much like you lost your son. I know you were able to spend some time with your Asher, which makes it even harder. Our baby didn't have any complications in utero--we lost her at birth--stillbirth. We're about eight years ahead of you, but in reading your post, I feel like I'm eight years behind you. I have no family around, and my husband's family was just trying to follow our lead during the time we lost our Karris, but I was at a complete loss when it came to how to grieve our little girl. I didn't have anyone who was telling me that stillbirth is still the loss of a child. I felt the loss of a child, but I didn't feel I had the right to grieve any more than someone grieving a miscarriage. No one other than my husband even knew the depth of my grief. The memorial service was sterile and weird, leading me to think (in my super messed up mind and heart) that I was wrong to have a memorial service and that I was making too much of my grief. I am not trying to depress you, I promise!! I tell you all of that to say that I think that the way you celebrated Asher's life and memorialized his passing was BEAUTIFUL and so encouraging. I know that doesn't make it any easier now, but it will make it easier in the future as you think of Asher and dream of the day you are reunited with him. I wish I had your experience before we went through our loss--it took me about five years to understand that my grief WAS valid and that saying we lost a child was the truth. I'm so grateful to see you have so many beside you to help you through this time, to carry you through brokenness and to pray you through the shadow of death. I must tell you, though, eight years later, I'm much better off than I was even three years ago!! God is so good at bringing His balm in His timing. Thank you for your openness and willingness to share with us. I know it's hard to talk about, and I'm sure there were fresh tears streaming as you wrote this. But thanks be to God for His gifts and His sovereign hand, making something beautiful in the struggle.