Monday, January 16, 2017
Part 6: "The Memorial Service Program"
Planning out the order of service, the speakers, the music and the artwork for Rowan's Memorial service program was another important part of this process. I wanted it all to be perfect. To celebrate his life, acknowledge his death, and leave everyone with a message of Hope...because that is what Rowan stood for...Hope, even in the darkest of times. I think we did a pretty good job of accomplishing that.
First, I chose one of the most poignant photos ever taken of Rowan for the cover. I took it as our family took a walk in a park, just a day or two before he got admitted to begin chemo for transplant number one at Seattle Children's Hospital. We were walking through the woods, along the trails of the park when we came up to this bridge. Rowan ran ahead of us, and skipped across the bridge like he didn't have a care in the world. And when he reached the other side, he turned and threw his arms up in the air...victorious. I snapped the photo, and when I looked at it on my phone right afterwards, I distinctly remember how it took my breath away. I knew in an instant that it was going to be a timeless, important, profound picture of Rowan for the rest of our lives. I started to cry. I just knew in the pit of my stomach, that it either signified him beating his life long illness, getting through transplant, being completely healed...or...it was going to signify him crossing the bridge from life on Earth, into Jesus arms in Heaven. I just knew it was that important. I hoped for the former reason, of course, but I wasn't sure. I was right, but it was for the latter reason. This picture depicts Rowan crossing the bridge into Heaven. It is beautiful. One of the most beautiful photos I have of him. And I knew it needed to be the cover of the program for his memorial service. I showed Brian, and he agreed.
Ian did not feel that he would be able to speak at Rowan's service, and I definitely wanted him to feel represented, so I asked him if he could draw something for the inside of the program. Art is one of Ian's greatest talents, especially portraits. I gave him the freedom to choose a photo that he would like to draw of Rowan, and he and I started looking at some together. When we came to this one, we both stopped.
I hadn't even told Ian that I wanted "Hope" to be the overall message of the service, but still Ian chose this picture. Again, a perfect choice. Ian worked on this sketch for about a week, and did such a great job. It became the inside cover of the program, and I am so happy with that choice.
The last thing to add in was the details of the service, the speakers, the songs, etc, and those details just fell into place perfectly. I will do another post that explains the music choices, and one that talks about the speakers and what they had to say, but here are photos of the final program (for those who were not able to attend).
You never want to plan your child's funeral, you don't look forward to designing the program for it either. It is a task that must be done though. Ours was a labor of love. Every choice, each decision, done in honor of a beautiful life...Rowan's life.
I hope you approved of your memorial service program Rowan. Actually, I know you did. It was as beautiful as you are.
I love you and I miss you Rowan.
I've had 33 days without you...
but you've had 33 days with Jesus...