Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Henry's Celebration Service

There are some from out of town that couldn't attend Henry's Celebration Service and I thought I'd portray as much of it here as possible. There are links highlighted in the order of service, below, for much of the content - including his slideshow. If you have photos that we could also enjoy please mail them to us at HenrysChallenge.memorial@picasaweb.com.

We felt strongly that we should celebrate rather than mourn Henry. He had a wonderful life filled with family and love from caregivers to grandparents, to close personal friends to, of course, us his immediate family. Although his life seemed difficult to an outsider, because this was what Henry knew, he became accustomed to it. This doesn't mean he enjoyed being sedated daily or having a tube out of his chest. It did mean however that these were passing inconveniences that didn't carry with them the expectations of 'normal' that most of us harbor.

He benefited from adult interaction in his ability to express himself. He enjoyed painting and reading. He never learned to write his name, but his vocabulary was incredible. Henry enjoyed games and cars and trucks. He loved to watch Oswald and Curious George. His favorite outdoor activity was driving his 'Truckie', mostly to the bus stop to get his sisters. He looked back on his time in the hospital fondly because of the efforts to comfort him, but mostly because he was loved. He was loved by his nurses, he was loved by his family and visitors and everyone that tended to him. We played with him, we talked to him, we read with him, we cared for him, we entertained him. Henry got to do so many things that were such fun for him.

I don't mean to gloss over the fact that Henry had cancer. This disease relegated Henry's lifespan to just 1679 days. We know it's not normal. We know it is not what any parent would wish for. But that was our Henry. We tried to love him all up in that short amount of time. So what better way to honor and memorialize him than to celebrate him. He was wonderful, he was beautiful, he taught us to love our lives with all we've got. He was our son, our brother, our grandson, our nephew, our friend - our hero. And now, he's our inspiration. Our inspiration to get up each morning and live and love and learn because he cannot.

So this was our tribute to him.

Memorial Service
Tuesday March 3, 2009
(program outside - program inside - photos)


Sonnet 43, Elizabeth Barrett Browning

Prayer of Faith

Remarks, Beth Johns

Litany of Thanks

Reflections from Family and Friends

Remembering Henry's Life in Pictures

Closing Words

Balloon Release


Cortland Mansion
19411 Cortland Drive
Hagerstown, MD 21742
Chaplain Beth Johns, Washington County Hospice


Granya said...

Great job Bryan - as usual!

And thank you for those words. It is so hard for people who didn't know Henry and see him regularly to realize that he didn't, for the most part, suffer. He did live in his "norm". And he never complained. If he couldn't run and jump and play, he appeared content to watch and smile and laugh.

Such a guy!!!

Anonymous said...

Bryan, Thank you so very much for sharing the wonderful "Celebration of Henry". We felt like we were there and it filled our hearts with the "LOVE" that Henry shared with so many without even knowing. Henry and your family will always be remembered and hold a special place in our hearts. May his love continue forever.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing. What a beautiful memorial service for
an amazing little boy!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing. I'm sorry we couldn't make it down from Pittsburgh. What a beautiful celebration of Henry. Love & Peace to all of you.

Michelle said...

Henry's life in pictures and video... how absolutely wonderful! To hear his laughter, to watch him interact with his family, to see him living large, it was so beautiful. Thank you for sharing this. My heart is forever connected to your amazing family.
Michelle in VT

Ami Czorapinski said...

We wanted to be there in person but treatment continues for our family. I am so glad you posted the video from the service. Such wonderful memories. What a special little guy!

Anonymous said...

THANK YOU for posting this. Such a wonderful tribute to Henry - I am so glad to have been able to experience this day with you even tho we could not be there. We continue to think of your family and send hugs your way.
Linda and Val

Anonymous said...

I was not blessed to know Henry, in fact I didn't even hear about Henry and your family until I read Henry's obituary in the Herald Mail news paper. Since then I have been keeping up with Henry's Gift web page and I would like to Thank You for sharing your sweet,wonderful son with all of us. You and your family are so blessed to have a son as great as Henry. I have been praying for all of you and will keep praying for you to have peace and joy in your life. As hard as it is I believe Henry is in a much better place and he's watch over his family. God Bless You All and Thanks for sharing. Henry's Celebration Service was beautiful.

Anonymous said...

What a beautiful celebration, there was not a dry eye in my house after watching the Life in Pictures what a beautiful memory to treasure forever. Thanks again for sharing with all of us. I have looked at every pic. and read every entry since the beginning. Your family and son will forever be close to our hearts.