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Come and find solace as you get to know us who share in this journey of grief. We have been praying for you and extend our deepest and sincere sympathy. We “hope” you experience comfort and peace in this safe haven of love and support.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

We Remember You, Chad...

This post is a bit different than what you may typically expect to read on this blog. Yet I feel led to share with you about a recent family gathering of mine that took place this past weekend. We had made plans to gather on this particular weekend for a special purpose and reason. While I wish I could say it was for a birthday or reunion or something of that nature, I can't. We planned to gather to celebrate the life of a very special family member. Chad Carlson. Chad was my step-brother. Sadly, Chad was killed by a drunk driver in 2000, and this weekend was the 10-year anniversary of his death.

While Chad was not a baby, or even a young child at the time of his death, he was a child nonetheless. A 28-year-old young man with what we thought was a full life ahead of him. Chad was survived by his sister, Gina, his parents (which included my own mother whom he called "Mo"), three step-siblings (including me), and other family and friends who loved him deeply. It was apparent to all that he and his dad were best friends and his sister meant the world to him. Ask anyone and they will tell you how caring Chad was and how he would do anything for you.

I wanted to share with you just a couple of the purposeful and deliberate plans my parents made as we came together to celebrate Chad this weekend. I think they will give you some inspiration as you continue to think about how you will approach the special days ahead in your own grief journey.

If you knew Chad, you knew he grew up playing baseball and even as an adult continued playing slow pitch softball. I recently learned that my step-dad used to be Chad's coach in little league. So, when thinking about things they wanted to display at our gathering, it made sense for my parents to include his old softball jerseys and a softball. The statue that you see was purchased especially for this weekend and will go in my parents' memory garden at their house, which is a designated area in their yard devoted to honoring and remembering loved ones who have died. The quilt in the background is referred to as "Chad's quilt" and was made in his memory and includes numerous pictures of him and family throughout.

The ball and the small glass container under it have special significance. Everyone was instructed to sign the ball to commemorate this celebration of his life. We were then encouraged to leave a message on a note and place it in the glass container. I was just telling my husband that I regretfully did not have a chance to leave a message as planned because my attention got diverted.

However, my message would have been something like this...

We remember you today, Chad, and we celebrate the fun person you were! I rejoice knowing that you knew the Lord and that you are with Him now. Take care of my babies....they are so lucky to have an uncle like you in heaven.

And I mean that with all my heart. Within the year after Chad died, I became pregnant with my first child and I recall grieving the fact that my son, Gabe, would never know Chad. Now, there are many nieces and nephews in the family who never really had the chance to know him like we had hoped. Still, by doing things like this to honor Chad and remember him, we are able to instill in them the significance of his life and to show what an important part of our family he was and is.

My parents also planned for a special activity for the kids to take part in. Mom made t-shirts for all the kids that said, "Chad's Day 2010" and they each had an iron-on transfer on them for the kids to color in all their own. It was so neat to see the kids gathered around the dining room table creating their own little works of art, which will be worn to remember Chad. Here is a picture of them hard at work...

I share all this because our last post was related to how we can approach the "special days" we all face, such as due dates, anniversary dates, or the holidays. I'm so thankful to my parents for being a great example of remembering and honoring Chad. And one day, I can only hope that my living children can say the same for me and my husband as we purpose to remember our precious babies.

Keep the ideas coming for things you can, will, or have done on such special days! Would love to share them as the holidays get closer....post your thoughts in the comments.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Teske; Thank-you so much for your post. I couldn't of ever been able to put it into words like you have. We do miss Chad so much, but knowing that he is Heaven,only makes it better to accept him not being here with us. Our family has endured so much over the years and will continue to go through life's challenges, but with the strength of our family we can see anything through. We have proven that over and over again. I thank God every single day for my family and the blessings God has given us. Brian and I totally enjoyed having as many of you here that could be here. Chad had to be so proud of all of you for remembering him and loving him. God Bless you Teske. I love you. MOM