Pictures from Today 5 21 12

Sleeping overnight at the funeral home is expected. Kurt has
been sleeping at the funeral home along with friends each
night of the wake. Ben has slept there two nights. Each night
there are 8 - 12 people sleeping.

Rice and lechon manok (roasted chicken) for breakfast!

Thankful for friends.

James really misses Jerard. This morning he traced his
hand and had me write "Jerard, I love you and I miss you.
See you in Heaven." He included a picture of him that looks
as if he's waving 'see you later'.

Me, Lola Ruth and Lola Arlene. "Lola" means Grandma.
Ruth and Arlene have been surrogate grandmas for James
and Jerard.


I tend to think in songs.
Early on in the care of Jerard this song by Twila Paris became a background theme song in my head for our Jerard.
A visitor from Heaven
If only for a while
A gift of love to be returned
We think of you and smile

Jerard had a great laugh. A wonderful smile. His smile and laugh could brighten up my day so well.

A visitor from Heaven
Accompanied by grace
Reminding of a better love
And of a better place

Jerard's life has reminded me of a better love...the deep, deep, love of my Saviour.
Jerard could be messy. I changed diapers on him all his life. He drooled. He liked to bite and pinch.
He'd throw up, get sick, be messy....and isn't that how each of us are? A mess? And yet Jesus continues to love each of us just as we are, no matter what mess we are in.

With aching hearts and empty arms
We send you with a name
It hurts so much to let you go
But we're so glad you came
We're so glad you came

I am so thankful Jerard came. I have no regrets having taken him in and walking him through his life these past four years. He is my son, even if the legal paperwork was not completed. His name is Jerard Gonzales Symanzik.

A visitor from Heaven
If only for a day
We thank Him for the time He gave
And now it's time to say
We trust you to the Father's love
And to His tender care
Held in the everlasting arms
And we're so glad you're there
We're so glad you're there

My arms ache to hold him again. To bathe and feed him, to dress him, rock him, love on him....but I know he is so much happier in heaven and I rejoice for him being there and look forward to seeing him again some day.

With breaking hearts and open hands
We send you with a name
It hurts so much to let you go
But we're so glad you came
We're so glad you came

Jerard has been precious to me.
Jesus made him just the way he was just as Jesus made me and my other children the way we are.
Jerard's special needs have been irons of fire Christ has used to mold me more into His likeness.
Jerard's blindness taught me to see the depth of love Christ has for me and for each of His children.
Jerard's weakness helped me discover more deeply the truth in God's word that when I am weak, He is strong.
Jerard's inability to balance taught me the need to lean into my Saviour more.
I loved the way Jerard just seemed to melt into me when I'd hold him.
It was a perfect reminder to me of my own need to lean into my Saviour, resting ever in His arms no matter what storm is raging around me.

I thank God for Jerard.

The road these past four plus years has been hard
I do not regret the road we've traveled with Jerard
It's been a road full of mercy
a road leading me closer to my FATHER's love

And all I know is that all is grace
And my FATHER knew what He was doing when He created Jerard,
When He brought him to our family.
I rest in HIS loving arms
Thanking HIM for HIS gift,
Thanking Him for Jerard.

A Visitor From Heaven Video

A friend of ours put together a video of pictures of Jerard's life along with Twila Paris' song "A Visitor From Heaven"
We have been showing it at the funeral home.
Please watch it. It is 23 minutes.

Tuesday May 22 at 1p will be Jerard's funeral service.
At 3p will be his burial service.

Scenes from Visitation 5/19/2012

James with his brother

Some of James and Jerard's little friends saying "see you later"

a Filipino tradition is to play card games at the visitation.
Ben is playing Uno with JR, LoriAnn and Lani Lou.

So thankful for friends and church family.

Arlene and Jake. Jake put together a wonderful slide
show that shows during visitation. Arlene has been our
faithful steady helper throughout the years. We call her
James' and Jerard's Lola (Grandma). Pray for her as she deals
with her grief.

Funeral Planning Update

Jerard's funeral service will be Tuesday May 22 at 1pm at our church here - Davao Bible Community Church. His internment will be at 3pm at a nearby cemetery, Forest Lake. This cemetery is down the street from where we live and the one we walk in for exercise.