Thursday, August 27, 2009

a celebration of life

ayden's story has touched so many people and continues to reach to those around us. there have been numerous "small world after all" moments where i've realized that my friends in different groups knew ayden's parents, were involved on tuesday, or have a tie to them in one way or another. and then there are those who have no connection and have never met them, but have been deep in prayer for them this week.

tonight, we celebrated his brief, but amazing life. we figured there were over 550 people who showed up to support their family, with standing groups in the back and along the side.
one of the coolest things was having jeremy's football teams--both current and past--in their jerseys, lining the room.

and again, i'm so glad we took family pictures a couple of months ago, but i hate that my pictures have to be used this way. similar to the photos used at gabe's funeral--it's bittersweet.

jeremy and lindsey both got up to speak, and each had their own message to give--reading from their journal to ayden, a passage from tony dungee's book, and sharing their hope for how ayden's life will be glorified--by bringing those who hear his story closer to Christ and strengthening their family relationships.
when jeremy spoke, he said that if even one person comes to Christ because of ayden, then his son's death will not be in vain and they might start to understand the "why"s. jeremy and lindsey will see him again one day, because they know where they're going. but they want to share that hope and that security with those around them.
they are such amazing examples of strength and faith, even though they are also quite honest that they are broken, empty and simply taking it one day at a time.

at the end, the men's group at our church, "band of brothers," came up and surrounded the family for the final prayer.
amanda made sure i captured the football teams joining in on the prayer as well.

i just love this--the connectedness, the brotherhood.
following the service, i offered to go with the family to the graveside service to take pictures. they agreed that it would be good to have the pictures some day in the future, and i was just glad to be able to capture a few of those moments for the family.
the floral arrangement were beautiful--they also have had donations made to a scholarship fund that will be created in his name.

these were some of the hardest pictures for me to take--and there are more that i just don't feel comfortable sharing. too personal, too... too much. too much. they'll be lindsey and jeremy's to share if they want to.
and now the day is coming to a close. tomorrow is another day--and i'm thankful for that day. i'm thankful for my amazing church family, for the faith i have to hold on, and the knowledge that we'll get to see ayden again...



  1. Lauren, you did a beautiful job with the pictures. I know that someday they will be glad to have them. The last one is just so difficult to look at. How does someone say goodbye to their child.
    Thank you for sharing them.

  2. Wonderfully Done.

  3. wow... the "band of brothers" image just gives me chills... what an amazing hope we are given in Christ. Truly moving images.

  4. Anonymous1:27 PM

    hello, i came to your blog from the williams blog we attend church with them and i try to catch up on the sweet baby jonahs updates daily. when i was reading about your friends and the lost of their child my heart was broken. i tried to send them a message on the blog but was unable to due so due to not having a blog of my own?? would you please let the family know we are praying everyone min for them!!!! i have a question and i hope to not step on toes, but are they saying the cause? was it SIDS? I pray That God will be with them every day all day! GOD BLESS YOU AND THE JONES FAMILY!!!!!!!!!!

  5. Nancy3:02 PM

    Lauren, thanks for posting these lovely pictures and letting us know about the beautiful service. I read Lindsey's blog yesterday after coming over from Jill's and Patrice's blogs.
    You are ministering in a wonderful way.
    Love, Nancy Etchison

  6. Taylor1:38 AM

    Im Jeremy's cousin. He is like a brother i never had so this has been really hard for me, but i just want to say thank you for posting the pictures...i enjoy looking at them because it makes me feel a little bit closer to them when im so far away.

  7. Beautiful tribute to a beautiful family.

  8. Lauren,
    These pictures are amazing. You mentioned "small world's"...a member of my Sunday school class mentioned this family Sunday and we prayed for them as well. Thank you for sharing this very inspirational family.