Usually, my head is full of thoughts that just spew out as I type. But this time, I am speechless, and this parenting thing is HARD.
My dear friend Megan and her husband Jeremy celebrated the life of their baby boy today, Briar Steven. Such grace and strength shined as their beloved family and friends gathered to cherish his life.
On the morning of February 5th, a day after her 31st birthday, and 33 days before her March 10th due date, Megan did anything she could to get the baby to give her those kicks that she loved so much.
The obituary reads: “All of Briar’s beauty and strength came to a sudden rest on February 5th 2015. An intuition only a wonderful mother could understand led to the discovery that afternoon that Briar’s heart had stopped. It was at this terrifying moment Megan and Jeremy learned that they had been carrying a boy. A beautiful boy they named Briar Steven. Megan endured what no mother should ever have to go through and delivered Briar at 3:03 AM on February 6th 2015. He weighed 6lbs 9oz and was 20 3/4 inches long. He had big feet, big hands and a face that was beyond perfect.”
They have endured a hardship that no family should ever have to endure, to lose a child, without answers. Without any reason given to WHY this happened. So many questions, so many thoughts, so much heartache, so much pain. But Megan and Jeremy stood up there so strong today, and praised to celebrate the life of their son. To appreciate and to honor his life. To savor those moments they shared together at his birth. To make him proud and to love him unconditionally.
Megan courageously explained, as she stood at the front surrounded by gorgeous flowers that illuminated her beauty, “Talk to me about Briar. We want to talk about our precious baby boy. Ask me, what have you done to make Briar proud today?” How does she say that? How does she do it? This woman has battled cancer as a senior in high school, two miscarriages before their beautiful daughter Rilynn, and now this. Her answer: faith and love. To love the life that Briar shared with them, and to believe in God that Briar is in heaven in his arms. Amazing strength, she has, they have.
Just incredible. Inspirational.
During the sermon, the pastor spoke about Jeremiah 1:5
Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,
before you were born I set you apart;
I appointed you as a prophet to the nations
And Briar certainly was set apart. Megan lovingly spoke about how sweet his little nose was, how much he looked just like his big sister Rilynn, and how big his baby hands and feet were. Just perfect. But God had bigger plans for Briar. Bigger plans that we will never understand. The pastor just kept saying Briar MATTERS.
The pastor gave the most beautiful sermon. He wholeheartedly spoke of how to grieve with hope. Such an opposing force and so very complicated, but how grief intersects heaven and brings us closer to God, which is what we all want right now, to feel Briar and bring us closer to him. To remember how he looked and felt. To have a little piece of him with us forever.
For the Lamb at the center of the throne
will be their shepherd;
he will lead them to springs of living water.
And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.
I remember when John’s sister passed away almost two years ago of cancer and people were so scared to ask about her, afraid to bring up a sensitive subject, afraid of what to say. But there’s nothing more that we wanted, than to talk about Becca, laugh about stories with her, feel her around us as we bring up memories.
So what do we do from here?
Megan said it best. We talk about Briar, we ask about Briar, we make Briar proud. And Briar, I want you to know. That we are SO proud. You have the most amazing parents and sister that love you so much. That cherish you and love you completely. You would be SO proud of them. The way they stood up there with a heavy heart, but told us how special you are, and how cute you are, and how much they love you. You heard it all, and I hope you are proud. You have a one in a million family. We are all so proud. So lucky to have them in our lives.
Megan, Jeremy, Rilynn, and Briar, we love you.
With Pastor Matt Morrison at Embrace
Briar. We miss you. And we love you.
Megan and Jeremy Bartel Give Forward Donation Page
Briar Steven Bartel Obituary