The day after was such a blessing. Friends, family, neighbors, and tons of food came pouring in.
The funeral was really uplifting. Allison, Kayla, and Sharon Sheppard sang "I Can Only Imagine" and all the other preaching and singing was full of hope and joy. It was raining and there was a detour on the way to the gravesite, but then again, nothing was ever normal or easy with Brian. :)
So now, looking back after ten years have passed, am I sad today? Not really. More than anything I am simply grateful. However, I was not always this way. I was by no means a perfect sister. Everyone always praised me for how much I did for Brian, but honestly, my young heart and mind as a 6 year old or even as a 12 year old was often confused, ungrateful, and selfish. I didn't realize what a blessing Brian was. Often, I saw him more as someone who made things a lot harder and inconvenient. Because of Brian we couldn't do a lot of the things that "normal" families could do. We couldn't go outside for more than 5 minutes without checking on him. We had to leave early to go everywhere because we had to have time to put Brian in the wheelchair, get him in the van, and buckle him in. At church we couldn't be a "normal" quiet family because when he coughed we would have to use the loud suction machine to clear his congestion. We couldn't go on regular vacations because, of course, we couldn't take Brian with us. So many little things that most people take for granted....like just going out to the beach as a family was a no small feat. Sometimes it seemed that all the attention was on Brian. I didn't always get what I wanted when I wanted it.
So why am I grateful now? Because God knows what He is doing. Because I am not an atheist or an evolutionist. Because, whether we believe or acknowledge it, God IS working things together according to His perfect will and He IS sovereign over all. God knew we needed Brian and He gave him especially to our family to teach us some very special lessons. Instead of always getting what I wanted I had to learn self-denial at a very young age. I had to learn humility. I had to learn patience by putting off immediate gratification. I had to learn how to sacrifice my own interests. Brian was born with a severe disease which is basically the smoothness of the brain. This made him unable to do really anything (such as walking, taking, eating regularly, or interacting with us as all.) Because of this he needed almost constant care. I was recently blessed by hearing R.C. Sproul, Jr. speak about his daughter, Shannon, who also had lissencephaly. It brought me to tears as I heard him say that in the 15 years he had with Shannon, SHE was the one who was God's gift to them for their sanctification. Brian was God's gift to us. I continue to learn more and more from him everyday. He taught me to have compassion and care for those less fortunate than me. I have a special place in my heart for those with special needs now. I am also better able to reach out to other who have lost siblings or have disabled siblings right now, because I've been through it. I shared about Brian with all of my campers this summer and it was amazing how it impacted them. A lot of them told me that they felt like I could relate to them because of it.