Josh. Cali. McKallister. Oakland. Quincy. Camden. Murphy.

Mac's funeral

Thursday, July 17, 2008

On July 2nd little McKallister was laid to rest. I haven't posted about it until now because I wanted to wait until we had the chance to update Mac's blog with pictures and information so that I could refer you there to read about everything. So please click here and then scroll to the bottom of his blog to view the part about the funeral. Our lives have truly been changed forever because of him. We love him so much!

Original post by Erin

McKallister's funeral slideshow

The slideshow of Mac's funeral has finally been posted to his blog. You can click here to view it (the slideshow is towards the bottom of the blog).

I also just wanted to let you know that Josh and Cali are doing well. Every day is still very challenging for them. They say that some days are harder than others, but they are enduring each day like champions. Although their emotions are still too tender to get on here and update this blog themselves, they have been reading every comment left for them on this blog and Mac's blog and are deeply touched and comforted by each one. You will honestly never know how much your words of comfort and encouragement have come to mean to them. Please keep it coming their way. They told me they could have never faced this difficult experience without the strength and love they have felt and continue to feel from each of you and they thank you from the bottom of their hearts.

As sad as this experience has been for them, they are grateful for it. They have come to understand that Mac's mission here on earth was to bring people to Christ. They hope you will continue to help Mac fulfill his mission by sharing his blog/story with others. They love you and sincerely thank you. Please continue to send love their way. ~Erin

Mac's funeral

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Last Wednesday, July 2nd, Mac was laid to rest. It was a very emotional day for everyone involved-- especially Josh and Cali. Prior to the grave side service, our families had the chance to spend one last time with little Mac. He looked so peaceful and absolutely beautiful! Cali had the special privilege of dressing him in his little white outfit before his precious body was placed in his little casket. The grave side service was unforgettable and was attended by hundreds of people, many of which did not know Josh and Cali but had been touched by their story. The service ended with the beautiful release of hundreds of red, orange, and yellow balloons. I will hold off on sharing more of the details here because they will be posted shortly on Mac's blog in addition to a video slideshow of funeral pictures I'm still in the process of gathering.

The amount of love and support Josh and Cali have received through this experience has been overwhelming! The prayers, emails, comments, financial donation's, cards, letters, gifts, visitors, meals, phone calls, and flowers have meant more to them than you will ever know. Thank you for your thoughtfulness, love, and generosity. ~Erin


Monday, July 7, 2008

Losing my little nephew has caused me to reflect a lot upon life and why things happen the way they do. Since Mac's death, I’ve had numerous conversations with people regarding what happened. As I’ve observed the reactions people have to tragedies such as death, I’ve found it interesting that the first thing people naturally seem to do is try to cast blame on someone or something. They ask “why didn’t such and such a person do this?” or “if only things had been done this way…” etc. Initially our family asked similar questions. It's a natural part of the grieving process to have those types of feelings. But after experiencing what our family has just experienced, I have come to find it somewhat saddening to talk to people who continuously dwell on the "whys" of Mac's death or any tragedy for that matter. It's sad because, to me, they seem too busy questioning things to open their hearts to what the Lord is trying to teach them through the experience. They seem to be, in essence, questioning God and his perfect plan for each of us.

Because of Mac’s death, I believe now more than ever that God truly is perfect. He does not make mistakes. He would not allow an innocent child or a righteous person to die unless it was truly that child’s or person's time. He sees the big picture and knows precisely what each of us need to experience in order to find our way back to Him.

After learning of Mac’s death, our families sat with Cali and Josh as Cali progressed through 14 hours of labor. During that time, we asked a lot of "why" questions and sobbed tears of bitterness and resentment in an effort to feel better about the unknown circumstances surrounding Mac’s death. In retrospect, thinking about the "whys" and "if onlys," even as part of the grieving process, didn’t help us feel better at all. It made us feel worse.

And then sweet little Mac’s precious body was born.

Words cannot describe the feeling that flooded the room (and hallway) as his little body entered this earth (I am in tears just thinking about it)! The feeling was sobering and absolutely incredible! As soon as each of us saw and held his little body, the "whys" and "if onlys" that had previously plagued our minds immediately ceased. We became encompassed by the love of God to such an overwhelming degree that we could no longer question the reasoning behind Mac's death. The veil was thinned and Mac’s mission became very clear.

In reflection, it wasn't until the "whys" and "if onlys" stopped, that our hearts became open to be taught all of the amazing things Mac came to this earth to teach. He came here as a little missionary to teach and bring people to Christ! His story has influenced so many people for the better and has changed hearts. I am grateful that our family was able to eventually get past all of the "whys" so that our hearts could be open to hear the great lessons Heavenly Father sent Mac here to teach.

I guess the reason it's sad for me to hear people still questioning the whys of Mac's death is because I have come to understand that it is no use questioning why. It won't change what happened and gets us nowhere. Peace amidst tragedy comes not through getting answers, but through faith and putting our trust in the Lord's plan completely.

Elder Hales has said, “I have come to understand how useless it is to dwell on the whys, what ifs, and if onlys for which there likely will be given no answers in mortality. Their faith and putting their trust in the Lord help them put the whys and ifs behind them and feel the comfort of the Spirit of the Lord."

Elder Maxwell has said, “ ‘whys’ are not really questions at all but are expressions of resentment.”

Through Mac's death I have learned that if we are too busy focusing on the “whys?” of life, we will never hear what God is trying to teach us through the trials we are blessed to endure. Through every trial is a lesson to be learned. Stop questioning God and listen. God loves us and knows what He is doing. His plan is perfect. Have faith in it.

I have to end by thanking Josh and Cali for the example they have been to me and to so many others. They are enduring this trial with a strength that I could only ever wish to obtain. I know this has been and continues to be one of the most grueling trials they have ever had to face, but they seem to understand the purpose of it and have chosen to use it to praise our Father in Heaven and to bring others to Him.

A friend of ours (thanks Lindsay!) shared this awesome quote on her blog by Elder Maxwell, that I feel applies perfectly to Josh and Cali. He said, "The very act of choosing to be a disciple can bring to us a certain special suffering...If we are serious about our discipleship, Jesus will eventually request each of us to do those very things which are the most difficult for us to do... Sometimes the best people have the worst experiences, because they are the most ready to learn."

Josh and Cali truly are among the best of people and have opened their hearts to learn all they can from this very difficult trial. Thank you Josh and Cali for your faith and example. I feel very honored to be your sister. I love you guys!
Original post by Erin
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