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Ode, Aaron Jr., and Leslie
HERE IT IS...
It is finally done. They sent me an email last week of the rough draft so that I could approve it. Once I approved it, they could get started on the engraving and everything. They called on Wednesday morning to let me know they would be coming to install it on Thursday. I was so nervous. I was nervous about how I would feel seeing it and nervous about whether or not it would look the way I wanted it to. Well, it turned out beautifully.
Now, I will explain the meaning of everything. Of course, the names are self explanitory.
The reason I chose black granite is because I personally love the look of it, but also I just know that Aaron would have chosen black granite if HE were picking it out for us. I love how it turned out. It sets off the engraving really nicely.
The Salt Lake Temple is where we got married. That angle of it was taken from an actual photograph that my brother took of the temple on the day we got married. (that photo is further down on this posting)
August 21, 2002 through eternity is also self explanitory.
Those are Aaron Jr's handprints. Since he is our only child, I wanted something on the headstone that had to do with him. My friend Kerianne suggested doing his handprints and I ran with that idea. I loved it and I think it turned out so neat.
This is the photo of the temple that I sent to them to use.
This is what I sent to them to show them what I wanted the front to look like.
Here is the back of the headstone. I think I have mentioned on here before that Aaron and I both had a love for lighthouses. When we started writing to each other on our missions, I mentioned a love for lighthouses and the symbolism behind them. Well, he wrote back to me and told me a very spiritual and personal story about a lighthouse and how he feels about lighthouses and their symbolism. I read most of that letter when I spoke at Aaron's funeral. Here is the quote:
The quote on the back of the headstone is just one paragraph taken from that letter. Once Aaron passed away, this quote took on a whole new meaning for me. I focused more on the last few words he had written since it talks about 'every mans journey home'.
The lighthouse itself was taken from a photograph that I took of the very first lighthouse Aaron and I ever visited together. We went there on our honeymoon. It is in Florida and it is called the 'Ponce de Leon Inlet Light Station'. We both loved this lighthouse and we even bought a wooden replica of it and brought it home. It is now one of my treasures.
Because this lighthouse was inland, there was no water or rocks around it and I wanted there to be an ocean setting on the headstone. So, I found a photo that I took of the very last lighthouse Aaron and I ever saw together. We saw it together just a week and a half before he passed away. It is in San Francisco and it is called the 'Point Bonita Lighthouse'. I took that photo and superimposed the other lighthouse over that lighthouse. So, the lighthouse is from Florida and the surroundings are from San Francisco. (those two photos are also below in this posting)
Here are the original two photos of the lighthouses.
Here is what I emailed to them after photoshopping the lighthouse into this setting.
When I found out they were on their way to install it, I called Aaron's family so that they could come over to see it if they were available. After that, I found out that my mom and my sister, Lisa and her two youngest kids were in Salt Lake, so they came over to see it as well. I am bummed that I didn't think to get a photo of them while they were there. Next time for sure...
I was so grateful to all who could make it while I was there. I was glad to share those moments with you all.
Here are a few photos of the members of Aaron's family who were able to come and see it when they got it done.
Aaron's brother, Steve was at a meeting really close, so he got over there the quickest. I was so glad he could make it during work.
Aaron's parents were both out in Salt Lake working or running errands as well, so they headed over as well.
I had been trying for an hour to get Aaron Jr. to put his hands on his handprints and he finally did it with the help of Grandpa. Thanks Steve.
When I told Aaron Jr. we were going to see Daddy's headstone, he was very anxious to get out of the car. He doesn't know what a headstone is, so as he got out, he started saying 'I want Daddy.' Then, once he was out of the car, he started yelling 'Daddy, Daddy.' Then saying again, 'I want Daddy.' When we got to the site, I patted my hand on the grass and said, 'Daddy's right here, Aaron.' Then he started saying over and over, 'No, Daddy's not there'. When I asked him, 'Where's Daddy?' He said, 'I don't know.'
I wonder when he will be old enough to understand. Right now, he just doesn't understand and that is okay. There will come a time in his life when I might wish he was still young enough not to understand. Those times will be when he is having a really hard time not having his Daddy around for all of the events in his life. Right now, I am okay with him not understanding. He is still just a happy and cheerful little boy who makes me laugh and smile every single day.
It was a surreal feeling standing there looking at the headstone of my 30 year old husband. I had very mixed emotions as I sat there staring at it. It felt wrong, but at the same time... since this IS my reality, I was really grateful that it was here before the year anniversary rolled around next week. That is what I have wanted all year. I am glad it is done. I am glad to have something to look at when we go to visit Aaron's gravesite. Being able to look at our names together and also be able to read that quote over and over will bring some comfort and peace when we are there. I really love the way it turned out. I could go on and on about my feelings regarding the headstone, but I will stop there.
I did want to say thank you to all of you who have been so thoughtful and willing to share your love and concern through comments and prayers. I am always strengthened through your loving words and I am grateful to you all...
Aaron, I love you eternally...
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