Recently, I attended a dear friend’s great nephew’s funeral service; a thanksgiving for his life. Jayden was just eleven years young when he was called home to meet Jesus. I’ve only been in Jayden’s presence a handful of times, but have followed his story and his life since he was diagnosed with Sanfilippo Syndrome, eight years ago.
Hundreds of people came together to honor a beautiful soul; which included overflow seating in another area of the considerable sized church. What I witnessed at the celebration of his life, touched my heart to it’s core.
Pictures of this precious child were projected on large overhead screens, as beautiful music accompanied the memories. Tears of joy and sorrow were sprinkled throughout the room, and my heart ached for the family. Losing a child has to be one of the most devastating things to experience. I can’t begin to imagine the heartache, as writing this post has tears streaking my cheeks.
During the celebration of thanksgiving, a young man spoke of the impact Jayden and his parents had on his life. It was his testimony of the miracle Jayden and his God had on this young man. He was grateful for the love and grace Jayden had unconditionally given him. It was heartfelt, sincere and filled with love, hope and understanding.
Next, Jayden’s Dad talked about the dreams he had for his son’s life; one of which was basketball and how the dream felt short for himself, but would share it with his son. After the disease had taken Jayden’s ability to dribble and shoot the ball with ease, his Dad found something far greater and more rewarding. He saw the light Jayden was shining deep into his own heart; and that God had a special plan for his son. It was love; Jayden radiated love to everyone he met.
Jayden’s Mom spoke next, and I couldn’t believe she or her husband had the courage to speak through their sorrow. She wrote a letter to her son that was heartbreaking, beautiful and brave. A mother’s love is so raw and so real; as I choked back tears of my own. Both Jayden’s Mom and Dad made people laugh, cry, and remember their precious boy’s life.
As the thanksgiving service ended, it was announced the family would like everyone to gather together outside to help sisters Brooklyn and Elliotte release balloons into the heavens; purple hearts representing Sanfilippo, and white balloons I’m guessing for purity, hope, grace and love. As hundreds of balloons were released into the air, it was as if a flight of angels were soaring into the heavens to meet Jayden at the door. I can just picture him running to greet them.