Tuesday, July 13, 2010


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


the waites said...

Dear Leanne,

I just wanted to let you know you are in our thoughts and prayers. Im so sorry for your loss, and know that you will see him again. I talked to katie, and she told me he was a special boy that was a righteous leader.
Rachel Waite

we went to Jimmy Eat World with you in LA

Meghann said...

What an amazing way to celebrate and honor an AMAZING child! ~prayers for you all~

Carlson Clan said...

Wow Leanne. Every time I think I've cried all the tears I'm going to over Max you post something else that is even more amazing then the last. I can't believe the amount of courage and strength it took on your behalf to make the best of this situation. I am so inspired by your family and have thought of you and Max every day since hearing about his accident. You will continue to be in our prayers. Good luck.

Ann said...

Have I told you how much I love you Leanne?

Rhonda Riley said...

You are a treasure...

Anonymous said...

Beautiful. What an amazing tribute to your son. It brought tears to my eyes as the mother of 4 and 7 year old boys. May God be with you until you are reunited.

Celine + Cameron said...

The service was so beautiful Leanne, you did such a wonderful job. And like you said, it was amazing to see the church so packed and how many people Max had touched in his life.

Jen said...

Leanne + family,
I have only met you and your family one time through my sister Whitney but over the years I have heard her speak so fondly of all of you. I was with Whitney during the week of Max's passing and heard so many wonderful stories of your sweet little boy. I have prayed for Max and your family daily and am strengthened by your faith, your commitment to your family and your love for one another.

Rachael said...

What an incredible way to celebrate the life of such an extraordinary boy! You guys are such examples to us! We love you.

Anonymous said...

I've seen a post about a King's of Leon's video on You Tube (Use Somebody) which says that a 9 year old boy had learned how to play it at the piano. I googled it and found your website. I don't know any of you, I'm not even american (I'm brazilian) but, as I saw the pics, the stories about you, the family and your boy, I must say that it brought tears to my eyes. I don't know what you believe in, but for everything I've read, I'm sure your kid is in a very special place. May God bless you all.
Anna Clara

Christina said...

It is incredible that you are sharing with all of us your heart...your thoughts...your feelings.

Your attention to every detail for Max says so much about you, Ryan & all of your family. You can certainly feel the love that you are surrounded by.

Stay strong...let your heart take you where you need it to go. We are all continuing to prayer for you.

Amanda Smith said...

Leanne & Ryan,
I am just so impressed with you and your family and the way that you have been able to cope with the loss of Max. I am amazed at the funeral and the celebration for Max's Birthday that you were able to pull together during that time. Your commitment and dedication to your children inspire me to do the same. You are awesome parents! I love you, and I hope that you are really able to enjoy your time in Australia!
Love, Amanda Smith

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