Wednesday, June 2, 2010

What's in a name...

Here is a letter Chloe received soon after Sara passed away...

My name is Chloe. My dad was stationed with Mr. Brady and Ms. Sara while they were in Misawa, Japan. We still live here, and they are remembered often among the entire community. I was told this was the address where I could send a letter to little Chloe. I would greatly appreciate it if it found its way into her book. :)
Thank you


For a while now I've been struggling with what to say to you about your mom. I don't know how old you'll be when you read this or if we'll have met already. Nothing I could say about her will be something you haven't heard already, how wonderful she was and how she radiated with love, and her trademark smile....

The only difference between me and everyone else who's written to you is, name is Chloe, too. And I'm only 15, just a kid.

Your mom surprised me with how warm she was with me, when I first met her. She was an adult, and I expected her to be somewhat distant, like how other adults treated me. But I was wrong. She was so loving! Every time she'd see me she'd give me a hug, and she'd ask how I was, and I felt like she truly cared about my well being, as though we were good friends.

Now that she's gone, I realize I took that for granted. She was someone I deeply respected and admired and aspired to, and I wish I'd let her know that before she left earth.

But I'm letting you know that now, her daughter. The fact that you and I share the same name, and your mother knew me before and during the time she was pregnant with you, makes me want to live up to the name, "
Chloe." Do you know what I mean?

What if I had made her not want to name you
Chloe? What if she had seen how I behaved and disapproved of it so much that she thought, "My daughter can not possibly share the same name as THAT girl!"

I'm glad that's not what happened though.

The fact that I share the same name as the daughter of Sara Sullivan makes me want to live up to it! That's something I can be doing the rest of my life. I want to meet you someday, and when I do I don't want you to be ashamed of me; our name. A name means a lot, even if it seems so little.

I'm truly blessed to have known your mom for as little of time as I did, and I'm sorry you couldn't. But know that she LOVES you! My goodness does she love you, from where she is up in heaven! We'll all be able to see her again someday, and all this sadness experienced on earth will not matter anymore.

Live in a way that will make her proud.

Your sister in Christ,


I still get choked up every time I read that letter.

Last year when Sara was undergoing chemotherapy, we had some house guests staying with us. Meet Matt and Kristi...

Matt and Kristi

Matt and Sara

Matt and I went to college together in Florida and have kept in touch ever since. Matt graduated college and became an Air Traffic Controller, but really wanted to fly. After numerous discussions with Matt about life in the Air Force, he weighed the decisions and signed the dotted line to join the military. After a year of pilot training, Matt was selected to become an instructor pilot and his training for that assignment took place in San Antonio. Thus, the reason they were living with us for a few months.

Kristi visited a few times for 2-week stints. The final time that she visited, Sara was already on bed-rest at the hospital.

Kristi and Sara

After my long days at work and the hospital, it was so nice to come home to a home-cooked meal. Matt and Kristi thought that we were doing them a favor by letting them stay at our house, but in reality they were a HUGE BLESSING to us.

Why am I telling you about Matt and Kristi? Well, as Chloe's letter above says, "A name means a lot, even if it seems so little."

This past Christmas Eve, I got a phone call from Matt. He was calling to inform me that he and Kristi had just found out that they were pregnant with a baby girl...and they wanted to name her Sara.

Baby Sara was recently born and I am looking forward to watching her grow up. I have lots to share with her about her namesake.

Baby Sara

There is a song by Sidewalk Prophets called These are the Words I Would Say. Soon after Sara died, a friend emailed and said she felt like these are the words that Sara would say to Chloe. Now, I feel like Sara would also want Baby Sara to hear them...

And I started writing,
Just what I'd say,
If we were face to face,
I'd tell you just what you mean to me,
I'd tell you these simple truths,

Be strong in the LORD and,
Never give up hope,
You're going to do great things,
I already know,
God's got His hand on you so,

Don't live life in fear,

Forgive and forget,

But don't forget why you're here,

Take your time and pray,

These are the words I would say

Matt and Kristi...Thank you for honoring my wife by naming your daughter after her. Welcome to the journey of parenthood.

Behold, children are a gift from the Lord. The fruit of the womb is a reward. --Psalm 127:3 (NAS)


jennypilgrim said...

Thank you so much for sharing that letter. It choked me up too but I think I needed that today. I know when your Chloe is older, she will cherish this letter as much as you do. Hugs to you and Chloe.

Kelly L Boots said...

Love reading all of your posts! This one made me tear up a bit. Chloe is beautiful and so is little Sara! Congrats to the new parents!

slotmachinemimi said...

What a beautiful letter and such a wonderful young lady, to think that much of your family to write such a poignant letter. You must take comfort in all the love that people had for Sara and are now passing on to Chloe. You and sweet Chloe, remain in my thoughts and prayers. Susan

Leslie said...

What a touching letter for Chloe; I couldn't help but cry through it. And what a beautiful namesake your Sara now has.

parks said...

wow. i am speechless. thank you for writing this today.

Donna said...

This has been a tough week for me. But reading those words made me tear up and realize we don't know what kind of impact we are making on others. Thank you for sharing!

Kel said...

WOW.. once again I can barely see to write! That song is one of my FAVORITES..and what an amazing blessing for the elder Chloe to write...that is so amazing! I too hope to always approach people in a manner that should God call me home I will put a smile on a face as they remember me..even when they miss me as yall do Sara! Baby Sara is so gorgeous! Tell them congrats for us here in Houston... and know that our prayers continue daily! love hugs and prayers Kel

Janet said...

What a special post!

Ana said...

thank you for reading your posts...I am glad Chloe has an amazing dad and people who love her so much. Keep us posted...we care about you and your angel.

Serving the King said...

Gracious I need to re-apply the mascara after that post. Brady it was an absolute HONOR to meet your precious Chloe at Bible Study at Amy's house when you were here. Though I never had the privilege of knowing Sara on this earth it was with such joy and tears that I was able to love on that precious little girl of yours and somehow honoring Sara while doing so. Our family counts it as a privilege to continue to lift you up in prayer. God bless you!

Montgomery said...

Beautiful. so beautiful. It's good to see a pic of sweet Sara and again hear how her life has impacted others. So cool how God gave her the gift of love for teens--such an awesome reminder to especially care for this age group. Hugs and words matter to us all. Thanks for sharing, Brady.

D M Dunn said...

Thanks Brady.

Anonymous said...

What a beautiful letter! Chlo, will have an enormous amount of love pouring through beautiful stories (such as that) about her Mama for the rest of her life thanks to the words of so many that were touched in some way by Sara. What an amazing confession of how a smile and hugs can impact someone. But really it's more than just these things, it's the time one spends to invest in another human being. It's the true meaning of Jesus' love.

Larissa said...

Thank you for sharing! I'm all choked up and lost for words.

J & G said...

You were right Brad. This older Chloe seems like such an amazing young Christian woman. I can see why Sara was attracted to the name. And I know Baby Sara will also one day see why her mom was attracted to the name Sara. I loved my afternoon on Saturday holding Chloe. And we were blessed yall came to Florida to visit earlier this month. I just can't tell you how proud Jim and I are of you and how you are raising that sweet baby girl. We cherish each moment that we get an up-close glimpse of you two and your most special father/daughter relationship. We cheer you on in this journey. I believe we met you when we did because we were just a little farther down the road. God said here are Sara, Brad and Chloe Sullivan. Then He gave us pom poms and said "Go!" We are here for you all the way til we ALL end up Home together at last.

Jenny Wims said...

Those are 2 amazing stories. Thank you for blessing our day by sharing them with us. You have an incredible way with words is a gift.

Traci said...

I just came across your blog and wanted to let you know I appreciate your testimony. I cannot say that I know how you feel or what you are going through, but it is an encouragement to see others who do not turn bitter through "storms" in their life. Keep looking to Him.

Anonymous said...

Brady, I came across your blog yesterday and have spent most of yesterday and today reading all of the posts from start to this current one. I am amazed at your strength and the beauty of your daughter - your relationship is endearing and heartwarming. I've also spent the past two days speaking about your journey and praising God for your strength, courage and faith. Your Ministry is certainly God ordained and Christ centered, so thank you for allowing God to lead you and keep you through all of the ups and downs of your life - your new normal.

I look forward to keeping up with you and praying for you and Chloe.

Blessings from South Carolina!

Shonda said...

How absolutely wonderful! Brady you have hundred's of miracles all around you! You are one blessed man...and lil Chloe, well she knows how blessed she is and no one has to tell her that!


Trixabelle said...

WOW! What a touching letter and amazing tribute to your Sara! Congrats to the new parents and God Bless!

SSBenjamins said...

This is such a loving and touching post- I loved the Chloe / Sara inter twine.. What a sweet young girl to represent her name. Thanks for sharing with all of us.

Tonya said...

Goosebumps and tears accompanied me through reading this entire post. Thank you for sharing. God bless.

Blueangels said...

That is my name and the name of the 14 year old girl I was named after.
She was a student my mother had in preschool many years before I was born but my mother LOVED her as one of her favorite students and kept close with the family through Christmas cards and gatherings.
When Bryn was 14 she was diagnosed with cancer and sadly, died within the year.
My mother had me as sort of a miracle when she was 41 and quickly picked my name after her favorite student Bryn.

I met Bryn's mom when I was in elementary school myself and remember telling her how much I loved telling people how I got my very unique name... because it gave me a chance to talk about her daughter.

I get a "what a beatiful name" almost everytime I introduce myself for the first time, so I get to tell people about her a lot. :)

I am sure baby Sara.... will always feel the same!

Kellie (a.k.a craftyk) said...

Wow, I don't know if I shed more tears reading chloe's letter or about your house guests and the newest sara! how precious! You are all so blessed

Shelley said...

Great post. Those are both moving stories, thak you for sharing! Thank you for continuing to share with us!

Anonymous said...

Hope you had a Happy Father's Day!! Chloe loves her daddy!

prayers from texas

Meredith Ramer said...

I am amazed at the maturity that 15 year old had in writing that letter. I makes my heart smile. Your Chloe is beautiful. May God Bless You Beyond Measures!

Justine said...

This entire post gave me goosebumps! I'm so glad that you have such great people in you and little Chloe's life.

Kari said...

Dear Elder Chloe,
What a beautiful letter to little Chloe! Obviously, you radiate a special quality too and have a wisdom beyond your 15 years. I can only imagine the adoration and attachment that Chloe Sullivan will have for you as she grows up. Perhaps you will pursue a career in writing? You're quite talented to touch us all so!

Dani said...

Brady, your beautiful little daughter made me laugh out loud a few posts ago with the foot kickin'. :)
Whenever I visit this blog I leave with such a full heart; full of sadness for the pain you've been through but also much joy for the love you have for your baby and for the gift she is to you!
Just wanted you to know that I'm praying for you and Chloe when the Lord brings you to mind. God bless you, brother!

Jill Rutland said...

Hey Brady,
I wanted to share with you a story about my sweet little girl. We talk often of heaven, who's there and what it will be like when we get there. She is 3. Yesterday, we were outside and Hadleigh was waving up to the clouds and saying "hi" super loud. I looked up looking for a plane, didn't see one and asked her what she was doing...she said that she was waving and saying hi to God (long pause) and Miss Sara. We think of you guys often! Blessings,
Jill Rutland

Kim said...

Just reading back a little as Chloe celebrates her birthday and I am crying again over the name letter. What a truly amazing young woman and I am sure Sara is grateful for her reaching out to baby Chloe. That letter is something she will always treasure! Chloe is just beautiful! Just wanted to let you know we are thinking of you today and everyday in our prayers!