Thursday, August 21, 2008

Held

4 years was too little. We let him go. We had no sudden healing. To think that providence would take a child from his mother while she prays is appalling. You know the rest of the words. They have been resounding in my head for the past few weeks. I feel the Lord gave me that song as a comfort but also a gentle preparation for the future. Sometimes as I listened I would just weep, other times feel immense joy and peace. Now I just feel sadness. Sadness at death and loss and that we will miss him so much it hurts. I already do miss him...his sweet personality, his great love, energy, radiance. I truly do feel special that God chose me to be his mommy.

I have always felt an impulse to tell Joseph how proud I am of him. When he was born and I got to hold him for the first time, those were the words that kept rolling off my lips. "I'm so proud of you, Joseph. You did such a good job." It felt a little strange to me, but I felt like the words were not really coming from me...that God wanted me to say this to Joseph. Even as he grew up, I always sensed that he loved encouragement and it spoke volumes of love to him, more than a hug or a kiss. He longed to please, to do the right thing, to make mommy and daddy happy. Today as he was holding on to life with a thread, I sensed I needed to tell him what a good job he was doing. "I love you, Joseph. You are doing so great. I am so proud of you. Just relax and go to Jesus. Mommy is here with you." I think he was holding on, maybe not sure if he was failing us somehow by letting go. But the hospice nurse said they can hear everything, so I was more sure I wanted to tell him how great he was doing. Allen sang him his favorite song, "The fox song," (by Nickel Creek) then I told him his final "Target story" and he went to his final rest as I was telling him that story. As gruelling and heartbreaking as his last few hours were, those final moments were nice and I did feel he was at peace and went very peacefully.

Now we are left with the pain, the memories, the knowledge that there will be no soccer games, no first day of school, no more cars and trains strewn all over the house. Oh, how I will miss that. How I will miss being needed. He has been my job, my responsibility for the last four years. My life has been devoted to raising him, loving him, teaching him, being there for him, protecting him. Even after he died and he was lying back there on our bed, I felt the need to be with him as others said goodbyes. He always wanted me with him and I felt I needed to protect him and make sure he was all right with people coming in. I feel like my other half is gone. He has been my constant companion. I always felt like he needed me so much, and sometimes I wished he didn't. Now I realize I need him too.

I am very thankful for Holly. She is a bundle of joy and delight, and has kept me laughing and dancing in the midst of this intense pain. God in His wisdom gave us Holly at just the right time, and she is His gift to us that I know will keep us from falling into despair. These verses have been on my heart last night and today: "Behold I am with you always, even unto the end of the age," and John 10:27-29: "My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father's hand." This last verse, all I could remember was that "no one can snatch them out of my hand," so I looked it up and found the whole passage so comforting. At a time where my feelings betray me, God's Word is giving us great hope.

We are still working on the details of Joseph's memorial and funeral, but we are hoping it will work out to do a memorial on Sunday afternoon/evening and have the funeral on Monday. We will definitely post when we know for sure. Thank you all for your kind comments...they truly have been a great comfort and encouragement.

90 comments:

Anonymous said...

GIllian, How is it that I have laid awake at night and pondered during the day what words of encouragement I could give to you and in the end you ironically encourage me. Thank you for taking the time to post and 'comfort' all of us who are going to the blog to look at Joseph's picture "just one more time" all day and grieving. Sometime I wish I wasn't a mother because I am terrified of the pain that I know would come if anything happened to my children. I read the posts and I know so many of us are trying to articualte how we have no idea how you and Allen are doing it. Last night I had the thought that maybe God was allowing me to carry some of it for you--a tiny, little piece - and it made me happy to be so sad. Someone wrote that they had never met Joseph and his story had changed them and I feel the same way. Again, Scott and I are praying--praying so much.

love,

paige

Jody (atlanta) said...

You are amazing Gillian. Thanks for allowing us to be with you and for being so honest on this roller coaster. I am extremely sad, but am trying to find the peace with Joseph being pain free and up in heaven eating Moe's and driving the unlimited NEW cars that God got from the 'Heaven Target' just for his arrival.

No doubt that Joseph knew and knows how loved and proud you are as his mommy.

My heart breaking for you all and memories of fun times(so many to choose from) with Joseph, Holly and you are running constantly through my mind.

He touched my life and my girls life immensely. We love you and are mourning for you. You know I am here for you...

Love, Jody

The Johnson Kids said...

I just for a minute want to take the hurt and sadness you are feeling away from you because I can't even imagine how unbearable it is right now. I so admire you as a mother and hope I can be half as strong as you. I was thinking about the time you were telling me that Joseph wouldn't go to preschool because he wanted to be home with you so bad. I am so glad you were able to spend every day with him. Thank you for taking the time to share your feelings with us. It means so much to feel connected to you during this very sad time. I am so sad with you.

courtney said...

I have hesitated to write any words b/c none seem even remotely sufficient. Joseph was so blessed to have you as his mommy. Although I watched more from a distance, I still watched. And you were so patient with him and you seemed to know what he wanted and needed at all times. And as a mom, I know that's not easy or even natural most of the time. And Jen and Kathy would tell me how special your relationship with him was all the time. Joseph's life is a timeless testimony to so many of us. And that includes all of his favorite people- you, Allen, Holly. Thank you for letting us love him and intercede for Him with the Father. It has been and will continue to be such a pleasure to do so. I have always know that Allen was destined to do great things; even when he was little. He's always stood out and been so special. And, I've heard those same things said about you, Gillian. And now, we all know. You were chosen to be the parents of Joseph Peabody. How the Father knows us so well. Love to you all and prayers for overwhelming comfort and peace.

Anonymous said...

Gillian,

I still remember bringing you guys food not long after Joseph was born - Allen was holding Joseph and Joseph was wearing little blue jeans - you called them his "cool guy outfit". I also remember him rolling over by himself a few weeks after he was born when we were with you guys watching UT vs. Florida. Joseph, from the beginning, has always been a special little boy and someone to be proud of.

And, I am so proud of you and Allen. You all are a beautiful picture of faith even in the times of questioning and mourning. I know your thoughts and ponderings are beautiful gifts to the Lord.

The rain here in Florida has been a constant reminder for me of the stormy days you all have been experiencing emotionally. I pray the sun will come out again for you all. I do believe you will come forth as gold in all of this and pray for you and your family in this sorrow.

Love,
Catherine Morris

Sara Wade said...

Gillian, you and Allen amaze me... the work of Christ in you amazes me. We will lift you all up in prayer continually.

Love,
Sara

Anonymous said...

I am so sorry for your loss. You and I are total strangers as I came across your blog through a a Facebook friend's group listings. Your strength and conviction are inspiring. I am thinking of you and your family during this difficult time. ~A friend in Chicago.

Jiggs said...

Please try to open your ears to hear these words from Joseph:

"I love you, Mommy and Daddy. You are doing so great. I am so proud of you. Just relax and know that I'm with Jesus. And I'll always be here with you."

With Love, and Prayers, from Kansas City ...

Paige Cotton said...

I am amazed at your love for the Lord and your ability to give Him the glory during SUCH a heartbreaking time. I have a 4 year old son and just do not understand how you can have lost something so precious. Maybe in heaven we will all understand. I will pray for you and your family. I sit here with tears streaming down my face and don't even know what words to write. Only God has healing powers for our souls. God will bless you for being a witness to so many. You will never know what your words and spirit may do to change the world - all the souls that may be saved because of your loss. Peace for you is my prayer. Love, Paige Cotton (Franklin, TN)

Rosheeda said...

I dont' even know you guys, but I found your blog thru another blog and I woke up with you on my heart this morning. Know that God is sovereign and that in all things, God's Will prevails. No words give comfort in loss; just know that God is right there and that He has people praying for you guys - even total strangers...

Ruthanne (Mayfield) Szenasi said...

I second Paige's comment about the irony of you encouraging and comforting me when I have been praying and praying and praying for YOU to be encouraged and comforted. There simply are no words sufficient...but I have been hearing the words to the song "Held" all morning in my head and heart. The fear that I might lose a child has gripped my heart since the moment my 4-year-old son, Lincoln, was born. Watching this process with you guys has done something amazing. God has begun to break down the fear that imprisons me and show me that, while He never promised a life free of suffering, He does promise to hold me in the midst of much suffering. Oh, how do people live without Him?! I love you, Gillian. For your incredible faith, for your genuine and transparent heart, and for your wise words. Truly Joseph was one blessed little boy to have you for his Mommy.
~Ruthanne

randibisme said...

I couldn't sleep and cried all night. When I woke up, I am still crying. What a beautiful and precious little boy your son was and will always be.
Thank you for opening up to us and letting us grow in our faith through your little boy Joseph.
Loving and praying for you all,
Randi and the boys

Reed's mom said...

As everyone else has stated you continue to amaze me Gill. As Paige stated above, how is it that you minister to the rest of us, in the midst of your pain, hurt, and grief. You are so right, what a privilege and blessing that you were chosen by God to be the Mommy to this precious boy. You and Allen are continually on the forefront of our hearts and minds as we lift you up in prayer throughout the day, praying for your strength. What a testimony of great faith you are! We love you!
The Willis Family

Anonymous said...

Even though my heart is grieving for your entire family, I am also filled with such gratitude for Joseph's life. Thank you for allowing us to share in his (and your) journey in some small way. May our great God, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, be with you in these difficult days.

Julie (friend of Jennifer's in Memphis)

burningwithpassion07 said...

I 'stumbled' upon your blog through a link on another website--but I know that it was not by accident.

You typed out some of the words to Held and it just confirms how amazing our God is. Our county fair is going on right now, and last night they hosted a talent night. I sang "held" because it was in my heart all day long to sing. At the time, I knew nothing about you or your family, but I knew that song was for someone--even if it wasnt someone actually there. Hundreds of miles apart, God was bringing his people together through song.

Just know that you and your family is being prayed for even right now.

You are being loved at this very moment and are truly beind held in the arms of our loving Savior!

Love in Christ,
Taryn Wright
Greenville, OH

notes from em said...

Gillian,
What sweet words, from the Lord.
Thank you so much for sharing Joseph with all of us, near and far.
I too awaken in the night to pray for you all, and for your family that surrounds you. I have nothing to offer but my prayers and love. Please take them from me and from all the others that offer as well.
Praise the Lord for the body of Christ, and know that we are continuing to pray for you all.
love
em

Abbie & Hunter said...

Thank you, Gillian.

I'm so thankful that for four years Joseph had a mommy and daddy who loved him so well. For four years, you told him about the One who made him and loves him so fully and so perfectly.

In our own grief, we cling to the promise that you stated: He is with us always.

With love,
Abbie

Anonymous said...

You are amazing Gillian, God knew just what He was doing when He made you Joseph's mommy! I am praying for you hour by hour, you are constantly in my thoughts. Christy Wright

lauramatthews said...

you and your family are loved...by so many. i hope you can find some sliver of encouragement in that...

Anonymous said...

Still praying and grieving with you all. Heaven is a much happier place now!

Carey Heid

katie lazas said...

I am crying.. and praying.. and crying some more alongside of you. What a story Joseph's life has told, and continues to tell through you all. My heart is heavy... you have been in my last thoughts and prayers as I go to sleep and the first as I wake up... and it seems in every moment of the day you are all I can think about. Your faithfulness will move mountains. What a beautiful picture this morning as Joe is peacefully resting in the arms of our Lord Jesus. My family and I are constantly praying for you all! love, katie

Making Footprints said...

You don't know me but your post here has ripped at my heart in places I didn't even know exised. Its a challenge for me to encourage my children and my husband -- it always sounds so fake coming out of my mouth. I pray His perfect peace continues to flow through your family, that He comforts you as you mourn, that you are blessed beyond belief as your sharing has blessed me.

Dave said...

I am going to post something that is totally selfish. While this tragedy has fallen on you, Allen and Gillian, and you would have given anything to avoid it, I am sure, know that you are inspirational to all of us who you have shared your life (and suffering) with. I have often sat in my office and cried while reading the posts on this blog, and indeed, I did cry at this one...but, I was deeply, deeply inspired by Gillian's words and honesty. The Lord blessed your family with Joseph, but the time was short, and in turn, your love for Joseph has been a blessing to us all.

Dave

Anonymous said...

You and I have never met but I am a co-workers of Matt. I was extremely saddened and heartbroken when I learned of you loss. You and you family have my heartfelt sympathies and I pray that the Lord will grant you peace and endurance during these difficult time.

Love In Christ,
Asia Nevilles-Smith

Anonymous said...

Oh, Gillian, my heart aches for you, Allen, Holly and your family. We are praying for you and grieving for your loss. What an amazing picture of Joseph going straight from your arms into the arms of Jesus..."oh, LOVE that will not let us go!!"
We pray God's peace and comfort for all of you...
Paula Wilson & family

Vicki said...

I am yet another stranger who has been deeply touched by your blog. My heart aches for each of you. You are in my prayers. May God's loving arms hold you up and give you the strength, hope, peace, and comfort to sustain you. You and your precious little boy have touched so many. God bless you!

Audrey said...

oh gillian, 'the fox song' is one of my favorite songs too. i will always think of joseph now when i hear it. as a mommy to two little boys (you were there when my water broke with my first one!!) my heart has just been overwhelmed for you and allen. my husband and i have cried so many tears for you guys. you are so precious to share this with us, something you have every right to be private about. thank you, my sweet sister, for still giving God the glory. i know that is not an option, but in reference to this post, i just am so proud of YOU and your husband! the Lord is holding you, the Lord is so very proud of you, you are His, He is yours...just let yourself be 'held' by Him right now. love you- audrey

trmills said...

Dear friends, we want you to know that we have been grieving with you since yesterday but truly have no words. As I've been praying, writing Psalms of grief, I have only been able to pray that God will somehow comfort you with comfort that we can neither imagine nor give. Thank you for the privilege of hearing your heart and we hope to see you very soon.

Ashley said...

I'm a friend of katie moessner's and I think I've left a comment once before (?). While I don't know you and your precious family, I've felt privileged to pray for y'all over the past months and to check in your life through this blog.
From a stranger looking from the outside in, the one word I would use to describe Joseph's family is "love". In your pictures and your words I've seen a family that truly loves one another well. It has been a blessing to me. I'm praying for all of you that Christ will surrond each of you with His love in the hours, days, and weeks ahead.

Anonymous said...

Dear precious family,
I sit here in Michigan weeping with all of you at your loss.
God chose exactly the right family for Joseph. As proud as you are of Joe, he surely was equally proud of you. May God comfort you in unimaginable ways in the coming days, weeks, months.
Thank you for your courage in sharing your story and for allowing even strangers to pray with and for you. We will continue to do so.
With deepest sympathy,
Tim and Jodi Eppinga
Saline, MI
(friends of the Bobecks)

Rosie said...

Well said Gillian. SO glad you are able to find comfort in our Saviour. Rosie Udouj

Sarah Partain said...

Thank you for doing another post. I think we are all still checking the blog; we're used to getting updates, to connecting with you and to going through this with you in this odd technological way.
What you said about Joseph being your constant companion and you being his mom, I so resonate with that--especially when they are sick and their need for Mommy is so intense. I can't imagine my days without Amos, or even with another child to take care of. I'll be praying for you, as you go forward, through each day. That you would be able to rest after such an intense season, and that God would comfort you and fill your Joseph-sized hole, reminding you that he is no longer in pain.

carolyn said...

Gill,

You have such a beautiful heart. I was thinking about the many ways you have shown me Christ (this blog being one of them). I've always enjoyed finding out which book your reading or what you're studying in the Word. I remember you giving me Disappointment with God. You are a teacher in my life. One of the greatest lessons you have shown me this year is how to be a godly mother. Sometimes I am scared that I will soon have a child who depends on me. My selfishness comes out and I ask God can I have a do over. Are you sure you want me to be a mom? However, watching you handle Joseph and Holly with such wisdom and care allows me to all the more depend on the Lord. I know you draw your wisdom and delight from Him.

Dave and I have shed tears for you and like many have stated we would love to take some of the sadness and pain away. Some things only God can do.

This world is hard and when a member of the body is torn away it hurts deeply. We will be reunited soon. Come, Lord Jesus, Come.

Dave and I are praying for your sweet family.

Love ya,
Carolyn Page

jamie said...

There is a song that I love called 'Shadowfeet' by brooke fraser, you may have heard it. I was listening to it today and wanted to write the chorus out for you. It spoke to my heart in a new way today because of sweet Joseph.
"When the world has fallen out from under me,
I'll be found in You, still standing;
When the sky rolls up and mountains fall on their knees;
When time and space are through;
I'll be found in You.
You make all things new..."
If I was more internet savvy, I would post the link to You Tube so you could watch the video, but I don't know how. But if you look up "Shadowfeet" you'll find it.
Just remember, God's holding you, you are still standing in Him although the world is crashing down around you. Words can't describe what I am feeling for you guys right now, but just know you are being lifted up in prayer! God makes all things new! Joseph has been made new, healed and whole!

Tim U said...

We are weeping with you right now. Thank you for sharing your beautiful thoughts and lives with us through these words. I'm sure Joseph is very proud to have parents like you. Come, Lord Jesus!

Craig and Gwen said...

It seems to me that the Holy Spirit is just pouring out of you right now. I feel blessed to know and love you and can't wait to hug your neck.

Love - gWen

Wright Family said...

Thank you for sharing Joseph with us all. His life has touched so many people and your whole family has been such a testimony of God's love and grace. We weep with you and will continue to be in constant prayer for all of you as you miss your sweet boy.
love,
nathaniel, rebekah, anna walton & olivia

Kate Etue said...

Gillian, thank you for inviting us into your private last minutes with Joseph. It allowed me a good, hard bawl --not that I haven't already lost it today everywhere I've gone: at gymnastics, at lunch out, walking through the mall - people are looking at me like I'm crazy, tears streaming down my face. I wish I could make it better, but I know that's not what you need right now. I trust that before time God looked down here and knew Joseph's life and picked you and Allen specifically to be his parents. He knew Joseph would need kind, patient, encouraging, and funny parents to lead him on this beautiful journey with such a tragic end. I find encouragement in the story his Mimi posted here a few months ago about Jesus being in his heart and in Holly's heart. I'm praying that God will give you the grace to grieve exactly the way you need to. And know that all of us are here to listen, help, or leave you alone. Whatever you need! :) We love you guys and are hurting for your sadness and loss.

Kate

Anonymous said...

i bet joseph is saying how proud he is of you and what a great job you did! he is so blessed to have you two as parents! i am still praying for you as you plan his service and in the days to come.

just wishing i could give you a big hug through the computer!

julie in brentwood, tn

Q's NEWS said...

Please don't ever take down the picture of Joseph on this blog. It is so beautiful it takes my breath away.

I cannot fathom what you are going through. I don't even know you and your family personally but it feels as if I do. Just a week ago, I was hoping the trip to Memphis would bring about the new treatment plan and we would go back to great Target stories and cute video clips that I have grown to love. If it had even crossed my mind that today Joseph would be gone, I would have dismissed it as Satan trying to scare me. I know God's timing is perfect but I have to admit that I just don't get it.

Please let me know if there is any sort of fund that is being set up to help with any type of expenses. I have asked this before when I knew that Allen was taking a sabbatical but I really, really mean it and would love to help you guys in any way that I can.

Praying in WV,
Susan

Margaret said...

4 years was not enough of beautiful Joseph for any of us, but it was 4 more years of a silly laugh and beautiful smile and charming voice and gorgeous eyes than we would have otherwise had. Your angel has enriched all of our lives and thank you so much for sharing him with us.
My heart is just shattered with the pain he endured and the pain that I know you will always carry with you. You will always be his mommy and I know Joseph is so proud that you are.

Hills said...

Gillian,
My heart is breaking for you and your sweet family. Please know that my family and our church family are praying for you all. My little Asa told me this morning not to cry anymore because Jesus took away Joe P's boo-boo. There is great wisdom in our little ones. Christ's love and peace, Adam, Suzanne, Asa, and Annie Hill

Jonathan said...

Our kids prayed for Joseph nearly every night in Hong Kong. Half a world away and without ever meeting, he led their hearts over and over to Jesus through prayer. And now he's leading them to think deeper about eternity. God is glorified through Joseph and through you. I'm crying for you but thanks for sharing him with us.

Jonathan, Retta, Jack, Jonah, & Maddie Rae Kelley

Anonymous said...

love yall and praying for you.

britton and brooks sharp

Phil and Joyce said...

Dear Allen and Gillian,

We dont know you but have followed Joseph's journey through David who is a friend of our grandson Michael and a our daughter Melissa. Thank you for sharing you heart. We have prayed for Joseph and for your family for months since we moved to Franklin a year ago. May the love of God surround you and his peace enfold you during these difficult days.

Phil and Joyce Renicks

Anonymous said...

Those of us who have not had to endure the unspeakable sorrow of burying our children have no words. We cannot say "I know how you feel" because we don't. We cannot even imagine the horror and the grief, but we can be grateful for those who have had to experience the cruelest pain possible and yet remain faithful. They remind us that God is sovereign and merciful, and in their sorrow, they teach us that even this most consuming of sadnesses will one day be erased by eternity with our Lord. Thank you for your courage and strength because it lets the rest of us know that we can be courageous in the face of lesser circumstances.

Shell said...

Allen and Gillian, I have never meet either one of you in person, but I feel like I do know you. I am a member of CCC and my son, Gray, was in Joseph's Sunday school class. I didn't whether to talk to him about Joesph or not. But after a quick prayer my husband and I felt that it would unfair of us to not tell Gray about his friend.
Gray was sad for a moment, and then he said "But Joesph can play cars and Thomas with Jesus!!"

With Love and Prayer,
Andy, Shelly, Gray, and Tracy Oliver

melanie said...

shock and great sorrow. how are you coping? i don't mean that as a real question to be answered, but more as acknowledgement of something impossible, absolutely impossible. i could not bear it and am literally grief-stricken that you have to. i'm so incredibly sorry. i'm praying for God to carry this awful thing for you. and that His peace would be real.

Emilie said...

That's beautiful, Gillian. You were so blessed to have such a precious little boy, even for those 4 short years- and he was so lucky to have you for a mommy.

My family and I all send our love and prayers. I'm sure heaven is that much brighter with little Joe zipping around in his Lighting McQueen car.

Love,

Emilie

Jen in TX said...

Prayers and love for your family! Please know that so many people loved and followed Joseph's story. I checked your blog every day.

Today when I opened it up I just started to cry. What a strong little guy he was. God bless you all!

Anonymous said...

Crying, praying, crying some more, wishing for the "right words"...yet none of it is enough to convey just how much you all have touched us, and how much we're lifting you up to God to do what we can't...to give you His peace and comfort in the midst of the most painful of all pains. We know the road you've gone down, and I've often thought of ours as "the best of times, the worst of times". May God make His presence more real than the pain. Lynn Culver

Angela and Travis Cottrell said...

We are praying for you. What a sacred time you had with Joseph singing and leading him into the arms of Jesus. "To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord!" And "in His presence is FULLNESS of JOY!" Praying for everyone left behind that the God of all comfort would indeed comfort with His nearness and his love.
Angela and Travis Cottrell

Allyson said...

The first comment by Paige echoes exactly what I feel too. I'm so sorry for your loss. Even though I have 3 kids and we watch Cars all the time. I don't think I'll ever be able to hear the name Lightening McQueen (or the voice of Larry Boy) without thinking of your sweet Joseph. I promise when I do, I'll let it be a reminder to pray for your family in the years to come.

Thank you for letting God's love, grace and gift of His son Jesus reign throughout your blog entries. I consider it such an honor to be able to pray for you and your family. Even though it wasn't the miracle that everyone hoped for, it's still a miracle. To be absent with the body is to be present with the Lord. Thanks for sharing. Your son has forever changed our lives.

Blessings,
Allyson

Jenn said...

Gillian,

I will continue to pray for you, Allen & Holly. She is indeed a true gift from the Lord. Fall at the feet of Jesus and let Him dry your tears. I am glad I found your blog thru another blog as well. You are soooo strong and the Lord will give you what you need. He does all things well...

Jenn

Jill said...

I taught Allen in Good News Club when he was little and have never forgotten him. I have been reading your blog for months since I heard about Joseph, and praying for all of you regularly. The news yesterday nearly broke my heart. I have to believe God has a plan in all this, though it is far beyond my understanding. I will keep all of you in my prayers in the days and weeks ahead as you grieve over the little boy you weren't ready to lose. Keep your faith, and know that when you next hold your son he won't be sick anymore, and it will be clear to you then why it all had to happen.

ingrid said...

gillian you surely held joseph throughout all his illness and his life so that he was able to make that journey so easily. his mothers love was his safeguard and he was able to slip away peacefully because you held him safely. you gave him the joy of life and you must be so proud to be his mother and allen to be his father and holly his lovely sweet sister. we are proud of you gillian. all our love. ingrid

joann said...

praying,praying,praying. love from the rosenbaums to all of you~

josh, keely & salem said...

continuing to pray...most especially when our own words fail.

spear-britney said...

You are an amazing woman with such strength and gentleness. May the promise of spending eternity with Joseph in Heaven help numb the sting of his death.
Grieving with you -
The Cadenheads

tracey said...

Allen and Gillian...thank you for sharing these special moments with us. We really want to walk with you in this and it helps to know the details of your day. We love you guys and feel blessed to know Joseph. Earlier today, I went to the July 4th blog and watched Joseph's silly laugh video. I can't help but smile and laugh back. I imagine him pouring that infectious laugh out onto everyone in Heaven today. We'll be there to hug you soon.
love,
tracey and chad

Anonymous said...

Dear wonderful Allen and Gillian,

Thank you for telling Joseph's story. I did not know Joseph, and until Paige and I met him for the time in the hospital 8-9 months ago, I had never met him. But you've documented him so well this last year, and I grew to genuinely, deeply love him - love him, Holly and the two of you. It broke my heart when I heard he died, and it continues to break it. He seemed, based on your stories, pictures, testimonies and videos, like such a sweet, neat, crazy little boy! I can't tell you how many times I have just laughed and laughed at that video of him and Allen, when Allen built that big tower, and taunted Joseph that he couldn't knock it down, and then on tape he knocked it down, and then DENIED it right to Allen's face! Lol! I just loved him so much right then. I therefore can only imagine how much you love him, and how fortunate you were to be his parents. I am exceedingly excited about heaven, even more now than before, since I can then be his friend. Heaven is, I believe, a real place - not some cloudy place, but real, where people have faces and talk to each other and hold each other and laugh. I know he's there now with the Lord and so many other of our family.

Thank you for your devotion to him, and for telling your story, and letting us all share in your sufferings with you. We love you so much.

sincerely,

scott cunningham

Anna Tester said...

Gillian, I cannot tell you how grateful I am to you and your sweet family for letting us walk and catch glimpses of your light. I think of joseph and what a light this little 4 year old was and is to this world. I think of the song "This little light of mine I am going to let it shine." Joseph and your family's light is blinding and I stand so touched by it. Love and tears, Anna

Anonymous said...

Gillian and Allen,
What a wonderful testament you are to me. Through this heartbreaking season of life, you have run the race and fought the good fight. Even though I don't know how you feel, my heart is breaking for your family. I take comfort in Steven Curtis Chapman's song that says "God is God and I am not, I can only see a part of the picture He's painting. God is God and I am man, so I'll never understand it all..."
I have a feeling that Joseph's story is only the beginning of something great still to happen! Thanks for sharing your life and heart with me.

Linnea Roe

Katie said...

Wanted you to know that hundreds and hundreds of mamas and daddys are loving their children better tonight because of Joseph. And are thinking of heaven a whole lot more.

katie patton

Mandy said...

I have followed Joseph's story from close to the beginning; and, I have prayed for him and your family. I teach at a private Christian school, and shared a little of your story this morning in our daily prayer meeting before school. We prayed that God would grant you peace during this storm. There are no words that I alone can offer you for comfort. Thank you for sharing Joseph with all of us.
"So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal." - 2 Corinthians 4:18

Anonymous said...

I ache for you and I don't even know you. So powerful has been this story of sweet Joseph. I'm so sorry for the road you have been on and I'm sorry for the journey ahead. I am so glad you are indeed "held," though I'm sure it doesn't always feel like it.

My son turned four two days before Joseph. Your words about needing each other are so true in my life. Thank you for reminding me how fleeting this time is.

Praying for you in Texas...
Jen

Anonymous said...

We have been praying and thinking of your family constantly and are hurting with you all...Thank you for sharing more of Joseph's story and his new life so openly. Praying for strength to feel God's great love and His presense these next few days especially. Love, Brubakers

antonia said...

I've read this post over and over today, Gillian. I am in awe of you. I have no words. I just continue to pray...

Much love and tears,
Antonia

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing your heart. You have every reason to be proud of Joseph. I have no doubt that he is proud of you, too.
I am praying for you and will continue to be.

Lauren Sheehan
Memphis

The Morginskys said...

Sweet Gillian,
your words have moved us. we have wept tonight for you and your loss. a mother's love is a beautiful thing to see, thank you for sharing it with us.
love, sharon & matt

The Morreys (Erin) said...

I am so thankful that you had Joseph, that he had you, and that you so generously shared him with all of us. He was truly a special little boy, whose time with your family was far, far too short. My heart breaks for all of you, and wishes there were some way to help you in this time of grieving and sadness. Joseph will always be with you and will surely watch over all of you from heaven.

Amberhess said...

We are so proud of you Gillian and Allen. What precious parents you are. I pray that this weekend and on Monday that you would be surrounded by comfort through the beautiful body of Christ.

We love you and will be lifting you up.
Doug and Amber Hess

Lisa Allen said...

Gillian,
What an amazing outlook by a grieving mother. Words can't express how deeply sorrowful we are for you. I cried at 12:30 on Thursday when I heard Joseph wasn't doing well. Our hearts ache for you all. We can't even imagine your grief, but God who is in control of our lives knows and understands your pain--what it's like to lose a son. We will continue to pray for you.

Much love,
Bill, Lisa, and Tripp Allen

guinever said...

There are truly no words. I'm so sorry that your precious Joseph is gone and yet we can grieve in hope because we know that he is in the arms of Jesus.

I have lost a child too, 2 years old. The last time I saw her alive, I whispered, "Go to Jesus." It's almost as if she was hanging on, waiting to see me, to hear me tell her it was ok. She died a couple minutes later.

I pray for you peace and strength in the coming days, weeks, years. Take it one day at a time, one moment at a time.

The Stewards said...

Our prayers go out to you as you experience this time of extreme grief and pain. No words can express our sympathy. At least Joe P is experiencing the greatest gift God could ever give us, and that is eternal life without pain or suffering. Cling to the thought that you will one day be reunited with him, even though it seems, right now, like that day couldn't come soon enough. Our hearts are with you.

donnyandkim said...

Gillian...I have wanted to write something ever since ...not sure what to write. I'm sitting here in tears having just listened to "Held" for the first time...and I pray that you, Allen, Holly and your entire family are truly held by the Father in these days and tomorrow evening and Monday morning...just as I know God used you to hold Joseph for these last four years. My heart is breaking for you all. Donny and I have been and will continue to pray constantly as you all are on our hearts and minds constantly.
Love, Kim

Dean Crowe said...

Your words are so tender and so true. We love you and are praying that you feel the Lord hold you close and strengthen you all.

Much Love,
Dean at Rally

Anonymous said...

Gillian and Allen,
I have been silently following your blog since the beginning. I am a friend of Ashley Smith's.

I wanted to let you know I have been praying for you, and I am totally blown away by your faithfulness. You have been such an incredible testimony. The Lord really does "hold" us. He won't ever let go.

We weep and mourn with you, but not as those who have no hope. We have a great hope, and I pray you will continue to be strengthened beyond understanding.

Love, Melissa Matsumoto

Rocks In My Dryer said...

There are no words. Just sitting here at my computer, tears on my face, praying God will pour out His love and peace to your sweet family. I have a daughter the same age as your precious boy. My heart aches for you.

Anonymous said...

I found your blog through a friend of a friend and I just had to tell you that you are being lifted up to the Father by people you don't even know. I have no words, just prayers.

Deb said...

I just lost my little boy last Saturday (8/16) a day before his first birthday. I share in your grief, but also in the hope that both our boys are hanging out with Jesus right now (and maybe each other). I will pray that your heart heals even as I pray for my own heart.

Deb

Alison said...

my thoughts and prayers are with you guys.

Hillary Kouba said...

My heart is so heavy for you. I saw your story from Boothe Farley and tears have been streaming down my face as I read your blog. I have two girls and recently we've had two family friends whose kids have been diagnosed with tumors (one in the arm that is not malignant) and (a second brain tumor that they are waiting for results from a bioposy and surgery to relieve pressure on his optic nerve). Satan is real and is on the prowl. How awesome that even in death he loses because Christ won and is alive! I know Joseph is in Heaven and is completely healthy and running around like a 4-year old would but I can't even imagine the whole in your heart. I guess only time and the Lord can fill that. You and your family are in my prayers.
Sincerely,
Hillary

Anonymous said...

I came to your site via Boothe Blanton's blog. Unfortunately, I was unaware of your family and your sweet little boy's battle until after he had gone on to be with God. I wish I could have prayed for him while he was here fighting, but now all I can do is pray for your family and trust that God will somehow pull you through these days of grief with constant reminders of Joseph's smile and reassurance that he is at peace now.

My heart ripped while reading your blogs. I am a single mother by choice of a little boy who turned three on August 22. He has been so healthy throughout his life and I feel so blessed. I can not imagine what a mommy must feel to watch her little boy be in pain or the immeasurable amount of grief that would accompany letting him go. I cry as I write this just thinking of what you must be feeling.

I will pray for you and your family. I don't know what I will pray but I will lift you up and know that God will best know how to reach you and hold you during these days and weeks to come.

Tonight, I will read one more book, give one more kiss, and say one more prayer with my son in honor of yours...

May God be with you all...

Anonymous said...

I keep coming back and reading this post. They are some of the most beautiful word every spoken by a parent. Life is pain and joy; tragedy and redemption. We continues to pray for you. And love you dearly from afar.
- Ange

Becky said...

Dear Parents of Joseph,

We are strangers in this land but we will be neighbors in heaven...

I just wanted to say to you both, You did a great job with your beautiful son. You should be very proud of yourselves for parenting him with such courage and love. You are an inspiration to many, and Joseph's life has touched many. What a fantastic inheritance we all have from him, what a legacy he has left behind.

May you feel profound levels of comfort from THE Comforter in the coming days...

Becky

michele said...

I was privileged to attend the funeral, or celebration of Joseph's life. It was an incredible blessing to be there and hear the amazing words spoken through Jennifer, Matt, Sam, and Allen. It was nice to have the pastors there, but everything they said was already expressed through Joseph's family members - his sweet aunt (and Mimi), wonderful uncles, and precious Daddy. For Allen to play his guitar and sing his song, "A Promise to Joseph", and to have Natalie there singing "Held" is beyond words. Can Allen post his song on the blog so we can hear again and again? I've been listening to "Held" over and over.

Praying, praying, praying...interceding... for all of you: Gillian, Allen, precious little Holly, Kathy (my connection to the Peabody family) and every one of Joseph's precious family and friends. God is holding you...

Anonymous said...

I do not know your family, but I found your blog through Boothe Farley. I am moved, touched, saddened, and blessed by your story. May God give you peace.

randibisme said...

I was thinking and praying for you all Sunday and Monday. I am still thinking of, praying for and loving you all today.
Randi Booth

CraigD2599 said...

Gillian and Allen...
I have no words. I have only understanding and tears that I will weep along with you and for you today and in the future. My little sister passed away twelve years ago. I recognize the pained anguish behind the words you have written. I saw my mom and dad enduring it too. Even now, twelve years later and addressing someone I have never met, I write this through tears...tears for your immense loss and hurt, and tears for the hurt my folks felt. Every time I hear of a child passing it reminds me of the loss of my sister, the hole in our collective souls as my family has dealt with it over the years, and the indescribably grace that God has provided my family over that painful time.
I can't promise you when or where but God will open His storehouse of Grace on you at moments when you think you are losing your last, best grip.
He never does these things too us...He goes through them with us.
His grace is sufficient...sometimes no more than that. Someday...somewhere...you will suddenly be face to face with someone just like you. You will recognize that same lost, pained look in the eyes of some mom or dad you are just meeting and you will have an amazing story of gace and healing. It will be precisely what that tortured lost soul wil need at that time...a refreshing drink in the midst of a horrible nightmarish desert. You will find new depths of healing when you minister to that person.
But in the interim there is not much beyond pain. It comes in waves. Sometimes you feel blessed and sustained, and other times the tears and the grief are like a suit of clothes you find yourself trapped in. and there are no real words of comfort anyone can give except this: I am crying with you. I know this hurts...God how I know...and my heart is broken all over again. But I count this all joy because you need to know that others weep for you in your darkest times.
Though we've never met, you have my love and my prayers and my tears. God Bless you...