"Our Little Trooper"

"Our Little Trooper"
"Let me live, that I may praise you!" Psalm 119:175

Saturday, March 26, 2016

"I bet it's so nice up in heaven since you've arrived..."

Julian gained his angel wings one year ago, today.  Tonight, we were blessed and honored to be able to join his family graveside, for a night Rowan and I will never forget.  Thank you Valerie and Joe for allowing us to not just be there, but for giving Rowan the opportunity to share his dreams with you, sing for you, hug you, and for so much more that this night meant to him.  Let me explain...

Rowan brought a few small gifts for Julian's family with him to the cemetery.  He decorated a ceramic egg with Captain America and Iron Man stickers, a "J" for Julian, and a "R" for Rowan.  

He also made a card for Julian's Mom.  On the outside he drew a picture of himself laying the egg at the foot of Julian's grave, with God watching over them,  On the inside, was Rowan asleep, dreaming of himself (Iron Man) and Julian (Captain America) playing together.  

He also brought flowers to Julian's Mom (red and blue of course), 

and a solar Captain America garden light for his little sister Jewel, 

as well as an envelope that held a gorgeous charm bracelet made by the amazing Infectious Disease doctor that Rowan and Julian shared, Dr. Atkins.

Rowan handed them each their gift, and then lovingly placed the egg and Captain America solar garden light on the stone.


Julian's resting place is honestly one of the most beautiful cemeteries I have ever visited, but that beauty almost paled in comparison to the beauty of the moments we shared there this evening.  It was a quiet, serene setting, but at the same time, love and smiles bounced all around.  

Julian's family played music from a small speaker next to his grave, most of which came from "Julian's playlist", his favorite songs that they played for him time and again.  Some touching songs, some powerful songs, even some funny songs:)  Rowan told me last night that he wanted to play them a song from his phone.  It's a beautiful song, one of Rowan's favorites, one that BJ and Zoe sang at Jalene's graveside less than two weeks ago, one that we learned tonight... they had also played at Julian's funeral.  Tonight, Rowan sat on a blanket, at the foot of Julian's grave, with Julian's Mom and Dad, and didn't just play the song for them...he actually sang it to them.  I could barely keep it together.  I was so proud of him, and so moved.  "Dancing in the sky" by Dani and Lizzy, was the song.  Rowan sang the lyrics softly and sweetly, and Julian's Mom even joined in at times, through her own tears: 

What does it look like in heaven?
Is it peaceful is it free like they say?
Does the sun shine bright forever?
Have your fears and your pain gone away?
Cause here on earth it feels like everything good is missing, since you
And here on earth everything thing is different
There's an emptiness

Oh-oh-oh I, I hope you're dancing in the sky
And I hope your singing in the the angels choir
I hope the angels, know what they have
I bet it's so nice up in heaven since you've arrived

Now tell me, what do you do up in heaven?
Are your days filled with love and light?
Is there music? Is there art and invention?
Tell me are you happy? Are you more alive?
Cause here on earth it feels like everything good is missing, since you
And here on earth everything thing is different

Oh-oh-oh I, I hope your dancing in the sky
And I hope your singing in the the angels choir
I hope the angels, know what they have
I bet it's so nice up in heaven since you've arrived
Since you arrived

There were other amazing moments this evening too.  There were sparklers lit...

red, white and blue balloons released... 

and a bird...a bird named "Coco Sprinkles"... 

...an injured bird Joe rescued a few weeks ago, that Jewel named, and Valerie nursed back to health.  It was a gorgeous red bird (a red robin we think?). They have watched it mend and heal over the past several weeks.  Tonight, they were ready to watch it fly back into the wild, back home.  

(In this photo, you can see the bird, flying straight into the tree nearby.)

They were able to spot it in the tree afterwards, and wondered if it would stick around that same area, or fly further away.

Rowan and I talked about this bird release later tonight, and he told me that he felt like it was "such a good sign".  He said he felt like "God let them watch the bird be healed and return to the sky, just like Julian.  They weren't ready to let Julian go last year, but they were ready to let the bird go tonight.  That shows God is healing them too!"  

It truly was a beautiful evening, despite the circumstances.  

Rowan loves this family so much.  He shared his dreams, and Julian's messages, with them himself tonight.  He told them that Julian is "always happy", "never in pain", always "surrounded by dogs", and that he is "still 6, so they won't miss out on anything until they get there".  They told him that he made them smile, and that it meant a lot for him to be there.  But, I'm not sure they understand what it meant for him too.

On the way home, Rowan told me that he had asked Julian to send more signs, "especially ones that his Mom and Dad will notice too".  Moments later, Rowan shouted from the back seat: "Mom, I asked him for a sign and look, the sky is red, white and blue (like Captain America)...that's the sign!"  I quickly snapped a photo, and he was definitely right...

I texted his Mom right away, and she replied "Awesome we saw that too!!!"  I read that message to Rowan and he looked like he was going to cry.  He looked up to the sky and said, "Thank you God for letting them start to see the signs too!"

Further down the road Rowan started getting quiet and looked very sentimental.  I asked him if he was okay and he said yes.  Then he told me, "Julian would never have left an awesome family like that if he didn't have to.  They are such great parents.  I hope they know that.  I wish we would hang out with them more, so I could make them realize that.  And I hope they know, that God had a reason for all this."

Then, when we were almost back to New Braunfels, Rowan asked me a very poignant question: "Mom, do you ever feel so lucky you have your life, that you feel like it's just a dream?  Cause I do...every single day...especially today."

Joe and Valerie, I wish with all my heart that I could take even an ounce of your pain away.  I wish there was more that we could do to bring your smiles back.  I wish that we were blessed enough to watch our two boys play together here on Earth, instead of having to hear about them playing together in dreams in heaven.  But I also thank God that we met you, despite the circumstances.  I thank God that you are a part of Rowan's life.  I thank God that he loves you so much.  I thank God for special moments like tonight, that we have been able to share with you.  And I thank God that my son cherishes and loves his fragile life so much... even more so because he understands the fine line between Heaven and Earth. Until we are all on the other side of that thin veil, we are here for you, and we will keep looking for the signs together, okay?  God bless your family, tonight, tomorrow, and always!

Rest in peace Julian...

Thursday, March 24, 2016

"Iron Man and Captain America together, like me and Julian."

Just like Rowan is known as Iron Man, his angel friend in heaven Julian is known as Captain America. This Saturday marks the one year anniversary since Julian passed away from brain cancer.  Rowan dreams of Julian, says that he is always surrounded by dogs in heaven, and shares messages from Julian with his Mom and Dad.  Earlier this month it was Julian's birthday and Rowan woke from a dream telling me to tell Julian's Mom that he was ok and that they shouldn't worry about missing his birthday because in heaven he would stay 6 years old until they got there, so they didn't miss out on anything.  There have been other messages too, making Rowan truly feel connected to this family.  It is a very special relationship that they share. Julian's Mom recently visited Rowan in infusion clinic and brought him a special gift.  


It took us a while to hang these up, but we finally did and I wanted to share the pictures.  They are so cool, and mean so much to Rowan, coming from Julian's Mom and Dad.

Thank you so much for this gift Valerie & Joe!  It is perfect.  Rowan was so excited to show them off once they were installed!

He loved how they lit up, especially in the dark.

You may have already seen pictures of Rowan's room, which was decorated by Special Spaces a couple years ago.  They gave him his dream Iron Man room...

So these two new 3D additions, are just the perfect touch!

Rowan has a special corner in his room though, that isn't Iron Man...it's where he keeps his Captain America Suit, mask and shield...along with Julian's Captain America shield, which his Mom gave Rowan several months ago.  It used to be Julian's and Rowan displays it proudly and treasures it with all his heart.

As soon as we finished hanging the Iron Man mask and hand up, Rowan grabbed Julian's shield and said, "Mom, take my picture right here for Valerie...so she can see Iron Man and Captain America together, like me and Julian.  I think that will make her smile."

Then he sat down on his bed and I captured these priceless moments...

My favorite picture is this one...you can just feel the love and compassion he has for Julian and his family.  Rowan truly wishes he could play with Julian here on Earth, but is so grateful that God allows him to do so in his dreams of heaven.

Please keep Julian's family in your prayers, this weekend especially, as the one year anniversary arrives.

In loving memory of Julian Andrade...