I thought that I would post the letters that we wrote to Austin, and that were shared at his memorial service. This one is from Duane and I.
I will post the letters from Brianna and Alisha on tomorrow’s blog…..
Oh, Austin…..our sweet and precious son! Words cannot express the pain we have in our hearts right now. It is so unbelievable that you are actually gone. It seems so painfully final that we will never be able to see or touch you and hear your voice again. How can it be when your presence is still so strong wherever we are?
Austin, you are our one and only son and have been such a strong and godly example to your four sisters. Your influence will forever effect each of our lives and we cannot imagine life without you. Austin, because of your intense on-going health issues, it seems like you have, for the last 16 years, been so much of the focus of each of our lives. You never took advantage of that but you were always sensitive and did what you could, especially for your sisters. You liked to buy them special things when our plans were again changed because you were sick.
Bud, you have been though more physical pain in your 16 years then anyone we know, yet, you never became bitter or questioned God’s sovereignty. We never talked about the details about what you would want at your funeral because you didn’t want to think or worry about tomorrow….you just wanted to enjoy life today. Your optimistic outlook and strong faith in God has been such a blessing and challenge to both of us. Austin, because it seemed so unreal that you could look at life the way you did, we went though some counseling sessions with you and the counselor confirmed what we had sensed all along. It was God’s grace and not denial that you were experiencing. You loved and read the “heroes of faith” series many times, but Austin, we want you to know that you are our hero of faith! You lived that out every day of your life. How many 16 year olds could have a peaceful smile on their faces as they are being wheeled to the operating room for another heart transplant? You had a deep peace in God that few people experience. You have touched more people in your 16 years than the two of us ever will.
You didn’t let life’s circumstances get you down; you were always the life and laughter in our family. You loved to joke and tease and we cannot begin to describe how much we will miss that! We will miss the many discussions we had daily about something Dave Ramsey said. You loved to listen to his financial advice. We will continue to see images of you talking and laughing with Brianna and Alisha as the three of you would work on the dishes or you would do funny things on the computer with them. We see you sitting there reading a book to Chantaya or showing her games on your I-Phone. We will miss seeing you holding Kyra or trying to be the first one to get a big smile from her every morning. Even though your were 16, you were not to old to go to Mom for a daily hug and kiss.
Austin, you led the way for life on this earth for your sisters and now you are also leading their way to eternal life. Oh, how deeply your Mom’s heart will feel the pain of never feeling your arms around her or being able to take care of her precious son.
You still sat on your Dad’s lap whenever you had the chance. You loved to be with your Dad whenever you had the opportunity. If you had to go to the hospital, you were excited that at least you had that special one on one time with your Dad again. Your dad was your hero and best friend and his heart will always ache for you, his son.
We are so grateful for the many wonderful choices you made in your life. Your calling into manhood service will be etched in our minds as you quoted Matthew 5, 6, and 7.
Of any of our children, you were the one who wanted to go into the stores when Mom was running errands. If it was going into the mall, you would have the mall map pulled up on your I-Phone and would help her find he shortest way to the store she was looking for. Austin, you were so gifted with electronics and your joy was when you were able to help us or anyone else with computer problems. You loved to give to people in this way and never wanted anything in return. You knew so many people had given to you, and this was one way you could give back to others. Your intellectual mind was such a special gift that God gave to you and you found such fulfillment in using it to help others.
Austin, we struggle so much when we realize that we have heard your last laugh, felt your last hug, heard your last “I love you”, but we are reminded that while we are in the land of the dying, you are in the land of the living. You are so happy for so many of the last….your last heart biopsy, your last experience of digging and poking for blood work and IVs, your last time of being sedated, your last time of experiencing a surgery or affects of chemotherapy. Austin, you will never experience pain any more! You are finally free! You never were able to go from your drivers permit to your drivers license, but we believe now you are driving on the streets of gold! You will be there to escort us when we all get there. Austin, you loved the book”90 Minutes in Heaven” and read it over and over again. Now you are experiencing all the joy and splendor of heaven. We have placed you in the Father’s hand so many times and now we know you are truly being held on Jesus’ lap and He is looking into your eyes and is telling you that He is so proud of you for being faithful and you truly have fought a good fight, and Austin, you have conquered so much in your life and now you have conquered so much in your life and now you have also conquered death and you are victorious! By God’s grace, we won’t focus on what could have been, but on what you did accomplish for the Lord during these 16 short years.
We pray that it will be very soon that we will all be together in Heaven with you. You will forever be in our hearts.
We love you! -Mom and Dad