I was really excited! It's an odd feeling, though... excitement about a cold, hard granite bench to memorialize a warm, soft baby boy. How much more I would rather have the baby boy and not the bench!
It's taken so long and while his bench makes his death seem more permanent, it is SO much better than the tiny temporary marker that was there before that just reminds me of the day of his funeral. It is a beautiful bench that truly honors our son - his beauty, his life, his uniqueness, and his mission on this earth and beyond. I want to go through the pictures I took and try and give you an idea of why we chose what we did (click the pictures to see them larger).
We had a couple friends that have done benches & I liked the idea of being able to come and sit and cry or talk for a while, so we decided on a bench. Link's is only a three foot bench, but I think it's perfect. I wanted the base of the bench to be something completely different than anything I'd seen before - and also something that I felt would represent Link. As I mentioned in the Sunrise Baby post, rainbows are what remind us of Link - their color, their beauty, as well as their fleeting lives. We saw a rainbow on the day of Link's funeral - and also on 2 of his monthly angelversaries. I didn't want it to be a full rainbow - just like the one on the day of his funeral - we could only see about 3/4th of it. I have loved that symbolism - we can't see the end of the rainbow, but we know it's there - just as we can't always see our loved ones close, but they are there just the same. It also reminds me that only God sees the big picture & I need to trust in Him.
The poem written on the colors of the rainbow was something I worked on with my sweet friend, Diane. Here is what it says:
A rainbow appeared and brightened our day
Like most things of beauty, it couldn't stay
A blessing from God to show us His Love
You'll now be our "Link"
to Heaven above.
I really wasn't sure which picture I wanted to put on his bench. How could I choose just one? I finally settled on this one because it truly shows the light, color, and happiness that he brought into our lives. I am loving seeing his smiling face next to that rainbow.
The cars. Well, Jason had saved a bag of matchbox cars from his childhood - hoping to one day watch his son play with them. On the day of Link's funeral, Jason selected a white and orange Porsche 935 to give to his son. He lovingly placed it in his casket and sobbed as he told me "it was my fastest racer." That is the car that we have engraved under Link's dates. Friends and family have placed matchbox cars next to his grave since he died and I thought it would be fun to put a track around the cement pad that his bench sits on. The girls had a fun time today playing on it.
It was harder than I imagined choosing a font for Link's name. We wanted it solid, strong - like him. And I also wanted the "links" by his name.
The saying on the back of Link's bench pretty much sums it up for our family: 'You are truly the "Link" that will hold our family together forever.' This is what gives me hope. This is what our family is striving for - to keep that chain strong and intact - all through our lives so we can all be together again someday. The hearts on either side of the saying are made out of small chain links.
We had each of the girls draw a picture of our family or of Link and them and we had those engraved on the back. I think it will be fun as the years go by for the girls to see their pictures & remember their ages when their brother returned to Heavenly Father. You'll also notice we included Noelle's name on the bottom right.
On the sides of the bench are forget-me-not flowers. Forget-me-nots have been my favorite flower since I was a little girl and was Link's flower/color theme at his funeral. They are my promise to him that he will never, ever be forgotten.
The girls were very excited to finally see their brother's bench. I think coming to the cemetery will be much nicer and something they'll look forward to more. I hope to get a better picture when it's warmer. Sorry about their hair -we had been traveling for a couple hours :)
We are so very thankful for all those that donated money to our family to help with Link's bench. It warms my heart to see it and I am grateful that we could really get what we wanted for Link. THANK YOU!