Friday, October 9, 2009

Letters...

Thank you to all of you who have sent letters for Chloe's book and/or letters to me about my beloved wife.

I am going to share a letter (in its entirety) that I recently received from Sara's college roommate and longtime friend, Lisa Waller.

Lisa gave me permission to share her letter with the masses, and I feel like you will know Sara better after reading this...

October 1, 2009

Dear Brady,

Where do I even begin? I'm sorry for your loss? God is glorified even in the midst of suffering? Sara was such an amazing woman and we'll all miss her dearly? Surely, all these things are true. But you were right when we spoke at the memorial service and you said, "I know; what do you say?" There are no words.

I've been replaying several memories in my mind since the day Sara died. I'm sure she has told you this story herself, but one of the best times I had with your sweet wife was in Rome. It was one o'clock in the morning and we were having drinks in the Piazza Nirvona. Our waiter had been flirting with us for quite some time, and when a peddler approached us asking if we would like to buy a rose, our waiter took the liberty of buying a dozen for the two of us. Knowing we were leaving the next morning for Germany, Sara had the brilliant idea to spend the rest of the evening giving the roses away. I've never had so much fun; it felt like we were in a movie. You should have seen the looks of peoples' faces - a couple who was arguing suddenly stopped after Sara surprised them with the first rose. We threw one to a guy on a vespa and he held it up high yelling, "Gratzi!" Several homeless men at the train station woke up the next morning to roses on top of their bags. What a night we had!


Another night we went out dancing at a night club in Florence until the wee hours of the morning. Your sweet, innocent wife accepted an invitation to go have drinks at an apartment of one of the guys we were dancing with all night. When I told her I refused to go and that all they wanted was ... well, you know ... she couldn't believe Italian men could be so forward! Thankfully she listened to me and we made it home to our hotel safely. That was Sara, though, always believing only the best in others, even crazy Italian men!


I also recalled this week a time when we went running on the military base in Liverno, Italy, that same summer we backpacked through Europe. She said, "Lis, I could get used to the military lifestyle. I could be a military wife." I responded, "I could never do that, but I could be a pastor's wife. I could be a missionary." A few years later she married you, the "military" man, and I married Bryce, the pastor.

I also remember being at Max's for the crawfish boil and dragging Sara with me. We had been there no more than 10 minutes when she pulled me into a bedroom and said, "Lis, Brady got soooo hot!" I think it was only a couple of weeks later that she wrote you the letter telling you she was in love with you.
I could go on and on Brady. You, too, know how amazing your wife was and have more memories to share with Chloe than the rest of us. I'm sure it will take a lifetime to sort through them all.

Meanwhile, I hope you know how much we love you and Chloe. We've been fervently praying for you as a family and will commit to doing so in the years to come.
As the Lord would have it, I read 1 Thessalonians 4:13-14 the morning I flew to Houston for the memorial service. It reads: "But we do not want you to be uninformed brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep." Verse 17 of the same passage finishes, "And so we will always be with the Lord." There is so much hope in this, that though Sara's body is sleeping until the Lord returns, her soul is not! Just as Jesus tells the thief on the cross, "Today you will be with me in paradise," sweet Sara is with Jesus right now. Can't you see her smiling?

After arriving back in Billings, I glanced up at a large black and white picture we had enlarged. It is of our wedding and captures a moment of several people dancing to the band. It is one of our favorite photographs because it displays candid poses of dear friends. Sara is in the center dancing. I hadn't noticed it before, but there she is, in the middle of the dance floor surrounded with friends. I think this is always how I will remember her.


Thank you for being such a loving, gentle husband to her. I know the same qualities that Sara fell in love with will translate into you becoming a wonderful father. You already have.
As you grieve, not like those who have no hope, but with the very hope that Sara shared with so many - hope in Christ, know that you are not alone. We will pray and wait with you until the day when we will all be reunited in heaven, with Jesus, and sweet Sara dancing in the center.

Love, Lis

Another letter I want to share with you is from Sara. One year ago (Oct 13, 2008), Sara's grandmother passed away. Sara and I were in Korea for an air show when we received the news, and unable to make it home for the services. Sara had been home a few months earlier and spent a lot of time with her Grandmother while she was in the hospital. Sara compiled some of her thoughts and sent them home for the pastor to read at her grandma's funeral. I think you will find her words interesting, now that she too has "gone home."

Hey there...
Here are some scriptures, and I guess my thoughts. I love you all and wish I could be there with you. I am praying for you all.
-Sara

Mary, Mother, Mom, THE MOM, Grandma, and Great-Grandma. These are all names of the amazing woman we know and love who just recently left this earth to be with our Father in Heaven. As I think about my grandmother I am full of pride and love for the woman she was. I rarely left her presence without learning something new about her or our family. I treasure my time with her. I look back now at the time she spent in the hospital and count it as a blessing.

Because of the situation, my heart was stirred to spend as much time with her as I could, and I count that as a gift from God. It was during this time that I saw Grandma get attitude for the first time in my life and had the privilege of sharing the moment of her taking her first sip of Starbucks coffee ever! You could say I'm a Starbucks junkie, so sharing something I enjoy so much was truly a precious moment for me.


Grandma's First Starbucks Coffee

I also was able to pray with her before one of her daily PT walks, and for me this is the most beautiful thing I could experience with her. Going before God with those we love warms my heart and pleases or Savior, so I am grateful for our prayer for strength as she prepared to walk.

It is never easy to lose someone you love, but there can be a peace when we know that they are in a better place. I feel so blessed to have had my grandmother in my life for as long as I did. She is an amazing woman whom I greatly admire and will dearly miss. I love you, Grandma.

My prayer is that in this time of grieving we will allow our Heavenly Father to wrap His arms around us and comfort us as only He can. We have a God who loves us and cares for us more that we can ever imagine. He knows the number of days in each of our lives before one ever comes to pass.

All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. --Psalm 139:16

I praise Him for the little reminders of how much He loves us as we see things that remind us of Grandma and make us smile. I believe these are gifts from Jesus because he cares for us and wants us to experience His joy in this painful time.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight --Proverbs 3:5-6

The Lord your God is with you, He is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing. --Zephaniah 3:17

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven: a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance. --Ecclesiastes 3:1, 4

Though He brings grief, He will show compassion, so great is His unfailing love. --Lamentations 3:32

Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness. I say to myself, "The LORD is my portion; therefore I will wait for Him. --Lamentations 3:22-24

For those of you who desire to have your letter included in Chloe's book, please get them sent to Debbie Dunn by the end of October. At that time, she is going to compile the book.

Once again, her address is:

Debbie Dunn
500 Riders Trail
Austin, TX 78733

If you want to email her a letter, you can do so at dunnz@aol.com.

Thank you for continuing to check up on us. Chloe and I are in Dallas this week, spending time with my brother and his wife. Next weekend, we are running in the Dallas Race for the Cure. You can click here to see the Susan G. Komen - SaraSTRONG webpage.

Hope all is well.

26 comments:

stmurattler said...

Brady, Thank you again, for your wonderul gift to us all. I will be praying for you, Therese, Jay, Chloe, and all of team SaraSTRONG as you raise money so one day we WILL find a cure! I think of you, Sara, and Chloe daily. You are my inspiration. Tell Therese and Jay hi for me. Sending my love, Lauren

momMYsliceoflife said...

Brady, I have been so touched by your story. You are an amazing man. I pray for you and choloe often and so appreciate the updates.

I think it so special that y'all are going to run this weekend in Dallas. It is a truely amazing event.

La Famiglia Repucci said...

Thanks for sharing Brady! Thanks Lisa for that wonderful, wonderful, wonderful letter! I LOVE IT! Absolutely is sooo Sara and well said. I am just all smiles and rejoicing for my sister.

Kathy said...

Two very beautiful letters. Thank you so much for sharing them with us.

My thoughts and prayers are with you and Chloe.

Anna said...

Such beautiful words from Sara's friend! I pray for all who are participating in the Race for the Cure, especially all of you on team SaraSTRONG!

Victoria said...

Your wife, even after she has passed, is still an inspiration to us, who stumble along. Thank you for sharing your story.

Lisa said...

Dear Brady,
I am almost speechless. Although we have never met, you have renewed my faith even more than I thought possible. I have always been a spiritual person, a believer; but to see the loss you have suffered and how you are moving forward with Chloe is amazing. All the words that Sara wrote in her letter regarding her Grandmother were so true. And how fitting that she wrote those words and now we can use them to comfort ourselves. I have no doubt that Sara was an amazing woman and together you and she have created a beautiful child who will carry those wonderful characteristics. I continue to pray for you...for the journey you are on with Chloe. I pray for inner peace for you and continued strength.
thank you does not seem like enough to say, but thank you for sharing your story. You are the true human spirit.
Be well, and I look forward to more pictures of that beautiful little girl! She is just so precious!
Lisa :)

dkconley said...

I had lost my way on Gods path, but thanks to you and Sara I found my way again. I truly believe that Sara had a very important job here on earth. Having Cloe and changing the lives of thousands of people. She must have been amazing for God to pick her for such a task. You are so blessed to have had her.

angiecabaniss said...

Your faith continues to amaze me. God bless.

Andolicious said...

Beautiful, both of the letters. Sara's story has captured me. What a beautiful life cut short. My prayers are with you, Chloe, Sara's family, and your family. I admire the faith you and Sara have. God bless.

Carrie @ Cottage Cozy said...

That will be a very special book for Chloe to treasure!

Carrie

Robin said...

the letters are beautiful, just as Sara and Chloe are. You are in my thoughts daily as you grieve and learn about that wonderful baby of yours. Thanks for keeping us updated.

Dawn said...

Good luck on your run! We'll be cheering from San Antonio...

thanks for sharing the letters, although a HUGE lump is in my throat, my heart is filled with warmth and joy.

Randi said...

Brady, Thank you so much for continuing to update all of us who have been touched by your story. I am still amazed by the strength and love and bravery and courage within you. You and your family are often in my thoughts. Sincerely, Randi Michelle

Melissa's Thoughts said...

Brady, Thank you for shairing your and Chole's life with us. You both are in our prayers as we are all family even though we don't know each other personally. God is our father and loves us so much. That is why He gives us each other to lift the other up and encourage their daily walk. Be encourage my brother.

Mimi said...

Brady,

Thank you so much for sharing those letters with us. You amaze me with every post. You are a strong man and a strong father. Chloe is very lucky to have a daddy like you and Sara was so lucky to have a husband like you. And you were very lucky to have Sara as a wonderful wife. Thank you for letting us be a part of your life during this difficult time. Big hugs to you.

Kami

Anne said...

Thanks for continuing to update all us strangers as well as your loved ones! Continuing to send my prayers -

Anne

Kelli said...

The book that is being compiled will be a precious treasure to you and Chloe. A glimpse into the life that Sara lived...one devoted to Christ. She will live on. Prayers from SC!!

darcie said...

I too am a stranger stopping in to give you my best. I lost my own mother before I turned 3 and have no memories, no stories of her. Keep up the great work in preserving Sara's memory for your beautiful daughter - she will treasure it like nothing else.
Take Care - xoxo

pamm said...

My daughter went to school with Sara from elementary through high school. I watched her grow, and am very saddened by her passing. Your strength and faith is amazing to me. As others have done, I thank you for your honesty and thoughts through these blogs. I check back daily, and hope you continue to give us updates on your sweet daughter. My prayers are forever with you and Chloe.

The Forey's said...

Dear Brady and Chloe,
I have to say I have never been so inspired by a single person and their story as I have since 1st hearing of you. I did not have the pleasure of knowing Sara while she inhabited earth, but even getting to know her after her death, I feel blessed.
Sara seemed to be an amazing woman who found an amazing man and together bread their legacy. Chloe, you are your mothers’ legacy. She lives in you. You breathe life to her memory every day.
As I obsessively read how Sara spent her days I can’t help but think…Was this woman a movie star? I mean really, spending the night in Rome handing out roses to perfect strangers…who does that? Apparently Sara does. It really gives you insight to her heart. The type of person she must have been. I have to say it is only the kind the lord can create.
I wanted to thank you. Thank you for sharing your faith and for spreading your love even in the darkest of hours.
-Aimee
A total stranger

K.K.'s Korner said...

Brady, I do not know you but I check this blog daily. I am uplifted my every post. You are a true man of God to be so postive in such a trying time. I am an FCA leader in a high school in Mississippi and you and Chloe are on our prayer list. Thanks!!!

chris, katy, and christopher said...

Brady, like many others, I am just a stranger. My family will continue to lift up your family. I have no doubt that Sara is once again sitting by her grandma's side sharing a cup of Starbuck's coffee.

Kel said...

What an amazing woman Sara must of been. I was not priveledged to know her in life but am blessed to see how her life effected sooo many lives! God has a plan for us all and sometimes we don't know what He is up to. You my friend are a prime example of faith. The love you have for your wife and daughter radiated through the love of our Brother Jesus just beams! Thank you for sharing her with us! We continue to pray for you and Chloe and know God has wonderful plans for you too! hugs from Houston

Stephaney said...

We have been praying for you today as you and Chloe along with others participate in the Race for the cure....GO TEAM SARASTRONG!!!!!!!!

Caroline said...

I am truly blessed to know you Brady. We love you guys. We continue to pray for you and spread your story. I hear you and sweet Chloe may be planning a trip to CO in the near future??? I sure hope so! Love you! Caroline (Kiki)