Friday, October 30, 2009

Too Soon...

Early Tuesday morning, I boarded a plane bound for Colorado Springs. Katie Friedman's funeral took place at the US Air Force Academy Chapel in Colorado Springs on Wednesday afternoon.

US Air Force Academy Chapel

During Sara's treatment, we frequently talked about how the trials that we were going through would enable us to offer "been there/done that" support to people experiencing similar situations. I never fathomed that I would be offering that support so soon.

I thought I was mentally prepared for the trip, but found it very difficult to walk into the funeral home, knowing full well what Jon and his family were experiencing. After I learned of Katie's death, it took me a long time to understand the feelings I was having. I had just experienced the death of my loving wife, but the feeling of helplessness from "being on the outside" and unable to help, was a horrible feeling. I now know how you felt for our family, and for that I thank you.

Katie and Sara had many similarities. Both were due with their babies on the same date. Both were married for 5 years. Both were great friends to all who knew them. Both were known for their "infectious" smile. Both loved to be on the dance floor. Both loved their families well. Both loved to travel. Both had their funerals in the same place where they were married. Both had the same song at their wedding ("The Prayer"). And, most importantly, both loved Jesus!

As I was sitting in the crowd at Katie's funeral, emotions arose and I found it hard to believe what had taken place in the past month. Watching the slide show before Katie's funeral, this picture brought on a wave of emotions.

Mary, Katie, Evelyn, and Sara
Korea - Feb 2007

It is hard to believe that this picture was taken almost 3 years ago...it feels like yesterday. How can 2 of those healthy ladies now be gone?

Though most of the trip was wrapped up in sorrow, there was a large showing of friends from our squadron in Korea (where we met the Friedmans). Reunions should not only take place during times of sadness, so we decided that there is going to be an annual 36 FS Fiend Reunion in Florida. Chloe and I look forward to attending.

"For We Are FIENDS!"

One of the neat stories that came from the trip to Colorado has to do with the blog. Katie shared Sara's story with many of her family and friends. There is a group of moms who Katie met online when she was pregnant with her first son, Clark. This group of ladies became good friends via the internet as they discussed their pregnancy stories, birth stories and stories about raising their little ones. Eight of these ladies (who had never met in person) flew in from across the country to pay their respects to Katie and met for the first time. This speaks volumes about the person that Katie was. While at the visitation on Tuesday night, this group of moms came over to me and said, "Are you Brady?" Katie had told them about our story and they have been following the blog. It was great to meet some of the "strangers" who have been praying for us. A chaplain from the Air Force Academy (who was officiating Katie's service) did the same thing (walked up and asked if I was Brady). He and his group of cadets have been following the blog and praying for us, too. Thank you to all of you "strangers" out there who have been following our journey and praying for us. I look forward to meeting some more of you in the future.

Please continue to lift up the Friedman/Wise family in your prayers. Thank you!

Chloe spent the week with my mom in Austin. Here is an updated photo. She is getting big!

35 comments:

Colleen said...

Oh, Brady. It is so wonderful that you went to Katie's funeral to reach out to Jon and the boys. You are a very good man. Our family continues to pray for yours and for Katie's.

--Colleen & Kyle "Smiley" Kolsti

Kelli said...

How awesome that you were able to support Katie's family!! Still praying for you and Chloe!!!

Tara. said...

I'm so glad you were able to be there at her funeral, with her friends, your friends, and the family. The picture of her with Sara is breathtaking. What you said about 2 healthy people being gone struck something in me. You just never know what tomorrow will bring, so cherish today.
I will continue to lift ALL of you up in prayer.
Chloe is precious and she is growing SO much!

Rachel said...

I just wanted to tell you how beautiful Miss Chloe is. I see alot of mommy in her precious little face!!

Inger said...

I too am one of the strangers that learned of your blog via a friend on facebook. A fellow Christian, I've been following your blog and have been touched by it. I am so sorry for your loss and can only imagine the pain and heartache you are experiencing. But even through this I can see that God is working something great in you. He is the best comforter and hears our prayers.
Your daughter is beautiful! :)

Karen said...

Chloe is beautiful~as are your words. Still praying for you guys and the Friedman's.

E. Merritt said...

Our hearts are heavy as we continue to pray for strength for both your families. My husband knew Jon while at the Academy and was heartbroken to hear of his loss. You're doing a great job with Chloe.

Victoria said...

Chloe is getting so big and beautiful. It looks like she is waving hi to us all. Take care and God bless!

Brooke and David said...

My heart aches everytime I think of your family! I have never met you or your beautiful wife Sara, however, I feel like I know her. I sometimes talk about her as if she was my friend.

I can't thank you enough for sharing your story.


Chloe is so blessed to have you as her daddy!

Anne said...

Great to hear from you here again. Yes, Chloe is getting big and is still beautiful. Thanks, as always, for posting.

Anne

Sheridith...Mom to Peeps said...

Your courage an dtrue love of God have given me new insight..into FAITH...something that is often not as easy as it should be.. when I want to cry out with self pity.. I think of this blog... and how blessed I am. My chloe just turned 1 and I think your Chloe is more beautiful with each picture. May God be with you both.. and all of your friends. Thank you .. . for sharing!

tracy said...

I am so glad that you were able to go to Katie's funeral. I can only imagine how hard it was for you. I think that it speaks volumes of your strength to go and support Jon while you are experiencing the same incredible loss. Although we do not grieve like those with no hope, we still grieve and feel the pain of living without Sara. You are doing a wonderful job. We continue to hold your family in prayer. Thank you for living out your faith in such a way that will change other people's lives.

bethanyleigh said...

We are praying for you and Chloe and for Katie's family as well...

Tabatha said...

Although I am sure the trip to Katies Funeral was hard for you. It shows the great strength and faith in God that you have.
Chloe is getting so big already.
Enjoy her she will grow too fast.....
God Bless and you and Chloe are in my thoughts and prayers daily!!

Nicole said...

Hi Brady

Please know that my family and I have you and Chloe as well as Katie's family in our prayers. I stumbled across your blog and have been following your story all the way from South Africa! I am mom to three wonderful girls (aged 11 months, 2and a half and 11 years) and wife to Marc. We are so blessed by Sara's life and your testimony!

Kindest regards and prayers your way,
Nicole

Jenna said...

Hi Mr. Sullivan,
My family and I have been reading your blog for the last few weeks and we cry everytime we think of you and Sara's FAITH in JESUS CHRIST. Your family has been such a testimony to us. We are praying for you and little Chloe as well as the Friedman's.

May Jesus Christ bless you Abundantly~
Jenna

chrissy1976 said...

Brady, I'm one of the "strangers" that has been following your blog...I'm also one of the mommy's in the mommy group you mentioned and learned of your family through Katie. I am so glad that you were able to attend the services and be there for Jon and his family, I can't imagine how difficult that experience must have been for you. I was at the Komen race in Dallas the weekend Katie passed, I saw SaraStrong...even walked next to a couple on the team, but felt silly introducing myself...now I wish I had. You have an amazing spirit and Chloe is absolutely beautiful. Thank you for sharing your story with the world. You and your wife and family have touched more people than you will ever know. I wish you continued strength and support.

chrissy1976 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jennjilla said...

I'm totally a "stranger", and yet feel totally compelled to pray for you, Chloe and now your friends. I'm so sorry that y'all are enduring yet another loss, and pray for strength during these tough times. God Bless! P.s Chloe is getting big, and even more beautiful!!!

Kami said...

I'm sorry for all of the loss. It saddens my heart so much. I'm glad you were able to meet blog followers and get to know so many who care for you and your family too. Chloe is getting so big and she is absolutely beautiful!

Kami

Erica said...

Awesome that you were there for Katies family. I can't imagine the mixed emotions. Sweet Chloe is just precious! Continued prayers for all of you.

Melissa's Thoughts said...

God knew he could trust you with Sara's legacy. I know your trip to Colorado for Katie's funeral meant more than you will ever know. Chole is getting so big and is so beautiful.

Stephanie Anne said...

Brady,
I can't thank you enough for continuing to update us on how you and Chloe are doing. It means so much to those of us who are far away and are unable to have everyday contact with you.
Your story has touched so many lives in so many different places. I've met several people over the past month or so and just in random conversation I'll mention Sara and it doesn't surprise me...they are already familiar with her story.
I can't wait until you can maybe bring Chloe to visit Brent and Sheryl so that we may have a chance to meet her.
Enjoy that precious baby because she is already growing up so fast and trust me...it doesn't get any slower.
Continued prayers for you and Chloe and Jon.
Stephanie Anne

FSD said...

I can only imagine how tough that trip was for you. It's great, though, that you were able to be a blessing the Friedman and Wise families during this terrible time. That photo with Katie and Sara is pretty eery....it's just so baffling.

Chloe and you remain in my prayers. She IS growing so much. It looks like you're doing a great job! God's continued blessings to Chloe and you.

Donna said...

Continuing to pray for you and your family...what a blessing you are/have been to me and what a sweet testimony you have! I first heard about you from another blog (Kelly's Korner) and have checked on your blog every few days since then.

Baby Chloe is absolutely beautiful!

Donna said...

I pray for your family even though I do not know you. I work so hard trying to do things that will help in this awful fight against cancer. And I look to God for his guidance when it seems like the battle is being lost. Thank you for sharing your life with us.

Paige said...

Still praying for you and your family, as well as the Friedman's. May God continue to uphold you during this time!

Lisa said...

I too am a stranger who continues to pray for you, Chloe and your family. My family has added the Freidman Family to our prayers as well. We may never meet here on this earth, but we will meet one day in heaven!
And Chloe is a doll!

Kel said...

I can't imagine the mixed emotions. I read this today.. the day my babygirl Kassie was born and died in Achorage Alaska when we were stationed in Adak... and although it's been 18 yrs now..wow.. I still have a moment of tears .. so to read this .. anyway I am so glad you were able to be there and that picture of the 4 of them is a true sign that God has His plan for us and we should live each day to the fullest and praising him always for another day ... they are beautiful women.. and the sun shines brighter with their smiles up above. Chloe is getting so big and filling out... thanks for posting her updated pic as well! Stay strong Brady and remember Our daddy is there always.. even on the nights that sneak up on ya.. when ya think you are doing great.. I know.. they still happen to me all these years later... hugs love and prayers from Houston

Montgomery said...

I miss Sara and Katie... Every time I look at my Korean Name framed or think of the Osan Christmas party I think of them together. Evelyn's camera took that picture...I don't know why I got the pic from her...We saw the Waller Family at the memorial in Italy. Col Waller words to Jeff and I about Christ being lifted up at Katie's funeral made me cry...Praise God, Praise God. Thanks for letting us know about the service. Ciao, Brady.
JJ&G

minda312 said...

Brady-
I was introduced to your blog today- and I sit in awe/joy/sadness all at the same time. Your story, so beautifully crafted by the greatest Writer of all time, has had such a season of sadness. But I rejoice with you in knowing that joy comes in the morning and your season is soon upon you. I don't know you, Sara, Katie or anybody that has been mentioned in this blog personally- but I do know that I have just read a blog about a sister in Christ that I am sure to meet one day.

Praying for you and your sweet daugther- as well as this new family you have just mentioned.

-Minda

Kyle and Paige Patterson said...

The Lord will bring you through this.
Phil.1:6
James

We pray for you! We will meet you in heaven
Kyle, Paige, Gunnar and Rowen

monkeybabysav said...

I am a student at southwestern baptist theological seminary. One of my classes asked us to pray for your family. I have been following your blog. I am so sorry for what you and your family have been through. Praying that God will heal those wounds. I am so sorry that you are already having to counsel those who are experiencing what you have gone through. Sorry they had to go through it as well. I will be praying for both familys. You should look up 2nd corinithians 1:3-7. Its my life verse.
savanna

Barrett and Jen said...

She is absolutely beatiful!

Tyler and Laura Smith said...

Brady, I haven't met you (yet...we're in the F-16 community also so hopefully someday) but have been following your blog since we heard about it from our fellow friend, Katie Friedman. Such a tragedy...I miss Katie daily and will continue to lift you and the Friedmans up in our prayers. May God continue to give you strength.