Everyone just flocked to Washington, not knowing what to do, but knowing they had to be there. The days were long and spent at Cole and Rachel's house. They wanted to be around family, and the house and yard were always full. Rachel's family was simply amazing, too. The two families really just meshed. (They are from the island closest to our hometown). The first couple of days were so busy getting things in place (writing obituary, funeral arrangements, and arriving family members). The day I arrived was also the viewing.... I pray to God I will never see anything like that again. Seeing the grief was just too much. Nobody ever wants to see somebody they love so much, hurt like that. I will never forget that day...it makes me emotional just thinking about it. Jace looked so perfect. I just stared at him, thinking he should be breathing. It doesn't make sense. This will never make sense. Those first days were also so hard, because every time someone new arrived at the house, the overwhelming sadness would begin all over again. Friday night, Rachel's brother-in-law BBQ'd Alaskan salmon and the drinks were flowing. Everyone had been so very sad and consumed with everything, that it was great for people to smile and laugh again, and enjoy the company of family we don't get to see that often. It was nice to see my Mom, Nealy, Brooke, so many aunts and uncles and cousins that I haven't seen in way too long.
I also feel so incredibly blessed to have the friends and support that I do. The outpouring of love from my friends was just so amazing. The prayers they sent to our family and the kind words they sent were overwhelming. My friend Kara gave me Alaska Airlines passes for the trip, which was so very nice. It was nice to not have to worry about the cost, in the midst of everything. So many also donated to the Go Fund Me (Jace Appleman). Kim held my hand during the service, Misty came to spend time with the family, Tammi drove all the way up just to have breakfast with me. My heart melts, just thinking of all of the love. The circumstances of it all are the worst thing, but out of it all, came a love that knows no bounds, that's for sure.
Anyway, today is Cole's birthday, so I thought it was fitting to write about our love for him today. Cole's always been so great with kids. My boys adore him. He and Caleb have a very special ritual of wiping boogers on one another. Big sigh :) Cole and Rachel are great parents to their daughter Kendyll, and Cole is a father figure to Rachel's ten year old son, Jerrod. Cole was born to be a father. We've always known this. So, I ask you to include Cole, Rachel, Jerrod, Kendyll, and Jace in your prayers. Please. This makes me cry....please pray for them. I pray that somehow they will be able to get through this.
I'll leave you with the song I played for the slide show at the service.