Thursday, January 27, 2011

"A Day of Contrasts"...but mostly Very Sweet

Today was our sweet nephew Bennett's funeral.
While is was a day filled with tears shed for a little boy that died so young and for his family that misses him more than was also a day celebrating the beautiful, happy life that he lived.

This picture of Bennett, below, was drawn by a family friend of the Kjars (please excuse the reflection of the lights in the room)...isn't it absolutely beautiful?? My heart fills with the Spirit when I look at it because I know that Bennett was called home by his loving Father in Heaven and his brother, Jesus Christ. You'll see this picture again at the end of this post because I want to remember (and to remind anyone reading this) that while Bennett's passing is a tragedy as he is dearly missed by his family and loved ones, it is also a beautiful thing because he is Home.

The program were read by throngs of loved ones last night at the viewing and today at the was filled with loving words and sweet pictures of Bennett.
I loved that on the cover was written:
"There's one more angel in heaven!"

Bennett's two lovely, older sisters (Emma & Gracelyn), cousin (Kalia), and two friends (Lauren & Brianne) started the program with a tender song called "I Know He Lives" was sung by cherubic voices :) Emma & Gracelyn then read adorable, heart-felt "love letters" they had written to their baby brother. So sweet!

The beautiful hymn "Be Still My Soul" was played softly, yet passionately on the harp by Sharla (Adam's sister and Bennett's aunt). A perfect song for today.

Then it was Mandy and Dave's time to speak. They walked up to the pulpit hand-in-hand...and they stayed together as they spoke. They do everything as a team...they raised their sweet son Bennett together...and their joint message touched every heart in the room.

They said that a favorite family tradition of theirs is story time...Bennett loved story time! So they told us a story... I know I will not be able to give it justice, but I'll share a few of the parts that touched me deeply. They talked about how they were married on September 11th, 2001. It was a day of contrasts for them. Such beauty, happiness, love, and hope for their future together...yet despair for the all of the lives lost that day. And today was oh-so similar.

Many times during their remarks, my heart stung with pain in seeing their sorrow...yet most of their talk was filled with the numerous reasons they loved their little boy and what he did to bring such joy into their family's lives. They shared with us some tender, sweet memories they have of their little boy. Mandy and Dave smiled as they told us how he loooooovvved helping his Mommy sweep the kitchen floor (he would drag a broom around all the time) and be a big-boy by assisting his Daddy with the dishes. After they put him to bed, he'd say "Nigh-nigh...nigh-nigh..." and melt his beautiful Mama's heart. He was just starting to sing a few of the words to his very own "Bennett Song" that Mandy and Dave would sing to him (each of their children have "their own song"). And Bennett also recently started folding his arms for family prayer, how precious.
Overall, Bennett was a PURE JOY.

They both bore tender, heart-felt testimonies that they know Christ's Atonement is not only for sin, but for every kind of suffering. Our Savior has been there, and He will be there with the Wilkinson family as they go through some dark times ahead. They know that Christ rose from the dead...He lives, so that we may all live again. Mandy and Dave's faith is awe-inspiring!! They know that the covenants they made to each other and the Lord on September 11th are what gives them hope in this time of anguish and loss, and what will keep their family together, forever. They will see their son again. But for now, He is home with a loving Heavenly Father.

After the lovely, intimate service we proceeded to the cemetery.

{Adam was a pallbearer, along with Luke & Ben (Adam's brothers & Bennett's uncles) and Mark Stoddart (Bennett's uncle)...missing Danner (Adam's brother & Bennett's uncle) there, he is serving a mission in California and was dearly missed today}

Dave gave a beautiful, spirit-filled dedicatory prayer over his beloved son's grave.

And then we were all reminded of Bennett's love for balloons! :) So we were all able to write a note to little Bennett on a balloon and, in his honor, release them into the sky all together.

{adorable cousin Kalia}

{Grandma Kjar holding her balloon...loved her message: "Reach the *STAR*s..."}

{so much love on so many balloons...}

{our message to our nephew we adore so much}

As they rose into the sunny sky, everyone was in awe as we saw about seven bald eagles soaring above us. What a sight. Absolutely stunning.
{I loved the little "Kjar" bears around his sweet, tiny casket}

Back at the church, the Wilkinson's ward did a great service of making a delicious lunch for the [large] family of Bennett.
{There were multiple TV's around the church that had a slideshow of adorable pictures of little Bennett...loved it}

{I personally know Bennett had a little sweet tooth :) These cupcakes made me smile imagining him with frosting on his cute face}

While much heartache was felt today, it was also filled with joy as we celebrated the life of sweet Bennett and his homecoming to his loving Father in Heaven.


Unknown said...

While I read this post, I cried tears of sadness for Bennett's family for their loss, and for the fact that his life was so short. But I also had tears of happiness that everyone knows that Bennett is happily in heaven in the arms of the Father. I'm so sorry for your loss. You and your family are in my thoughts and prayers! And if you don't mind me asking, why did he die so young?

sarahmojazza said...

All I can say is I will forever and always do everything possible to save the life of a child... no matter what. Surgery and medicine has completely changed in my eyes after seeing this. Reading this brought the exact same feelings back of when I had a little dying 18 months old in my arms when I pulled him out of the water. I will hold on as long as possible to little kids so people aren't suffering like this. :)

Penny said...

My heart aches for the family, yet I feel so inspired by the words you shared! Lot's of love to all of you!

One Little Monkey said...

Thanks for sharing that! That was mere Perfect! I know i'm not the only mom out there, sick about this, and hurt for there family. but it also brings our biggest fears back to the surface! Its exactly what I needed, as now I worry about my sweet child everytime i put him to bed! I won't take any moment for granted, as I will Love my child and treat everyday as if its a gift! Again thank you for the sweet spirit you've brought into my heart!

Love the Walkers

Lauren Byers said...

oh i cried through this whole thing! I can't even imagine losing a child. looks like you are all a very strong family but still I can't imagine what you're all going through :(

Marlene Fredricks said...

I thought about all of you today as I realized that it was the time that the funeral was happening. My heart aches for your family.

Haley, your gift of writing has not only been an expression of your love for little Bennett and his family, but also shared the experience in a way that has touched many hearts of those of us that would have been totally unaware otherwise.

I appreciate seeing the pictures that you posted. For just a moment I felt as though I was right there and it brought tears to my eyes.

You're a sweet Aunt and my all of your hearts blessed and healed.

Kari said...

What a beautiful post. Your photos told a story of love and celebration of Bennett going home to his Father. I couldn't hold back the tears, but felt such LOVE!

thatjordangirl said...

This was so hard to read, I teared up countless times but you captured the service so beautifully. My love and prayers are with your family. That photo is beautiful and gives me a warm feeling knowing that little Bennett is in heaven and they're right, he is another angel.

Shay said...

I read this last night but couldn't form the words to write and still can't. I can't even imagine. My prayers are with your family.

Cara said...

Wow...once again I find myself totally lost for words.

I am covered in goose bumps reading this.

I absolutely LOVE that sketch - what an amazing, lovely and thoughtful thing for someone to do. I really hope that you and your family will find a way to deal with this. Words aren't enough to cover what I want to say...but you are so right. He is home. He is back home with Heavenly Father.

He must have been such a special, special little soul to be called back now.

Nell said...

Beautiful Haley, this is such a sweet post. What a perfect send off for a perfect little boy. The balloons are such a touching symbol. I can't imagine the grief your family is going through, but I'm so happy for you that you have such a strong and beautiful faith to guide you through. Lots of love xxx

Nicole Dianne said...

i was just browsing through your archives and came across the story of your sweet nephew. i'm writing this with tears in my eyes. the posts about him were truly beautiful and i love seeing your faith and testimony through that time. although this was unbearably tragic, he has gone home to be with his Father :) truly comforting.

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