I got to hold him one last time. I gave him lots of hugs and kisses. I told him he was brave and strong. I told him about his buddy Ted and how we pray for him all the time.
I kept asking his mom if she wanted to hold him. I was so worried something would happen in someone else's arms. I should have known better.
He knows those arms better than anyone. He knows the peace and comfort of those arms. He knows there is no one in the world that can snuggle him like those arms can.
We talked about serious stuff, about what might be happening soon. We talked about how unfair it is, but still had hope. Until his last breath, his mom never gave up hope. I told her I wish I knew why. I told her the only thing I knew was that she was meant to be his mother. We cried thinking about life without him.
We talked about light-hearted stuff too. We laughed and watched football. His dad told me he was going to miss him so much. He kept taking Bradley's hand and stroking his face. He loved his dad's scruffy face.
Other people took turns holding him and then he ended up in his mother's loving arms. I gave my seat to his dad. In those arms like no one else's and with his dad right by his side, stroking his face with his hand, he took his last breathe.
No struggle, no pain.
Right where he should be, in the one place he probably was the happiest and most content, in his sweet mother's arms.
I didn't want to be there when this happened, but the more I think about it I am happy I was there. That may sound weird. I am not happy about what happened. I am devastated for my friends. My heart aches for my son who won't know his friend. But I am happy because what I witnessed was the most amazing example of unending faith, unceasing hope, and unconditional love.
It was tragic...and it was beautiful.
People often say things to try and comfort or maybe to make sense of things. You know the "at least he isn't suffering anymore" or "at least they had time to prepare" comments.
Yes, I am so thankful that he is not suffering anymore and I know his parents are too. However, I don't think that takes away the emptiness. I can only imagine how they feel because I feel empty and hollow.
After watching a close friend go through this, I don't think there is any way to prepare for this. I know what doctors told them, but I also know they never gave up believing he would be healed. Even in those last hours, they still believed he could be healed. I think "being prepared" to some parents means giving up, and I don't know any parent that would ever give up the fight for their child.
My friends were no exception. Like I told them earlier, they were meant to be this boy's parents. They only had their son for a year, but they are amazing parents. They had to take on the role of caregiver and did it with such strength and courage. I know they begged God why this was happening to their son. I know they were scared. I know they cried a lot. I know they never gave up.
What I saw every time was amazing grace.
Another friend who lost her five year old daughter wrote, "I walk with one foot on earth and one foot in Heaven, for I am the mother of a saint."
Sweet Bradley, please pray for all of us, we miss you so much.