Saturday, June 8, 2013

March Flashback: Max's Graveside Ceremony

{a huge thank you to our dear friends Ashley & Alden for capturing these beautiful images of Max's Graveside Ceremony. love you both.}

the graveside day was super intimate - which was perfect for how fragile i felt. i did not like planning these things. nobody does. i mean where do you even begin?

i remember driving around to different mortuaries with M - and sitting down at one point for some lunch and just being baffled that we were spending our day like that. how many people in that little cafe were driving around looking for grave-sites at mortuaries and had just stopped in for some lunch? it was an out-of-body experience, thats for sure.

back to our special, intimate day.

one moment stands out clear in my mind from this day. we got ourselves all ready, and the girls all dressed in the sweetest little spring dresses. we buckled them in their carseats. we started driving to the ceremony. it was silent in the car. and then, little Alice's voice cracked from the back, "i so sad." she was only 2 1/2 at this point and i remember her somber, sincere expression of grief struck me so deep. i told her that we were sad too, and that it was ok to be sad. and Ellie and daddy both chimed in that they were feeling sad, too. i think the bottom line was that we all wished we could be celebrating Max in a different way that day.

the day before his graveside had been a very rainy and cold day. i was worried that this day would be the same - but it proved to be a gorgeous spring day. the sun shone brightly and the sky beamed a bright blue. the grass shimmered green from the wet dew residue. and as heartbreaking of a day as it was, it was so beautiful, too.

one of the most challenging parts of the Graveside Service was speaking and sharing some thoughts. our Bishop had given us some advice that we may not want to be the ones to speak because we may be too emotional to do so on that day. but M and i talked about it and we just felt that since we were the ones who knew him, we were the ones who should talk about him and honor him. but the Bishop's advice was right - it was way more difficult to do than i had anticipated and i trembled through the whole thing. in spite of that, i'm glad i was able to share some thoughts about him and his precious life - because i feel like it was one small way that i, as his mom, could honor his pure and perfect life.  i know that M would say the same thing. and i'm so grateful i got to hear his thoughts and testimony as Max's dad. these were some special moments - moments that i felt Max so near. moments that i felt my testimony deepen in a way that it couldn't possibly have any other way.

one of the sweetest parts of the ceremony was singing the hymns. my mom accompanied on the guitar - and the spirit testified so strongly that the words we were singing were true. we truly are "children of God" and our "families can be together forever." i could hardly sing the words as i heard Ellie and Alice singing so faithfully and resolutely these profound truths - and i couldn't help but find so much peace and comfort in knowing that they were true.

my favorite part of the ceremony was after M dedicated Max's grave. we were trying to figure out a way to include the girls and their young cousins in this experience - to help them identify and understand somewhat what was happening. and so we got white balloons for everyone to sign/draw a picture/send a message for Max. then when everyone was finished, we brought the big bouquet to the open sky - and while my brother played my favorite song, "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" on the guitar, we let those balloons go - and watched them float all the way to heaven. i have tears streaming down my cheeks thinking about it. it was so therapeutic and cathartic seeing those balloons float to heaven. and i remember Ellie saying "i want to go with those balloons to heaven!" i couldn't help but wish for that a little bit too.  

 again, i'm so grateful to our loved ones who were there on this day with us. these are days you don't forget. these are days that change you forever. and yet that change isn't always bad. and i'm grateful so many have loved us as this experience has surely changed us ... hopefully for the better.

and to our sweet Max: thank you for letting us be your family and love you forever. we miss you always!



Jana Weaver said...

So amazing how well you put these beautiful, precious moments into words. What a wonderful way to remember Max!

Tiffany said...

so beautifully written, Marci…oh how I admire you, more than you know…thank you for sharing such intimate moments and these sweet pictures…you and your beautiful little family are simply amazing. love to you all xoxo

Torrie and the girls said...

simply beautiful. thanks for letting us all get a glimpse of these precious moments. you're such an example of strength and faith, thank you.

Jenny said...

I can't get over how beautiful these images are; Ashley and Alden did a fantastic job of capturing the day, and you always do a fantastic job of re-living everything through words and honoring Max. For some reason this reminded me of when we talked at McDonalds and the sweet old man was listening.

Anyways, I'm happy to be reading your blog again!

Ashley said...

The picture of you hugging your husband and the two of you hugging your girls. I had to stop and stare at them for a minute. They are so beautiful. The love of your family radiates off this blog. What a beautiful testimony and example you share with all of us. Thank you!!

Sara Morey said...

Oh Marce, I'm just sitting here with tears rolling down my cheeks. I can't imagine how hard that day must have been to say goodbye to his mortal body. But what a sweet way to send little messages to Max in heaven. Sending my love and hugs to you!