Friday, July 30, 2010

People

When you are confronted with death you think about stuff. I thought about people. I had a dream the other night where I was talking with Max. I asked him if he was having fun playing with his Legos in paradise. In my dream, he looked at me with a coy smile and admitted that he had forgotten to take them with him.
Stuff is stuff but people and our relationships with them, is the heart of our existence. Relationships and experiences are eternal, let's make them good ones.


This is my uncle Lionel and I on a cliff over looking Duranbah, a beach the locals call D'bah.

Lionel was born to fish

My Grandpa Allen taught him when he was three


Lionel wanted to teach the girls to fish. So, we fished. . . a lot.

Abby loved to have the ocean water spray her face, she was totally soaked but loving life.

Charlie had the time of her life after she threw up all over the boat.



Lionel would go as a kid, with my grandpa and my mom fishing for yabbies and crabs.

We wanted to experience it too

The girls followed him around like little ducks

Ryan became an expert yabbie catcher

Abby with a yabbie

This is my mom, Lionel, and my grandpa Allen at a bird sanctuary in Carrumbin around '54
They would go in the mornings to the feed the birds

We wanted to go too.

It was still there

This is My Grandma Shirley

She might not remember what she told you 5 minutes ago or which door leads to her bedroom but she is the sweetest thing to be with and be loved by



She taught the girls how to peel prawns and shell crab.

We ate some tasty fresh seafood dinners

Happiness

Stay tuned for more living

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

There is life after death, we're going to live it!

When I started my blog, this is what I wrote in my "about me" section. . .

*
We are a family determined to live life! It may not always be perfect or it may not be the way other people think we should live it but it's our life and heck, whether it be small or big, simple or complex, short or long we are going to live it!
*

Death has laid it's heavy hand on us and has hushed a laughter we've held so dear. Max has moved on to a better place but his memory and laughter will always remain with us.
With Max's death, our life has been turned upside down. What better way to handle it than to take an extended trip to the down under, Australia. We packed our bags and headed out, determined to lose ourselves in order to find ourselves. I'm tellin you, there's a lot I'm finding out about myself and my family.

This is us . . . LIVING life.



Watching the sunrise on Palm Beach with the bare necessities, "Pinky" and an apple

Did you know I'm half Australian?? This is my Grandma Shirley and my uncle Lionel


The view of Palm Beach from our flat


Love

Stay tuned for more Living

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Max

I wanted to post about Max's service and his birthday, but I'm away from home and don't have access to my photos so I stole some pics from my sister-in-laws blog. Thanks Em. I'll update with more pics when I can.

I am still humbled when I think about the amount of people sending words and tokens of love and encouragement, keeping us in their prayers, giving thoughtful gifts to my girls, food, and helping with the funeral service. A special thanks to Ben Webster for designing and pressing the incredible Max programs for the services. There are too many people to thank individually. You all will never know the oh so needed strength it gave me each day.
Ryan and I can't thank you all enough.
*
I didn't want to wake up the morning of the service. My stomach was wrenched with a horrible sinking feeling. Am I really doing this? Am I really going to bury my son today? It was a surreal feeling. As the morning went on I read emails, letters, scriptures and looked around at all my family, they were all there, every beautiful one of them. I couldn't help but feel lifted up and encouraged to get through this nightmare of a day.

The service was amazing. The place was packed, I could just see Max's big Indiana Jones smile(that's what he called it) as he saw how many people he had actually effected in his short life. Speaking at the service was one of the hardest and easiest things I've ever done. Hard because it was my Max's funeral, and easy because talking about my feelings for my precious boy is as natural as the sun. The talks, the music, the slide show, it was all amazing. The spirit of love and heartache mixed with the laughter of memories was beautiful. We couldn't have asked for anything more to honor our son.

The burial was another challenge. The finality of it all. As crazy as it might seem, I felt rested, along with a lot of other horrible feelings but mostly I felt peace. After his accident in Idaho, Max was life flighted to Salt lake, a flight Ryan and I were not aloud to go on. We drove to Primary Children's Medical Center in Salt Lake City where he was eventually pronounced dead. Ryan and I had to fly home without him, an extremely hard thing to do. His little body was later transported to Oceanside. Like when a mother loses her child for a moment in a department store, she doesn't feel complete until the child is again safe by her side. Although Max had already passed away, I couldn't feel complete without knowing and seeing exactly where he was and that his body was safe. When his body was lowered into the earth in his favorite Star Wars shirt and with his Lego figures, I knew we had sent him off the right way.



Max loved his cousins so much. Each one of them gave Max a rose.


I asked the cousins to build him a sign out of Legos. This is their masterpiece. It was lowered with Max and these Lego warriors are now watching over him.


The following day was Max's 10th birthday. Another huge challenge for us but we decided to celebrate it. We all (sisters, aunts, uncles, cousins and grandparents) went to Lego Land, his favorite place in the world. Although there were some silent tears shed when I would catch myself looking for Max amongst the cousins and would remember he wasn't there or when I saw the break dancing Lego figures in little NYC and thought of him. It was a tribute to Max and I felt his happy spirit smiling with us. Especially when Ryan, Abby, Charlie and I screamed "Maaaaaaaaaaaaax" as we went down the Project X roller coaster.


July 2008: Photo of Max's first time on Project X with Ryan, Abby, and I



Later that evening our families put together an annual Max's Beach Day. A day to remember and celebrate the amazing person and example Max is to all of us.

Align Center

Family and friends gathered together with great food, a super cool treasure hunt. . .


. . . treasure. . .



. . . and a birthday cake.
It was magical.
Happy Birthday Max, we all love you.


Ryan and I cannot begin to express our thanks to everyone for the out poor of love and support.

thank you thank you thank you





April 2010: Photo of Max with his sisters Abby and Charlie, and the David and Emily Francis cousins, Sam, Ethan, Aidan, and Henry

Forever Our Max

Dear Max,

When I was a little girl I dreamed about finding my soul mate, marrying him and having a family. I couldn’t wait for it all to begin. After I found your daddy and we were married I couldn’t wait to carry the title of mother. I would sit on the beach while daddy surfed and would write in my journal about one day becoming the greatest mommy the world has seen and about all the fun things I would do with my kids. I would even sketch pictures of me with a baby in my arms.

When I found out I was pregnant with you, I called your daddy and told him to meet me at the beach. He sat next to me and I told him the incredible news. The happiness in both our hearts was as big as the ocean. We spent the next while watching the waves at Wind and Sea and talking about the greatness that was about to come upon us and how awesome it was going to be to be parents.

Right after you were born, I felt like they had just placed a piece of Heaven in my arms. I looked into your pure blue eyes and knew that God had given me something so special that words couldn’t even begin to describe. When I saw Daddy’s face looking at you, it was as if you were the thing he had been waiting for his whole life, a piece in our puzzle that fit so perfectly. It was instant love. The way he looked at you made me fall in love with him all over again. It was then and there that I discovered what joy and happiness really is. Every day I shared with you Max were days of pure joy and happiness.

There isn’t one thing I would change about our life together. I took you in Max, all of you. Every day I would drink in your smile, devour your hugs and awe at you wisdom and love of life and people. I gave you everything a mother could and it was as easy as breathing. But Max, you gave me more. You gave me so much more. I want you to know how profoundly proud I am of you. You did it! You did what all of us are trying so hard to do. It was like it was a simple thing for you to do. You led a righteous life and made it back to live with our Father in Heaven. I know in my heart….with all that I am….that He is pleased with the life you led here on earth. I love you so much Max. I will miss seeing your magical face and holding my sweet boy in my arms but I know that you are always in my heart and I will one day be with you again.

Love,
Your forever loving mommy,
Leanne

Monday, July 5, 2010

Funeral services for Maxwell Ryan Harris


Funeral services for Maxwell Ryan Harris will be held on Wednesday, July 7, 2010, at 11:00 a.m.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Easter

Just a reminder that I am still pretending I have been blogging. :)

We went to St. George and met up with my brothers and fam, mom and dad, and uncle and fam. We all stayed in an awesome rental house and enjoyed the chaos together.

Family bike ride

Took a beating and kept on riding. Atta boy!

Boys and Petra glyphs



A holiday would not be a holiday without Legos


The kids loved Letter Boxing (online treasure hunt thing)







We got a little lost and some blood was shed but the kids had a great time!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Cousins

My brother and his family came to visit. We all love it when that happens!

Skipping rocks after a great hike

Happy birthday David!