Saturday, September 10, 2011

Gunner...another child in heaven

Please pray for the family and friends of Gunner Thames, as he went to live with Jesus yesterday following a rodeo accident. 

On August 19, 2011, Gunner had a bad accident while steer wrestling at a rodeo.  He suffered a severe head injury and was life-flighted to a nearby hospital where he was intubated and in a coma for more than a week.  Gunner was improving, so just last weekend, he was transferred to a local neuro rehab hospital.  He even winked at his grandma and blew her a kiss.

I still haven't heard the details, all I know is that yesterday Gunner went to live with Jesus.
Gunner (left) with Parker (right) at the Junior High rodeo awards banquet in March 2010.
(I remember Chrissie looking up at Gunner, admiring his height at this rodeo/banquet!)

Gunner was the same age as our 15-year-old son, Parker.  In fact, I think they were only a few days apart.  They were rodeo buddies, and Gunner was in the 6th grade Rite of Passage class that Matt and I taught at Hays Hills Baptist Church in Buda in 2008.  This is the same class that our student and friend, Jackson Norris, was in, and now both of these boys are together in heaven.  Gunner joined Jackson in Paradise just 3 short months after Jackson went to live with Jesus.

Y'all, I know what it's like to lose a child, and I can securely say it's the absolute hardest thing to deal with, even when you know Jesus and are comforted by Him.  There's not a single day that will ever go by without your child entering your brain numerous times.  The pain doesn't ever go away.  It really doesn't.  Yes, you learn to live with the pain better, but you never stop missing your child.  Ever.

I know what Gunner's family is feeling, and I know what they're going to continue to feel.  I know what Jackson's family is feeling, even 3 months after he's been gone.  Jackson's mom stopped by the hospital the day of Selah's surgery, which happened to be the same hospital where Jesus ushered Jackson to heaven.  Jackson's mom was so brave and courageous to come by the hospital to hug our necks when Selah was there, but it didn't mean she was able to walk in there and hold it together.  She fell apart.  I know first-hand how this feels.

Every single day there are and will be things that pop up where we lose it.  Things we're not expecting to choke us up.  Things like seeing a cute dress that reminds me of Chrissie or a sweet little brown eyed girl hugging her daddy at the grocery store.  Things we can't predict.  Things we can't control.  Things that will bring us to tears when we're least expecting it.

I beg you to keep Gunner's family, as well as Jackson's family, in your prayers.  Grief in itself is so tough to battle through, but when it involved the grief of losing your child, it's just different.  Kids are supposed to outlive their parents.  We see other kids growing up and doing the things our child was supposed to do on earth, and it's just hard.  We KNOW our children are in a better place, we know they're not hurting, we know God is good, we know God is sovereign, we know this was His will, we feel His love, mercy, grace, peace, and comfort, but it's still hard.  So very hard.  And each time another child goes to live with Jesus, especially children we know and love, the pain grips us and chokes us.  So, we humbly ask you to pray, pray, pray.  The death of a child is a very hard thing.  So grateful for the hope of eternal life we have in Jesus.

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