Carrying Cullen

A Journey of Life, Love, and Daily Blessings with Our Baby Boy

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It Is Well

Two weeks ago today we held Cullen's services -- the day we laid our precious baby boy to rest and celebrated his brief, but incredible life.


The DVD slideshow that Naomi and Niki, our photographers, prepared for us, played as visitors came into the church and paid their respects.  Our hearts were overwhelmed and we were extremely humbled by the line of those who came -- lives our little Cullen touched -- to give hugs, surround us with love, support us, and help to celebrate Cullen's life.  We were so blessed and touched looking at the entire church filled with friends, family, and community. 

We had a moment as family in the back of the church, praying to ourselves and then kissed his tiny little casket before walking forward to take our seats.  It was difficult, but at the same time I just pictured kissing his chubby little cheeks and it made me smile.  As Pastor Nick began the services, a bigger peace came over me.  We chose to sing "It is well with my soul".  The entire church stood and sang together... and I mean, sang from the bottom of their hearts and you could hear it!  Standing in the front pew I heard the chorus belted out by all of those behind me and with Joe beside me..."It is well, it is well with my soul."  It was beautiful.  It was well.  It IS well.  We were celebrating the life the Lord gave Cullen.  The miracles, the blessings.  We were celebrating the Lord Himself.  We were thanking Him for the peace and comfort He gave us.  We knew, it is well.

A beautiful family friend sang one of my favorite songs, "Peace in the Midst of my Storm."  No matter what we face God is always with us, and He gives us peace in the middle of whatever hard time might be in front of us.  John 14:27 says, "Peace I leave with you, my peace I give you.  I do not give to you as the world gives.  Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid." 

Next was the reading of a poem I re-wrote for Cullen... dedicated to our little baby boy who changed my life forever.  I wasn't sure if I would be able to hold it together to read it or if I would have the strength (actually having my friend on stand by just in case)...  But in that moment, with Joe right behind me coaching me, I am so thankful God gave me the strength, the courage, the peace... and I read every line to Cullen and all of those sitting before us in the church. 

To My Cullen:

I loved you from the very start, You stole my breath, and filled my heart;

Our life together had just begun, You were a part of me, my little one. 

As mother with child, each day I grew; My mind was filled with thoughts of you.

I'd daydream of the things we'd share, Like late-night bottles, and teddy bears;

Like your first little steps and first skinned knee, Bedtime stories and ABC's.

I thought of things you'd want to know, Like how fish swim and how trees grow;

I thought of lessons I'd need to share, Like standing tall and playing fair.

But the Lord had other plans for you, And I trusted Him to carry you through;

I thanked the Lord from above, And promised you a mother's unending love.

You came into my life just like a song, Every moment sweet, but not for long;

Our sweet baby boy who could make me smile, Was only on this Earth for just a short while.

But I will cherish the moments, In the time that we had;

Remembering the happy thoughts, So much more than all the sad.

As you're cradled now, In God's hands above;

I trust you will be forever, Surrounded by His love.

I loved you from the very start, You stole my breath and filled my heart;

I know your heavenly journey has just begun, And I know I'll see you soon my little one.


Pastor Nick followed with an unforgettable sermon.  He shared parts of our journey with Cullen, moments in the hospital and stories of our doctors and nurses.  He said something very profound that stuck with me... "Cullen was a pastor to many."  He was right.  Cullen wasn't ordained, he never went to school, he had never himself read the bible...he was just a tiny baby...  But yet, while he was in my womb, and for the 8 hours after, our little Cullen was a pastor to many.  The Lord used him in great ways, many we will never know.  He touched lives beyond our reach on a daily basis.  His tiny life, changed lives in a big way forever.  God chose him for a reason.  Cullen had a purpose, and I believe that was part of his purpose.  Our little boy, a pastor.  It beyond humbles me and makes me so proud to call him my son. 

It was a cold and somewhat rainy morning... and as Nick finished his sermon and the services came to a close, light filtered through the stained glass windows.  The sun was coming out.  It was well.  Anyone who was there, and sat in that church could feel it.

Joe and I exited the church to find it had stopped raining, and blue skies were peaking out from behind spotty clouds.  We just looked at each other, pointed to the sky and smiled.  I believe we even chuckled a little bit, with tears in our eyes... It was well.  We had prayed that morning that it would clear up enough for going to the cemetery and it did.  More answered prayers among so many already.  God was with us, as He has been this whole time, and so was Cullen.  Pulling into the cemetery, we pointed to the sky as our family followed and the sun shined down for just a short while. 

I'll admit it was heart wrenching sitting down in front of Cullen's tiny casket (19 inches long as he was).  It was just so small...  But I knew he wasn't there.  He was in heaven in the arms of Jesus, whole, complete and well.  We sang "Jesus Loves Me" as we surrounded his casket on the ground; a song special to me because I played it for him in my belly so many times.  Pastor Nick prayed, we stood, and with every ounce of strength I had left, I knelt giving his casket one last kiss.   

Finally, we all gathered together with baby blue and white balloons, and messages we had written to Cullen on cards tied to the strings.  We wanted to do a balloon release in honor of Cullen to remind us to look up; to look to heaven, instead of hanging our heads low in sadness.  As Nick said a final prayer, Joe and I led the release of the balloons.  100 balloons took off and flew higher and higher as we looked up to the heavens.  We smiled at Cullen as he looked down on us.  It was well.  It was a perfect celebration of life for our baby boy.

Prayer and Sending up our balloons



(This picture above was taken by a friend at the cemetery during the balloon release.  The picture has the color removed.  Can you see the little boy on the right?  The head, collared shirt, praying and kneeling?  There are hands (almost flesh colored) in the shape of a "C" carrying the little boy -- Cullen was there with us <3 )


We wanted to do something special and have something for everyone to take with them at the services.  So every one received a birth announcement and also a dark green bracelet (the color for anencephaly awareness) that read "Carry Me" on one side, "Psalm 18:30" on the other, and CJT on the inside.  A tribute for Cullen and something for everyone to wear as a reminder of how precious life is, and no matter what, God will always be with you... He will carry you.  He carried us through every step of our journey with Cullen, as we carried Cullen.


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