When I became a father for the second time, this time to my precious little girl, clouds of doubt blanketed every piece of my being. Being the father to my son came easy, just wrestle and be the big kid I am with him. How could I be the apple of this little girl’s eye, how could she look to me for the affection, intimate guidance, strength and protection every father wants to be for their “baby girl”? Until now I was the apple of my own eye, the tantalization of self-serving was still deeply engraved into my actions. How would I ever be able to let go of the self-worship that had consumed me? The anxiety of being the perfect father for this princess had my brain completely lost in the interchanges of questions and doubt, with no GPS in reach. All the uneasiness built up inside me, the twin towers of unworthiness and heartache, all gave way and came shattering down, the sound of every disbelief inside me falling to it’s lonesome death, with a simple smile. The hypnotizing smile, that could not be mistaken for anything less than heaven sent, a hand written letter from God, letting me know she would find all the things in me that her little heart could ever desire.
With all my plans for how this precious angel would turn out, the one plan that never infiltrated my mind was how to plan her funeral. When a man becomes a daddy to their baby girl, funeral and grief are the last things to show their ugly faces, except maybe when he thinks about the boys showing up on your porch trying to take her on a date. Nonetheless, this horrific plan had now presented itself before me. What was I going to do? The tomb for the “Unknown Soldier” did not seem to even come close to what this cherished child deserved. How was I to try and put the feelings of the adoration of a father for his daughter into a tangible funeral service and gravesite? Honestly, I cannot even say that I planned any of it, because the slide show of memories seemed to be on replay in my mind for weeks. All I can say is that my body made an appearance at the funeral home the day we planned her final farewell.
The Services for my adored baby were contrary to anything I could have ever imagined they were going to be. Leading up to this day I could not escape from the feeling that God was asking me to stand up over the casket of my daughter and translate into words what positive could come from this tragedy.
God blessed me with the strength to get up in front of hundreds of people, to give the testimony of what I had gained in Him. I thought I would not be able to even stand let alone speak, because I was shaking, trembling inside, and a lump formed in my throat. I walked passed the sea of faces, following my four closest friends who were carrying my little baby girl. My incredible friend Swift sang a song for us that he wrote himself, a song that plenty of times before this day, brought tears to my eyes. Not this day though, God wouldn't allow it, not because of the quality, but because he kept me strong. He knew if I started crying, I would not be able to stop. Once the song was over, it was my turn, I told God and myself, here we go. You want this to happen God?? You are going have to make it happen, because without you, I am not strong enough to do this. My "Brother" Jason, my security blanket, stood right by my side. If I was unable to deliver this message, he was instructed to step in and finish reading what God wrote down on a paper for me to read. God told me that these people needed to hear these things from my lips. So I opened, introducing Jason to the "Crowd" then my mind went blank, my eyes went dry, my throat went clear, and my voice went deep. The river of words flowed from my mouth effortlessly. The dark sunglasses I wore hid my eyes, a curtain of protection between the masses of people and me. Intently, I looked down at the paper in front of me. The only sound present was the outpour of despair and sorrow felt by crowd of loved ones. God wouldn't allow this to impend my testimony though. What seemed like an eternity, took only about ten minutes. When I was done, I made it far enough down the lonesome isle to sit down next to my wife, and I collapsed. I broke down, and wept, God had let all of my tears build up, the dam on my eyes burst. Admiring the most beautiful pictures, my eyes have ever seen, caught in the trance of those hypnotizing eyes, that had kept me mesmerized so many times before, my pastor stepped up and delivered one of the best sermons I had ever heard. The purpose, to let people know how much Reagan meant to us, how much we mean to God, and how much a relationship with Jesus will mean to them.
God has a purpose for the death of my daughter, and we wanted everyone to what God was telling us. At this time, the reason was to bring others closer to God by using us to deliver our testimony. When my pastor asked if there was anyone who wanted to give there life to Christ, ten people raised their hands, and some didn’t want to put it down. I prayed for one person to come to know Christ from my daughter’s death and God gave me the pleasure of seeing ten.
Following the same four amazing guys carrying my angel through a tunnel of uniformed brothers and sisters to the hearse. Following the hearse, the procession started, with a bucket ladder fire truck, two fire engines, three fire chief vehicles and multiple police vehicles leading the way. With lights flashing the convey started, even people walking down the street, stopped and removed their hats and held them on their hearts. Reagan, being only fourteen months old was receiving the treatment only fit for the president. Turning onto the interstate, I notice another fire engine, from another fire department, blocking the entire high way. It’s crew, dressed in full gear, with helmets on their hearts, didn’t know my daughter, heck they didn’t even know me. But, they knew the brotherhood they were part of. Every exit we passed was blocked. The interstate was an island, and we were the only ones on it. Every cop we passed had his hat on his heart, every engine had full gear, it was something out of the movies. As we pulled up to the cemetery, we parked, and watched, as car after car pulled into this cemetery, finally the procession was in, and we got out of the car. I grabbed my wife’s hand and prayed for strength, cause we knew, we were about to lay our baby to rest. It was time, my first daughter, the owner of my heart, would leave this earth forever. Emotion at red alert, and the tunnel of "My Brothers" lined up sitting next to my daughter’s grave they bring the precious one, and set her in front of my wife and me. With flowers all over and my family next to me. The cold frigid wind blowing over me, hands frozen, and tears burning my face, everyone huddled around us. Preston Porter, one of the most important people in my family lives, began to speak. I don’t remember what he said, why cause I was cold and I was sitting in a place I would soon be visiting, A LOT. After he was done, the line of hugs began. I was tired of hugs already but the warmth of feelings and strong embraces of my friends and family washed over me and melted me, from the inside out. Thank You God, it was finally done, now I would be able to start the grieving process.
I am at a loss on a lot of things right now. How do I go back to trying to save lives physically? I feel like saving them spiritually. Why God took my baby girl from my wife and I? I don’t know!!! But I know he has a plan for me, and in that is where I get my comfort. I trust in God with everything I am, I ask only that he let me know what he has going on with my life, so I can get on board.