I am supposed to be training for a half marathon that I signed up to run at the end of April. My training has obviously gotten sidetracked over the past few weeks, so I’m contemplating when I need to get back at it (sooner rather than later). Since I’m a few weeks into the training plan, I have several “long” runs that are coming up. When I trained for a half in the fall of 2010, my course that I ran on my longer runs took me past the White Chapel Cemetery in Gladstone. This cemetery is about a mile from our house. It’s a cemetery I’ve passed by probably hundreds of times not only on my runs, but when I go to Price Chopper, Hobby Lobby or when I head over to Liberty for the many reasons I go there (shopping, friends, etc.). Any time I’ve passed by this cemetery and I’ve seen people visiting a grave, I think to myself that I feel bad for them, but then I go about my day much as anyone would. On Friday, February 24th, we buried our sweet little angel Carter at White Chapel Cemetery. We’ve suddenly become those people that I used to feel bad for. Jeff and I went to visit Carter on Sunday and as we stood at his grave, probably 20 cars went by. I was uncomfortable because I hoped so badly that the people in those cars weren’t feeling bad for us like I did with all those people before. The cemetery has a section called the “Little Angels” section that they have reserved specifically for children. For some reason, it comforts me to know that our little angel is surrounded by several other little angels right beside the pond in the cemetery. I am so thankful that we live so close and we can go visit him whenever we want. I know we probably won’t always live so close (at least I hope we move to another house at some point in our lives), so we will visit him as often as we can and I will try not to worry about all of those cars driving by.
Saturday was the Celebration of Life service for Carter. Jeff and I were humbled by the amount of people that came out to support us and our families. People we hadn’t seen in years came by to offer their condolences. There are no words to express how much it meant to us to see each and every one of you that were able to attend. And to those that weren’t able to attend, but kept us in your thoughts that morning, we thank you as well. Carter’s pediatrician, his doctor from Children’s Mercy and even one of the nurses that helped to deliver him all stopped by for either the visitation or the service. I was amazed that the labor and delivery nurse remembered his delivery, but as you’ll read in a minute, it’s no wonder how she remembered our sweet Carter. :o)
We asked Jeff’s sister to write a Celebration of Life “eulogy” of sorts that Pastor Seth read during the service. With her permission, I’ve included that as part of this entry. It was fantastic, getting lots of laughs and probably a few tears from those present.
“September 30, 2011- Text from the expecting Daddy….
2:12 p.m. – “She just did some test pushes. They are going to get the room ready here soon. So we are moving right along.”
2:48 p.m. – “Everything going down now…”
4:13 p.m. – “Carter Benjamin is here, 10lbs 12oz 23 inches. Everyone is good.”
That is how I was introduced to our wonderful nephew, Carter Benjamin. After reading the text in the waiting room of North Kansas City Hospital, I had to pick my jaw up off the floor. My Mom and Dad of course wanted to know why my reaction was the way it was. I told them everything was good and that I would let Jeff tell them the particulars, knowing he wouldn’t want to miss the look on their faces once he informed them that Darcy just gave birth to a toddler. Of course, Mom and Dad delivered a reaction we were hoping for. Sympathy instantly went to Darcy and I knew she was thankful for the epidural!
Following that momentous day, our lives became richer and richer. We got to marvel at the wonder of a newborn’s Mohawk. (Bill was jealous!!!) We even laughed at the fact that Carter’s weight shortly after his birth was quickly approaching his twin cousins who were 1 ½ years older than him. Finally, the family got to watch Jeff and Darcy’s life change. They too joined the army of parents who let loose and became, dare I say, gooey. (How could you not with a smile like Carter’s and those beautiful sparkling blue eyes.)
Carter’s cousins were also enjoying the change to our family. Lucas constantly wanted to know what “Carter B.”, as we liked to call him, was doing. Lily was always very concerned when Carter lost his pacifier. And as for Jack, he was ready to play whatever game Carter was playing, even if Carter wasn’t looking for a playmate.
One of the last fond memories Bill and I have of Carter is that of Super Bowl evening. Carter B. and his daddy were sitting on the couch and Carter was “yelling” at the TV, just as I have watched my brother do for so many years. I thought, poor Darcy, she is going to have to go somewhere else to watch the KU games when Carter gets older if she plans on being able to hear any of the game. After that, I got to have a good cuddle with Carter and sing some of our favorite songs together. I cherish being able to have that moment, especially since it would be my last with our Carter B.
To Carter B… Our lives have been enriched by having you a part of them, though it was too short. Yet in those four months, you have given us memories for a lifetime. As we carry those memories with us we will be forever grateful to you for always brightening any day. We will love you forever and always.”
Oh, sweet Carter B. We are so thankful to have been able to spend 4 ½ amazing months together and be as gooey as we could. I’ve heard from so many people over the past few weeks that they are hugging their babies more often. I’m so glad to hear that because I think we all get caught up in all the silly stuff in life and don’t take the time to focus on what’s really important. I’m just as guilty as anyone of this. What is important is the time you spend on your relationships with friends and family. I hope that as the weeks go on and we get farther removed from this, that people continue to give their babies (no matter how old they are) an extra squeeze and smooch each day and that they will tell their babies they love them. One thing I’m so confident of is the fact that I know Carter knew he was loved by us. Jeff and I probably told him 20 times a day how much we loved him. He probably got that many smooches from us too (maybe more) every day. I liked to call Carter my little love bug. Oh, how I miss my little love bug…
I’ll leave you with this poem that we found and used in the bulletin for Carter’s Celebration of Life service. It pretty much sums up all of my feelings. Thank you again to everyone for your continued prayers and support as we move into the next phase of our lives. We will forever be thankful.
There is a special Angel in Heaven
that is part of me.
It is not where I wanted him
but where God wanted him to be.
He was here but just a moment
like a night time shooting star.
And though he is in Heaven
he isn’t very far.
He touched the heart of many
like only an Angel can do.
So I send this special message
to the Heaven up above.
Please take care of my Angel
and send him all my love.
Darcy & Jeff