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Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Ten Years Ago Today

Max and Zachary on their "one fine day"
It is something that you can't un-remember. The details of that day still play in my mind as I sit and ponder. I even remember what meal was cooking on the stove when the phone rang. We haven't ever had that meal here in this house again. It is hard to believe that it has been ten years already.

Ten years ago today...something you wouldn't wish on your worst enemy let alone for your brother and his wife. It was the Christmas season and our minds were on Christmas things, present buying, decorations, planning food for family events. That night we were getting ready for our church's Christmas program.

We didn't make it to the church. Instead we drove north to Mason City crying and trying to explain death and heaven to three four-year-olds who were so sad and yet still so curious and full of questions. My secret hope was that they would just stay quiet once we arrived because they were known to say whatever was on their mind.

Max was with our family for 3 1/2 short months. Since they were living in Mason City when he was born, we visited together only two times in person in his little lifetime. Max is Zachary's "twin cousin". Once the grandchildren started with Jeremy and Loretta's Jake and Marissa, Mom and Dad went from 2 grandkids to 8 in one year with the arrival of their twins, Johanna and Bryan's Brianna and our triplets in the span of one year.

Since then, each cousin has been born within 6 months of another. Zachary was born in June and Max came in August of 2006. He often will talk about Max and how he wishes Max could stay here. He wonders what video games Max would like best, if he would play an instrument, or play soccer.

I love this picture...Betsy's sleepy new mommy again
We traveled up to Mason City when Max was about a month old. Betsy and I had been pregnant together and had shared that great experience. I had told her about this great onsie outfit I had found for Zachary that said "Max and Me" on the front. Zach was decked out in that when we arrived.

We hung out there for a few hours and talked about how things were going with a newborn and of course took a bunch of pictures of our boys. I always think of that day as our "One Fine Day". Sy and Betsy were weary with the "we have a newborn in the house" look but there were smiles and it was a happy day.

That is what I like to remember when I think of Max. That fine day and then sometimes Zachary and I imagine what he would be like today, a ten year old just like him. We get sad sometimes as it should be. Max is definitely a very tangible "treasure in heaven" for our family. We look forward to being able to see him again.

We pray for Josiah and Betsy on his birthday and December 13th in extra measure. The pain is still there but let me tell you, I am so proud to be their sister. As I have watched them and been close by these last ten years, I have seen their faith grow and I have seen them share their story with others who need to hear it. I see them loving and serving people and I see the spirit of Max in their lives as they give and love those around them.

In the midst of the worst thing any parent can experience, they have turned toward God not understanding how this could be His best for them, but trusting and moving forward with a faith that works. You can see it as they raise their three boys here on earth and you can see the beauty of an eternal perspective.

We all got a clearer a glimpse into eternity when Max left ten years ago.

Love you Sy and Bets, Syler, Eli and Jonah!


  1. Jody, this is beautifully written. These are memories I had never heard before about Max. Thank you for sharing them.

    1. I am glad I can share. It is our memories that make those empty spots in our hearts full every time we remember.