That's how I would summarize the funeral we attended today. We left early to head to Spokane (2.5hours drive) for the memorial service of Jay & Katrina Erickson. They were a young couple (26 and 27yr) that moved to Zambia as missionaries just 3 months ago. There were killed June 1 when their plane (he is a bush pilot) crashed into the Zambezi River. Their beautiful little girls ages 3 and 18 months were being babysat by other missionaries while Mommy and Daddy were able to fly together for the first time in 3 months.
We met the family today...Jay's sister and her husband who will be the permanent caregivers of the children. The grandparents (lovely people) and many other important people in their lives.
I was most touched by my conversation with Katrina's mom. She was so sweet. The girls have been staying with her up until now...from what I understand tonight they were going to their aunt and uncles. She just seemed to really be in touch with their grief even at a young age. She said a few times that we don't give young children enough credit and that they understand much more than we think. She talked about the turmoil and the random temper tantrums for no apparent reason. She said how when they are acting up for no reason if you talk of Mommy and Daddy or show pictures...it's peace.
It broke our heart listening to her and seeing the little girls.
I told her that when I went to Africa in April 2010, Azahria turned 2. So a full year younger than Marina (their oldest). When I arrived in Seattle airport 28 days later...I will never forget the look on little Azahria's face. It was a "oh wow...you are alive...?!" look. Her hug was hesitant. She didn't want Daddy out of sight. In the weeks that followed she asked for Daddy when she got a boo boo. She asked for Daddy to pray with her at bedtime and she asked for Daddy for her bath. It broke my heart yet I understand in her fragile little heart she wasn't quite ready to let that wall down. Would Mommy leave again? Would she come back this time? Daddy isn't going anywhere.
They absolutely know something isn't right. She talks very openly with the children and shows pictures frequently. This is Mommy and Daddy. You will always be reminded of them. They are not coming back. They love you more than you know. They are with Jesus.
I had this persistent lump in my throat the whole day there.
I would summarize it all with ... they feel chaos...but there is definitely peace.
Please keep praying for this family and these precious little girls.
We stayed for lunch and then came home later this afternoon.
We were on the balcony of the church. The kids were so cute really taking in everything.
Here we are with Jay's brother Lance and his wife and youngest child. They are also missionaries. He spoke briefly and emotionally at the service. His thought was simple: it's not about honoring them for how they died. They didn't intend to die. It's about honoring the choices they made in life. They sacrificed everything in life...everything material....everything to go and move their young family to Zambia. That's what we need to take note of . That's worth honoring.
We wanted some photos of their little girls Marina (3) and Coral (18m). Here they are in the middle of our children :)
Coral, Marina and Izrael
This was pretty cute when she lit up and smiled :)
Pretty close in size. Izrael was a tad taller but they were cute sitting side by side.
awww. Little Coral.
Dean was standing by the stairs and she saw his hand and grabbed a finger. She never did look up. It was an emotional moment. Our best guess is she just assumed it was her daddy. :( She held on and on and never looked up. Finally her uncle came and took her away and she sobbed so hard Dean looked at me and said "that was so sad. I'm sure she thought I was her Daddy" :(