"Our Little Trooper"

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

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Rowan's Legacy...living on in so many ways...

In the past 24 hours alone I have met with, or communicated with, the following entities about the various ways that they want to honor Rowan's life or help us reach his life goals.  To say we are blessed and excited is a complete understatement.  There will be details to follow about each of these events of course, but I needed to share with you all, the many ways that Rowan's spirit is living on.  Thank you to each and every business, group, and person who are making these dreams come true.  I have no doubt that we will not only be helping thousands of people, but making Rowan proud, and honoring God simultaneously.

Tonight, I discussed Keller Williams City View's upcoming awards event with Margie Beecher.  They will be honoring Rowan next week, for his help as one of their "Red Days" Service Day Foremen (when he designed and led their team to implement Jalene's Memorial Garden at her family's home after her death).  

Today, I got to see the t-shirt design for the Guardians of the Children's Annual  "Ride to the Empty Cross", a 62 mile ride, which they have chosen to do in memory of "Hope" (Rowan) this year.  He took such pride in being a Lil Guardian, and truly understood the good that this group does in this world.  I know he will be with us that day, more than ever.

This morning, I met with Chris Rodriguez, from Woodlawn Theater.  They have initiated the "Annual Rowan Jameson Windham Memorial Scholarship".  He and I discussed fundraising, current goals, future potential, etc.  Some of Rowan's theater friends have already donated, today I added to that, and we will start by gifting a student in need by paying their tuition for the upcoming program.  We hope to grow this fund each year, and to be able to assist future thespians with tuition both at the Woodlawn and beyond, eventually with college scholarships in the theater arts.

Last night, I met with Jeff and Angie, from Copa Wine Bar.  They will continue to help us further Rowan's philanthropy efforts by hosting the 4th Annual "Rowan's Smokehouse" Event at Copa Wine Bar on June 3rd.  Save the date.  It will again be a wine, beer, Rowan's ginger lemonade and BBQ plate sale.  We will also have some of Rowan's last remaining hand made art pieces on sale, as well as some done by his brother and sister.  Most importantly, we will have a Marrow Match/GenCure bone marrow registry booth set up outside, to help Rowan in his efforts to find 1 Million Matches!

Yesterday, I got to see the NBYSA's (New Braunfels Youth Soccer Association) new jerseys for this 2017 soccer season.  They have decided to honor Rowan's love for soccer and life by embroidering "RJW", Rowan's initials, under the NBYSA emblem on all of their uniforms.  The tears just wouldn't stop flowing.  I could not stop imagining Rowan's joyful smile from Heaven as he saw all these uniforms.  Then, his Coach let me know tonight that they made their break out call: "Love Your Life", as they talked about representing their teammate in Heaven Rowan.

You should also save the date: May 22nd, 2017, when GenCure will be hosting the Marrow Ambassadors Golf Tournament at the Quarry Golf Club in SA.  It will be held in memory of Rowan, and all proceeds will benefit GenCure, who have truly embraced Rowan's cause of finding 1 million bone marrow matches.

Yet another honor that our beautiful son Rowan, and our family, has been blessed with recently is the news that Methodist Children's Hospital and the San Antonio Food Bank have decided to rename their annual Summer cereal drive to knock out Summer hunger for school children, after Rowan.  You all probably remember how important this drive was to Rowan, both when he was in the hospital, and when he was not.  He brought in over 10,000 servings of cereal in just 2 Summers.  Well, now, the cereal drive will be named after him, and we will do our best to make him proud and blow his previous totals away.  We will be collecting at the COPA event of course, but if you have a business or group that would be willing to collect boxes of cereal in his honor prior to that, we will be collecting it all the first week of June to present to MCH, so please get in touch with me.

Tomorrow, Ian and I leave for Houston.  We will be going to volunteer at a "Be the Match" bone marrow drive booth at the Houston Home & Garden Show all weekend.  We will be trying to find Rowan's little friend Roman a match, while also trying to reach Rowan's life goal of helping sign people up and making 1 million bone marrow matches.  Nothing could ever fill the hole in my heart more, than if I help Rowan achieve his life goals, even if it has to be after his death.

I'm not sure I can adequately express the comfort, peace and fulfillment I feel, when I think about these meetings, plans, events, etc.  I know Rowan's life mattered.  I know he was special.  I know he had purpose beyond what I could ever comprehend.  And now, even after his death, for this many plans to be made in his name, honor and memory...it is mind-blowing, not in a selfish, prideful way though...that wouldn't represent Rowan at all  These are ALL charitable, philanthropic, "make the good" ways that he is being remembered! What more can I ask for as a grieving parent?

There will be details to follow, regarding how you can help, donate to, or be involved in some way, with EACH of these events.  For now, please just remember Rowan's motto "If you can't see the good, make the good!"  And to Keller Williams, Guardian's of the Children, Woodlawn Theater, Copa Wine Bar, NBYSA, Methodist Children's Hospital/SA Food Bank, Marrow Me and GenCure/Bethe Match...God bless you.  Rowan is surely smiling down, and I know that God is too, and that he will bless all of these endeavors.  Thank you for helping make the good in this world!  Thank you Rowan for inspiring us to do so!

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Part 11: The procession, and the cemetery.

I took a little break from posting, but want to try to continue telling Rowan's story.  So, here is the post detailing the procession from his funeral to the cemetery, and the service at the cemetery.  His life was honored well, but ended with the hardest thing I have ever had to witness...watching your child's casket being lowered into the ground and covered...forever.  I obviously did not take many pictures, but here are the few I did.

Thank you to the pall bearers: Shannon Windham, Gabe Abdo, Logan Barnes, Phil Seelig, Matt Ducote, Jason Cox, and then Bradley Mefford as well at the cemetery.

Thank you Olinger-Saenz Mortuary Services for providing the preparation and transport of Rowan's body.  You did so honorably and respectfully.

This was our view from the front as we drove from San Antonio to New Braunfels.  So difficult to be separated from your child, even when it is just their body.

We also want to thank the SAPD motorcycle officers who handled the traffic for the procession, as well as the Comal County K9 unit officers for leading the procession in the SUVS.  Also assisting us in honoring Rowan and joining in the procession were the Patriot Guard and Guardians of the Children.  I did not get photographs of them on their bikes, but thank you.

Here are a few pictures that a friend took from further back in the procession. Over 600 attended the funeral, over 20,000 watched it live online, and over 200 attended the cemetery.  At some points the procession was as far as the eye could see.  There was even a fire truck waiting at the entrance of the cemetery to welcome their brother Rowan. All this, for one 10 year old little boy.  Such a blessing.  Such an honor.

The Texas Army National Guard promoted Rowan from Private First Class, to Specialist, in a very tearful ceremony at the cemetery.  They read the promotion, presented us with it, as well as with his Cavalry Stetson, and a folded flag.  Such a tremendous honor.  We posted video of it on Facebook, but I did not take photographs during it myself.

Cindy Buethe, Rowan's home nurse, read a speech to her best friend Rowan, whom she cared for and loved for 8 years in a row.  It was beautiful.  Then, Rowan's sweet 'Lil Guardian' friend Briana Lopez told the story of how Rowan changed her life, followed by a poem she wrote us for him.  Finally, Kainoa Kamaka played ukulele and sang a beautiful rendition of Somewhere Over The Rainbow.  Again, we posted videos of some of this, but I did not take photos myself.  I was just in the moment.

Then came the most difficult part...transferring Rowan's body from the pavilion to his plot, lowering him into the ground, covering his casket with the concrete liner, and then covering that with dirt.  It sucks the air from your lungs, turns your knees to jello, and crushes your already broken heart.  I nearly fainted.  No one should ever have to watch their babies be buried.  This made it feel truly real for the first time, since he passed.

At this point we all had to leave the cemetery.  Driving away, even though I knew it was just his body laying in that grave...even though I knew he was whole and new, playing with his friends in Heaven...was so unbelievably difficult.  It just doesn't feel right leaving your child, or any part of them.  I knew I would see him again in heaven.  I knew I would be back to bring him flowers, sit by his gravesite and just talk to him, I knew all of that, but it still hurt. 

Then I thought of every time Rowan visited a friend's grave (which was many times), every time he smiled as he prayed there for them.  He never left a friend's grave sad, never left crying...I tried to remember his sweet face as he sat at their graves smiling, thinking of fun times he had with them, and of how happy they were in Heaven, and how he couldn't wait to get there and be with them.  Pictures like this ran through my mind...

Again, Rowan was helping me cope, helping me see the good, even in the darkest of times.  Thank you son.  I may need a lot more reminders...but something tells me that you will give them to me.

I love you and I miss you Rowan.

I've had 62 days without you...
but you've had 62 days with Jesus...