A Mommy’s Eulogy

I am still in the process of figuring this grief thing out. In the meantime here are some precious memories from Gideon’s burial and Celebration Service.  Below is also the eulogy I wrote for me sweet baby son.

Dave's words at Gideon's burial brought such joy and peace to my heart, and all who attended. From a Daddy's heart he shared his love for Gideon and how much he touched our lives. With confidence he read 2 Corinthians 5:5-7 "Now the one who has fashioned us for this very purpose is God, who has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come. Therefore we are always confident and know that as long as we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord. For we live by faith, not by sight."

Dave’s words at Gideon’s burial brought such joy and peace to my heart, and all who attended. From a Daddy’s heart he shared his love for Gideon and how much he touched our lives. With confidence he read 2 Corinthians 5:5-7 “Now the one who has fashioned us for this very purpose is God, who has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come. Therefore we are always confident and know that as long as we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord. For we live by faith, not by sight.”

 

We sent up balloons as gifts to Sweet Sweet Gideon, all writing him love notes.

We sent up balloons as gifts to Sweet Sweet Gideon, all writing him love notes.

 

Mommy's last kisses.  I put on the darkest red lip gloss and cluster kissed his precious memory box, covering it with Mommy's love.

Mommy’s last kisses. I put on the darkest red lip gloss and cluster kissed his precious memory box, covering it with Mommy’s love.

 

Mommy’s Eulogy Given At the Service:

Today is a very happy day.  Dave and I have been so excited to come here with you today to be able to truly celebrate and talk about our sweet son Gideon.  Yes, there is no doubt that we ache and long for our son to be here with us.   But for today, for right now we CELEBRATE.  For God did not give us a loss in our son Gideon, He gave us a great great big gain.  You have never seen prouder parents than the two you see standing before you.  Gideon is ours, God gave him to us and we are humbled, honored, and blessed to call him our son.

I could stand up here and talk for days about Gideon.  We constantly stand in awe of our son and how God has chosen to use his life.  Today, this proud Mommy, with Daddy by my side…I would like to share with you who Gideon was and what he taught us.

Gideon was a warrior. 

I will never forget the very first time I felt him kick.  It was the night of Novemeber, 22nd, the night of his diagnosis.  After that he never stopped kicking.  Gideon’s heartbeat was strong, every single time I went to doctor’s it was 135, 135, 135…

It was literally as if he was constantly saying to me “Mommy I’m strong, I’m little but I am strong…you be strong too.”  And so we spent a lot of time wrestling with God over this.  How can we possibly be strong?  This hurts too much to be strong.  We are too sad to be strong.  We are too heartbroken to be strong.

But just like Gideon, our strength does not come from within.  In fact just the opposite, it came from a place of weakness.  Gideon, his name, his namesake in the Bible…none of it came from a place of actual strength.  It came from a place of submission and a willingness to say “Okay God, this army before me its HUGE and they are of great physical strength.  But because you are GOD and you are who you say you are I will charge forward with my tiny weak, small, frail, and fragile army of 300.

What you see before you is not strength, its 100% admittance that we are not and that if we are going to get through this life we better start being real with ourselves about what we are capable of (not much) and what we are actually in control of (nothing).

Before Gideon we lived fooled, seemingly unscathed by life and liking it that way.  But Gideon, through the pain and sorrow of his loss and the power and strength of his life, showed us that we were never really living at all.  NOT AT ALL.

But GIDEON, through God and his little army of 300 changed this family.

Gideon was Peaceful.

Strength and peace have never been so beautifully intertwined.  Gideon pointed us straight back to our Savior, reminding us every day that Christ came so that we would have a GIFT, not only in our next life but in this one too.  Christ came so that we could have PEACE in this life, while we are still here.  Before Gideon, I think we believed this in concept but never fully allowed its full reign in our day to day lives.

If someone ever asked me to give one word to describe my son, it would be PEACE.

When we found out that Gideon’s little body could not make it in this world even with the loss and the sorrow…Have PEACE Mommy! And it came.

When we realized that God had a longer plan for Gideon’s life than for him to come in December, even with the fear and despair…Have PEACE Mommy!  And it came.

When we knew that a c-section was his best way into this world, even with the physical pain and discomfort…Have PEACE Mommy!  And it came.

When we held him in our arms, even knowing we would not hold him for long…Mommy I AM PEACE!  It was there.

When I ache and cry and sob and moan and long and hurt to hold my son again, even when I wonder if the tears will ever stop…Have PEACE Mommy!  And it comes.

Gideon’s peace is not peace that you can touch or explain, its supernatural peace that only be experienced through trusting God fully.  It’s a peace that is a choice, it is an actual literal choice to be made.  A choice that lives right up alongside the pain, it’s a beautiful divine dance of knowing that in this life there will be pain and loss and sorrow…and its because of that that we cling ever tighter to the peace that is ours through choosing a relationship with God.

Gideon’s Legacy

At Gideon’s burial on Friday we wrote notes on balloons and sent them up to him.  As I was writing my note to him, I was really missing him…then it hit me.  That while I do not have him physically here with me, what he has left with us can NEVER EVER EVER BE taken away.  He is gone but his legacy of STRENGTH AND PEACE will be with us until it is our time to leave this earth.  And then I will get to touch him again!!

Thank you so so much for being a part of that legacy.  God has used Gideon’s STRENGTH AND PEACE to touch many and your willingness to let him into your lives touches Dave and I deeply.  You have given our family a great gift…one beyond words…because you let Gideon touch you.  You could have chosen to stay sad and to draw away from this difficult situation.  You could have run away because it was too hard, but you stayed with us and cried with us.  Today we thank you so much for being here to CELEBRATE with us. And to praise God with us!  We stand here and PRAISE GOD FOR GIDEON!  Thank you Lord, thank you for giving us Gideon.

 

 

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Thanks so much to Adam Coker from http://thegoodlight.com/ for all these beautiful pictures of the service.

 

March 31st, A Magical Day

I prayed for a legion of God’s Angels to be with us that day.

I prayed that God would bring peace and comfort to Gideon in a way that only HE can.

I prayed that I could find joy, deep joy in meeting my son.

I prayed for this all to happen in God’s timing and in God’s way.

As I opened my eyes at 4:30 am on March 31st I still did not know when and if God was going to answer these prayers.  But as I continued on to live the most intensely precious day of my life, every moment revealed His mercy.

That night I had started intense contractions, through the night I had to breathe through them and the pain was growing in intensity.  Gideon was coming one way or another and as I stood in the shower I praised God for the confirmation of His timing, but then I wondered…should I change our mind on the c-section?

As we arrived at the hospital I felt like the nurses looked at us like we had fourteen heads!  I was thankful for this because I could tell they all knew.  They just knew, and I understood that they didn’t know what to say or do.  I remember my first stroke of nerves came when I saw my doctor…this is real.  Its actually happening.

I told him about my contractions.  Then he checked Gideon…he was breech.  He was not breech two weeks before and I never noticed a huge turn in him, but sure enough God confirmed the “how.”  C-section on March 31st, as God had always intended.  I think my praise started at that moment and it didn’t ever stop the rest of the day.  Pastor Mitch came and prayed over us, it was time.  It was time for us to finally meet sweet Gideon.

Even now as I type this my heart is beating a thousand miles an hour.  Oh what I would have given to stop the clock.  To freeze time and never move forward, planted firmly in the few moments I would get to touch my son on this earth.  Oh to freeze time…

In all honesty, words cannot describe all that came next.  No word or utterance does justice to…

Hearing my husband say “He’s here.  He’s doing okay.  He’s not in any pain.”

HEARING my sweet son Gideon give out a little cry.  A cry!  A small sweet sound that only heaven can embrace.  The SWEETEST sound of his one…little…cry.

The soft gentle breaths he took while on my chest.  His body lay still, his skin on my skin, and his little mouth opened and closed with precious life.   If only for a moment, he was mine, with his mommy.

Looking over as my husband held his son and seeing his right eye opened ever so slightly!  I think I exclaimed with glee even in the midst of my pain and my crying, ‘His eye is open!  His little eye is open!”

He was pink, he was warm.  He was mine to touch, kiss, touch, kiss, and touch and kiss and touch and kiss.

He was always peaceful.  ALWAYS peaceful.  From the moment he came until the moment he left, he was Peace.  He will always be peace to me.  As my children touched him and kissed him, as he was baptized, as he was anointed, as he was bathed, as he was dressed, as he was prayed over, as he was sung to, and as he was loved…he was peace.

Handing him over was terrible.  Touching his touches for the very last time is a torment on this earth that only heaven will heal.  Tuesday morning brought tears for Dave and I that will scorch through our souls for all time.  A deep deep longing to have “yesterday” all over again.  The pain is immense and I especially find myself thinking of touching his toes, caressing his little legs, kissing his cheeks, and stroking his sweet sweet head of hair.  All of these things seared deep into me that I would give anything to get back.  YET EVEN STILL…even still

God’s Angels WERE THERE!  I saw them in the sky, visual proof for this Momma that my prayer had been answered.  This is a picture of the sunrise the morning Gideon Matthew was born.  I’ve never seen a sky like this in all my life and I never will again.

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This photo is 100% completely unedited, taken outside our front door.

Even still God’s presence was there and ALL of our prayers were answered.  All of them, without exception.  I cannot explain what happened, what is happening.  Truthfully I have no idea.  But though our pain runs deep there is joy in March 31st that is not of this world.  Gideon’s body is not mine and my heart bleeds every moment for him, but how can we be anything but thankful for the way God has blessed us through this little life.

March 31st, Gideon’s day, was a magical day.  I wish everyone of you, every person young and old could have been there to experience God’s doings through Gideon.  Those that were there…Mommy, Daddy, Sister Faith, Brother David, Brother Aaron, Grandma, Grandpa, Grandma Debbie, Pastor Mitch, Aunt Nancy, Aunt Jenny (with cousin Will in her belly due any day), Aunt Bre (with baby cousin in her belly too), Cousin Dawn, Uncle Lou, Dr. Sharawy, Nurse Melissa (not scheduled to come to work but came just to meet Gideon), Dr. Berkowitz (who shed tears as he shared that Gideon was with the Lord), Nurse Kim (who was also there with us in December when God had a change of plans for us), and Photographer Dawn…they all saw it too.  If you ask anyone of them they will tell you the beauty of that day.  What a gift.  What a gift.

Dawn’s pictures transcend this earth.  These pictures tell Gideon’s story.  My brother Nick has a gift, he doesn’t just make a slideshow, he takes the song and the pictures and he tells a story.  This time it was our story, Gideon’s story.  As you watch it may you feel like you were there with us, because you were.

 

 

Gideon Matthew Furlough

Today, words hardly do justice to the blessings that Gideon Matthew Furlough brought into this world on March 31st at 7:47am. He lived here with us for an amazing hour and a half.   The stories are numerous as are the unlimited ways God provided peace and mercy to our little family of six yesterday.

Over the next few weeks I will slowly unpack and share the details of yesterday, and how for one day heaven and earth seemed to have collided.  For now, I am going to let the pictures do all the talking.

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Gideon's baptism.  Pastor Mitch baptized sweet baby Gideon with water from the Jordan River where Jesus was baptized so many years ago.  Now Gideon is getting the best shoulder rides from the Lord Himself along streams of peaceful waters.

Gideon’s baptism. Pastor Mitch baptized sweet baby Gideon with water from the Jordan River where Jesus was baptized so many years ago. Now Gideon is getting the best shoulder rides from the Lord Himself along streams of peaceful waters.

 

Service Details and The Closing of a Chapter

My  heart leaps out of my chest most days, thinking about what is to come.  Is it really time?  Does this day have to come?  I want it to, yet I don’t.

The next time I write here I will be a different woman.  I will have been permanently, intensely, and forever changed by a baby named Gideon Matthew.  Regardless of what Monday holds, what miracles God may or may not have in store, or how I am holding up…I know I will be a new me.

I am daily humbled and thankful for how beautifully you have allowed Gideon into your lives.  You have let him touch you and speak to you and teach you and I could not be prouder of my son.  I imagine that God feels the same way about him.  Thank you.  Words don’t seem like enough, but thank you for letting him be so important.  Thank you for walking this painful road with us, thank you for being a part of the chapter of waiting, wondering, and weeping.

A new chapter is coming.  I have always been thankful for the seasons of life.  That no matter what life brings, its only for a season, and that God always brings Spring after the Winter.  In all honesty I have no idea if the Winter part of this all is coming or going, but I do know that God will be there to guide me through whatever is to come next.

This time next week a picture will be where my words once were.  A face to finally go with the name.  A little person to bring both joy and sorrow, may we be strong together.  May we stand in confidence knowing that though this is hard, so hard, harder than anything I have ever had to do…God did so much through Gideon’s presence and may his little face be a remembrance of that.

Even now as I write he is kicking.  I will savor each and every kick this week, I will soak them up deep.  I keep asking myself if I really think I am going to be okay, if I will be able to make it through this?  Does this really have to happen?  Would I do it all again?  Lies and fear always try to move in, casting doubt and sadness and terror.  Then God gently whispers once more:

“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”  Deuteronomy 31:6

“The Lord is with me; I will not be afraid.” Psalm 118:6

“Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.” Lamentations 3:22

And so I take a deep breath, whisper praise in my soul for the life that is still mine to carry, and wait for God to appear to me in the form of my little baby son.  If God does decide to take him home on Monday, all and any are welcome to come celebrate with us.  The details of his service are below.  Here goes nothing.