**** Be aware there are some photos here of her in her casket, so if that is to disturbing you may stop HERE.*****
The first series I am featuring were all taken by my dear friend, Shawna Riche. (you rock my friend! Love you!)
I have no idea but I have been told that well over a 1000 people attended the viewing which was held at our church on Friday, July 18. Looking back it was much to long a time for our exhausted state and I literally hyperventilated towards the end. Grief is exhausting and not anything you can expect to be any certain way. Our family is all responding differently. You will actually see some laughter among the tears. If it weren't for supernatural strength from our faithful God above who gifted us with Abby for a few short years, I have no idea how we would survive.
**FYI - you can enlarge any of the photos by clicking on them
we asked for blue skies...
The family photo that was to be this year's Christmas card
Donate life pins and bracelets
The children were exhausted by this point and after some conversation we decided to let them pick and choose when they would be at the viewing
Our sweet friend Hannah coordinated events for all the children that did come
Abby hated wearing shoes and also adored pretty nails so we invited people to come barefoot and with pretty toes in her honor
We cried as we watched the sweet tributes. The one for the viewing was set to music from the movie Frozen
We decorated the area around her coffin
The lines stretched on endlessly...so many sweet friends blessing us with just being there!
Many precious hugs
My 92 year old Grandfather, David L. Wagler arrived early in the evening
Precious cousins who I rarely see
My Great aunt Rachel Graber (Grandpa's sister)
When Great aunt Rachel thought she was alone she went back in to see Abby. I have to wonder what was going thru her mind. She told me several times thru the week how she too lost one about Abby's age, her precious Leroy.
Sharing kisses with Abby's little friend (and second cousin) Vidalia who she prayed for every night
My grandfather's load stopped by the roadside to pick these beautiful lillies-
Then it was the dreaded funeral day which dawned bright and clear just as we had prayed.
One of the hardest parts...gathering for one final moment with her. We placed small silver hearts over her chest and touched her face one last time.
Grandma and aunt Dini say goodbye
Sleep tight my sweet one ~ Mama will come too as soon as she can...
Someone donated red balloons in Abby's honor as red was her favorite color. I have no idea how many, but there were gobs that kept the kidos happy before the service.
Then came the moment for the longest walk of my life...
The grief was almost more then I could fathom as I followed the small white casket down the aisle
It was a perfect service filled with beautiful congregational singing (She learned the old hymn "I am the vine and you are the Branches" at VBS this year and sang it pretty much every day since) and a duet by my Sister and Brother, Janice and Steven along with many special words and scriptures, a dvd tribute set to the song, Heaven got another angel tonite and some home movies of Abby reading and singing
So final...little white box with golden angels adorning the center and a plaque stating her birth and death
We gathered outside the tent for the balloon release.Since she always claimed to be 11 we started there and counted down to 0 before releasing.
Many more tears and hugs and family time and wondering how we will all go on from here.
I am truly comforted by the scripture that says "God will wipe all the tears from our eyes"
And tho we keep mentioning all the things we would gladly trade for just one more moment with her I am excited to know that her death is not the end but only the beginning of her eternity with the Giver of Life.
Having her in Heaven not only makes me long more then ever to go there myself, but also serves as a reminder of the fact that Jesus calls us all to live for Him so we can go to where she is.
I am looking forward to that day....