I learned a lot from my son in the 6 months that he was here with us. I wanted to share with everyone the message I shared at his ceremony. I know there are a lot of people out there who are supporting us and could not be at the service and so I wanted to share what I shared with those who did attend. Below is the opening message I shared.
I would like to thank all of you for being here today. We have been touched by all the overwhelming support we have received from all of you. Your support has been a vital part of our healing this week.
As we gather today, I know there will be tears shed; but we want them to be tears of joy and not sorrow. We want to celebrate the life of Aaron, by focusing on all the happy memories and the lessons he taught us.
Aaron is one of the strongest people I know despite only being here for six months. He valiantly fought through countless surgeries and procedures, and defied the odds on several occasions with his will to live, and he fought til his last breath.
But I don’t want to focus on his suffering, because he is no longer suffering. I want to focus on all the happy memories. Like why we referred to him as baby hulk. Despite the nurses best efforts, he had an uncanny ability to work his arms free and try to pull out his cords and ventilation tubes.
Or how when watching the super bowl with him, he couldn’t make it past halftime as this grandmother looking person, I mean Madonna, sang him to sleep. Or how during the few weeks he was home, he would look at his sisters like they were the weirdest people in the world.
My two favorite memories involve sports and politics. His first taste of politics was watching one of the countless Republican debates. Whenever Rick Perry would talk he would cry, whenever Mitt Romney spoke he looked confused, but whenever Ron Paul spoke he would smile and laugh. I guess he was ready for the Ron Paul revolution.
If you know me well then you know I am a die-hard Kentucky basketball fan, despite living in dUKe country. I still have a very strong dislike for Christian Laettner and Duke Basketball, and it was with great pride that Aaron and I sported our Kentucky basketball gear at Duke University Hospital. I watched all but two games with Aaron this season, those were the games we lost. Aaron watched every Kentucky tournament game with me. Even when he was sleep, he would always wake up for game time. The only game he slept through was the National Championship game. I took that as his way of saying he need not leave his slumber because Big Blue Nation would be celebrating that night, and we did.
But the big things were the lessons I learned from him. His strength and will were uncanny for a baby. Through everything he never quit because he had a passion for life. We should all learn from this, I know I did. All he went through makes what I complain about seem like nothing. If he didn’t quit, then I shouldn’t either. No more sorry excuses about exercise and getting in shape. All the books I say I will write, need to get written.
Most importantly though, my passion and desire to work for equal rights, justice, and opportunity for everyone has been enhanced. I want to fight with the same strength and will that Aaron used every day.
I hope you all will join me in celebrating the life and strength of Aaron, and make a commitment to living your life with the same strength, will, and passion for life as he did. That is the best way to honor him and keep him in our hearts forever.
Once again, thank you for being here and for the overwhelming support you have shown us.