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Thursday, April 23, 2009

REMEMBERING BRAD TODAY

TODAY was truly a gift. TODAY was a day to gather with family and remember our 25 year old nephew, my sister, Laura Lea's son. TODAY was a day to remember BRAD.
TODAY was a day to celebrate the truth that God is alive and interested in the details of our lives. "TODAY was the day that the Lord made and we DID rejoice and we WERE glad in it." Psalm 118:24 ( My Mama's favorite verse in the entire Bible. She passed away in October 2006 after only 4 months of cancer and she claimed this verse daily all of her life)
Yes, TODAY was a gift I will remember always.
It began at Atlanta Hospice Chapel with 40 family members and close friends, along with many of our nephew, Brad's caretakers from the nursing home he has spent the past 4 months at.
Just a little background for those of you that are unaware and may be wondering...On June 24, 2008, Brad was 24 when he fell onto the concrete from his six four height and suffered a TBI. (traumatic brain injury) We knew right away that his injury was extremely serious and he went through brain surgery 24 hours later. Though Brad did show occasional signs of wakefulness, he never knew us and really showed few significant signs that he would make a recovery, but we, his family, kept hoping and praying. God answered our prayers in a different sort of way...After ten long months, with frequent trips to the emergency room from Signature Healthcare of Atlanta where he was being cared for, Brad passed peacefully in his sleep on Sunday night, April 19, 2009, just after he reached his 25th birthday.
(see caringbridge.org re: bradlamkie)
Now, you might be saying or at least thinking, how can we "rejoice" over such sad circumstances? Here are some of the reasons: God's provision of excellent health care every step of the way, the love, support, and prayers from friends, the realization that when we seek God, we WILL find Him, (James 4:8 and Jeremiah 29:13) the comfort that is provided by food from friends and fellowship with family at a sad time like this.
After the service, we gathered in our home to share photos and memories of Brad's short life. We enjoyed chicken pot pie, salads, an array of incredible desserts, all prepared by friends who care. WE laughed, we cried, we shared smiles and sighs. We loved on each other and held each other tightly. Our daughter came home from college to be with us. Brad's cousins traveled over from Charleston to be with us.
My sister, Laura Lea, Brad's mother, took each niece and nephew's face and said, nose to nose, "TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF, YOU ARE IMPORTANT TO YOUR FAMILY."
They all, each one, listened intently.
Yes, TODAY was a gift.