August 29, 2008




Dear Friends,


Tomorrow is Christian's Celebration of Life memorial... I've been praying for strength to help me get through the second most difficult day of my life... But, I'll admit, I'm having a tough time... a really tough time.




As I think about what I'd like to share about my son, one thing continues to resonate in my mind...and that is the legacy he's left behind in the hearts of many. Ryan and I are so completely humbled and thankful by the generosity of so many of you who have shared your hearts, your love, and your prayers for healing with our family.



When we learned Christian was diagnosed as having Trisomy 18 in early April, we were devastated. Everything we read and knew about the chromosomal defect was dismal. It wasn't something we would be able to fix through the miracles of medicine and we knew that our son would not have a long life here on Earth. But the thing that struck me hard was the medical phrase, "Incompatible with Life". It's harsh... completely void of any compassion for the families who are impacted by this terrible defect.


One thing Ryan and I were not willing to accept was that Christian's life would be a foregone conclusion... We weren't willing to accept that, just because T18 was considered incompatible with life, our son would not have a full and meaningful life. It's the main reason I started sharing our story with you... I've had little time to share my son with the world...but I wanted his life to have an impact...I wanted him to matter.


My son, my 4lbs., 14 oz. bundle of spirit and joy certainly HAS made an impact on so many people. He's made a difference to people he's never even met. My heart warms when I receive notes from complete strangers telling me they are more tolerant of their own children or they hug their kids more often... just because they've read our story. People have written notes letting us know their plans to volunteer for the Trisomy 18 organization or March of Dimes... people have even donated money in Christian's honor to the Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep Foundation. All these loving gestures from people my son has touched. I can go on and on with so many amazing stories of how people have been impacted in various ways. My son matters!


I am so proud and honored to be Christian's mom! And I am honored to call you my friends and family.


So, as I wind down this evening and begin thinking about what tomorrow holds... I will pray for strength and courage to get through the day and I pray the Lord provides me with the right words to honor my son.



Love,

Leah












32 comments:

Mrs. Mother said...

He was beautiful. I hope you are able to find peace at your service. Ours was beautiful and did fill my heart with peace.

Cathy said...

Leah and Ryan, He is so beautiful. I will be praying for you as your day will be so hard. He has blessed so many just by reading I can tell. You made the choice to give your precious son life, you also made the choice to do everything possible after his birth. You waited until God took him home. I can't imagine how you feel and don't have any fancy words or versus. I just pray for your pain. I am most grateful that you have precious memories.

asplashofsunshine said...

You got it right, I am one of those people that hug my two children tighter, feel the tickle of eyelashes for butterfly kisses, and just look at them a different way because of parents like you, and children like Christian. All of those who know your sweet family are lucky people. I hope they can fill you with the right words at the right moments and give you as many hugs as you can tolerate for all of us that will never have that chance.

On a brighter note, I had to point out how electric your smiles (and Daddy too) are in the photos with Christian. It is obvious how proud you are of your little guy, and so blessed to have him as your son.

sea star said...

The photos are so heartwarming and so full of joy as I look at your and Ryan's smile.

Praying for your peace today.

Laurie said...

Leah and Ryan,

My prayers are with you as you celebrate Christians precious life. The Lord will give you the strength to do this. Your pictures you share are beautiful and Christian is so perfect and I just love all of his hair!!! Such a sweet gift this little boy is to so many. And what wonderful parents you are to give him the BEST, to chose life for him, to let God work His plan for Christians days here with you. Your love for your baby is selfless and such an example to all who may be faced with this same tragedy, you both are such an inspiration. I will be praying all day for you as your pain is so fresh and unimaginable. May His peace carry you on this second most difficult day. I am so sorry for all you are going through and I love you guys.

Love and Prayers, Laurie in Ca.

Debbie said...

Our prayers are with you on this day.

Doripink said...

Dear Leah,
I have followed your journey but this is my first time commenting.
I have to say that first and foremost your son is beautiful and perfect in every way. Secondly, you and Ryan's strength, love and faith through this journey has been inspirational to me. My husband and I were not able to have children and have built our family throgh adoption. I remember how devasted I was being told I could never have my own child, but to lose a child is something I couls not ever imagine. I can feel your pain through the beautiful posts you and Ryan write. My brother lives in Naples and maybe one day I will have the honor of meeting Christian's parents and telling them in person how amazing they are.
My blog is privite, but you can email me at doripink@carolina.rr.com
My prayers are with you.
Dori

So Blessed said...

I am praying for you this morning...that God will give you His stength and that you will be comforted by the beautiful impact of you son's life.

Angie said...

Praying for God to give you strength today. Thanks for sharing Christian's life with us.
Sending love & prayers from Virginia.

Christena said...

Dear Leah,

You, Ryan and your family are in my heart today as you celebrate Christian's perfect life.

On the trisomy 18 foundation site I noticed today that a mother who lost her baby boy Rafi back in 2005 to trisomy 18 posted a link to an album she wrote as a tribute to him. I thought maybe some of the songs would speak to you and so I include the link here.

http://www.therafialbum.com

Love,
Christena

Betsy McK said...

Just wanted to say I'll be thinking of you all today as you celebrate your son. He is, and was compatible with life, because whether he lives here or in heaven, he LIVES!

Penny said...

I am praying for you and Ryan on this day. Praying that you can see through your tears and sorrow to celebrate Christian's life. He may not have tread here long but he touched so many hearts.
After our loss I thought the world could and would just stop and I would crawl into a hole. Three short years later I cradle my sweet precious 1 yr old daughter Kendall in my arms. Such a healing balm.

Judy said...

I know that there are no words that I can say that will truly bring you comfort, but I want you to know that I'm here and will continue to be...praying for you, asking God to grant you His PEACE that passes all understanding. I know that today is going to be a rough one, but I'm praying that you've found the right words to say and I'm praying that you will be strengthened by the friends and family who will gather around you!

Becky said...

Leah, my dear friend's 17 year old daughter had a heart/lung transplant. After almost two months, her body began to reject it and they were told that she would not survive. Terminal patients often feel fearful at night so while her mom spent the daytime hours with her, her dad spent the nighttime hours. They talked about the fact that God's plans for her did not include going to college, or marriage. God had other plans for her. She accepted that and her memorial service was a testimony to a 17 year old's faith in Him.

So He had other plans for Christian. Praying for you.

Kenzie said...

Leah & Ryan-

I know today is a very difficult day and unfortunately it won't be the last... However, I am so thankful that you have had an opportunity to share his beauty, his story, his life with so many. God has given you so much strength to be able to still stand and be so grateful for each and every beautiful moment with him. YOU chose life for Christian and our Lord is SO PROUD OF YOU BOTH!

Much love and many prayers continuing for you!
Kenzie

Kimberly J said...

Leah, I love the pics!! Especially the last one of you and Christian. So sweet!

Lifting you up in prayer for tomorrow. Keep us posted on how you are.

Love,
Kim

Anonymous said...

My prayers are with you and Ryan. Your baby boy is beautiful and has already touched so many hearts and lives. You and your husband are so strong for sharing your story and allowing God to work in your life and your sons. May God bless you with peace and in due time...happiness.
Donna from Alabama

Mandy said...

Thinking of you as you struggle to make sense of all of this. It will be hard, some days worse than others but you will always feel more whole. a better person, for having been Christian's mother. I know I always thought, in those difficult first days, that I would do it all over again, just for the opportunity to hold Madeline one more time. Hang on to the memories and remember that he is waiting on you in Heaven. God bless and know that you are being lifted up each day.

Mandy
GA
www.madelinegracehopkins.blogspot.com

Kim said...

Leah and Ryan, I just don't know what to say except that I am so incredibly sorry for your loss. Yes, Christian's life matters and so does yours. I am in awe of the spirituality that you both possess and it has inspired me to be a better person and a better mother.

I pray that God continues to give you the strength you need to make it through the most trying time of your lives.

Many hugs,
Kim

Catherine said...

Congratulations on the birth of your beautiful son! He is a gorgeous little guy! :-)
I am so sorry for your loss. I do not know what to say. I am the mom of a 2 1/2 year old daughter and a 2 1/2 month old son. I wanted to let you know that after reading the touching story of your son, I too, am a mom that hugs and kisses her kids more. Your son has left an imprint on my heart as well as my husband's. Thanks you for sharing your story and know that we are here in KY praying for you and your family.

Catherine Miller
catherinemiller23@yahoo.com

Debbie said...

I came across your story from T at Our Unforgotten Daugther. YES your son did matter and his life was important and you have done a wonderful job of sharing his story. Each day holds its own of pain and joy. I am so thankful that I got a small glimpse of who your son is!! May his light shine for years to come and may our Heavenly Father comfort you and your husband through this time of loss!!!

Melanieshea said...

Leah & Ryan,
I just came across your blog tonight. I have sat and read your story! My heart absolutely breaks for the both of you! The pictures are beautiful! I pray that you both feel God's arms wrapped around you both carrying you through this difficult time! Thank you for sharing your story!

Anonymous said...

You have a beautiful family, a son precious beyond words. You are his parents forever and someday will have a joyous reunion with him and an eternity with him will be yours. I offer these thoughts to you as a Mom who has lost a child and in my deepest moments of sorrow, knowing I will be with my daughter again gets me through. I will be praying for all of you as you travel this path. The days you had with him were so few but that you were able to look into his beautiful eyes is such a gift. He took your proud and smiling faces with him, and of course your love.
God Bless and take care of each other.

Quinton's fight with LUTO said...

Leah,
Your son is as amazing as you are. Thank you for sharing your story!I am truly sorry about your loss.
It really comforts me to find someone like me. I have realized God's purpose for my son is not to play football but to allow me the strength and experience to help others too. My son Quinton will be born Sept. 10, 2008 suffers from LUTO and is only excepted to live 4 to 8 hours after delivery. It is so rewarding to see that all the planning I've done and preparation for his arrival will be as rewarding as I ever wanted it to be!!! I am praying for you!
If you have any need for someone to talk to, Please email me at www.jandkschutter@gmail.com I am working on and will post with time foundation named Quinton's Quest
to provide support, research, and awareness for fetal conditions. I would love your input and the opportunity to share with you the grieving info I already have if you wish.
My biggest fear is how my husband is going to do. In time when he's ready if Ryan would be willing to talk it would be amazing!!!
I have all the faith in the world that your son's imprint on this world will be just as big as the imprint you will always have on your heart!!!
God bless you
Quinton's mommy

Heza Hekele said...

Such beautiful pictures! Your smiles are resonating further than you know.

Kim (marygracesummons.blogspot.com) said...

Ryan and Leah,
Thinking of you as this weekend has I am sure been the hardest in your life. I am continuing to pray and I will continue to celebrate Christian Dale Paige, a beautiful baby boy who matters deeply.
With love,
Kim

Lady-in-the-Making said...

Thinking of you today.....

*Hugs*

Kathy said...

Dear Leah and Ryan,

You have been on my mind and in my heart all weekend, knowing how difficult this time will be for the two of you. Yet, I know that you have honored, loved and shared Christian with family and friends and so many of us who may not even know you this side of heaven.

While I, and so many others, live too far to attend the celebration of Christian's life we were there in love and in spirit. I know you were able to share how amazing and loved and important little Christian Dale was in his all too short life.

I pray you feel the Lord's mercy and grace these days ahead.
Love,
Kathy

Baby Jacob said...

Leah and Ryan~
I have followed your blog as one of the first I've followed since my son's passing. I am so thankful you heard his cry and the 4+ days you had and always will have in your heart and I am saddened of his passing. I want you to know that striving for "healing" comes in many forms.....but one thing I have realized and talked with other grieving parents about is that one thing remains....they are always part of you.....so our goal of healing should be revolved around finding a new normal.....forever touched by our babies and living life to it's fullest WITH our loss....not "getting over it" as many wait for us to do or suggest.....it is living with our loss. God Bless you guys as you go on living as Christian's parents....

Karen Fahmer
fahmer.blogspot.com

Kim (marygracesummons.blogspot.com) said...

Thinking of you tonight Leah. I am sorry Christian isn't with you.
Am praying....
Kim

MT said...

All I can say is God Bless you and your family ! You are a strong woman and I commend you for your courage at this time. God is good he will carry you through this.

Laurie said...

Hi Leah and Ryan,

Just stopping by this Wednesday afternoon to let you know I have been thinking about you and praying for you guys. Praying for your hearts that must be so heavy and missing Christian. Asking God to bring just the right people with the right encouragement into your lives moment by moment as you begin walking this new road. May His grace be sufficient for each day and may you feel His presence with you wherever you are. He loves you so much.

Love and Prayers, Laurie in Ca.