Trying to capture memories while they are near….

I have received so many precious and wonderful emails and words of love here on my blog. I cannot even put into words how they minister to my aching heart. I often find myself with eyes so filled with tears that I must blink to read another word. Thank you.

Tonight I read a quote in one email that caused me to stop and come to my blog and reflect on one moment of Nick’s special evening that I do not want to ever forget.

As the reality set in that we were facing decisions about funeral arrangements, I felt very strongly that I wanted the service to be a celebration service and to be after school hours. I wanted Nick’s friends to be able to come, and I wanted my teacher-friends to be able to come. I knew that so many kids had been praying so hard for Nick to be healed, and I couldn’t bear the thought of any child feeling that God had somehow “let them down.” So as we decided on the time of 4:00 in the afternoon, the issue of daylight came up with regards to the graveside service.

We decided to have candles available for everyone who attended just in case it was too dark to see.

Oh, how God had His hand in this decision!! It was amazing.

We had asked our dear friend, the funeral director, to take the funeral procession out onto the main street of our town and down through the entrance to the university where my husband teaches so that Nick could have one more trip through the college and down by our house. As we made our way to the cemetery, I remember looking over at our house and seeing the Christmas lights so beautifully lit and being so thankful that Tim had put them up early! Nick loved Christmas lights!!!

Then as we came up the hill to the place where Nick’s body would rest, my heart simply leaped for joy at the site of so many candles glowing in the darkness all around Nick’s special place right next to our precious Adrienne. Even as I type this, I am in disbelief that we are walking this road of losing a second child.

Wonderful friends from church had brought a beautiful crossed-shaped candlelabra and lit it right beside the canopy. The wind had made it quite a challenge to keep the candle’s lit, and I was told that one of the men had told our friends they were “fighting a losing battle,” but as God would have it the wind seemed to weaken long enough for Nick’s service and the candles burned beautifully.

As we sat in the darkness of the night with candles glowing all around us, faces could barely be recognized as I looked out into the sea of people on all sides. I felt so warm, so loved, so embraced by God’s people.

Then our friend who was doing the graveside service spoke of how appropriate it was for Nick’s life to end by candlelight as he truly was a “light” to this world!

And my mom and I found the whole evening to be exactly what Nick would have wanted. Nick loved nighttime! Nick loved his jammies. Nick loved to do things differently.

So, tonight, as I was reading some emails from friends and family, my heart once again leaped for joy as I read a quote that was shared……………..

It simply said,

Thousands of candles can be lit from a single candle and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared.–Unknown

Nick’s life is eternal. He shared his light through the good and bad days… sharing he did not shorten his life or decrease his happiness.

Actually, he stretched his life to eternity and he multiplied his joy exponentially.

I feel honored to have walked so closely to the light of Nick’s candle.
(I ended this blog entry and should have gone to bed, but instead went to check more emails and had received a devotional from December 2, the day of Nick’s service.)
The Scripture for the devotional once again caused my heart to leap for joy. God is speaking so lovingly to me, and I am just in awe of how He longs to be a Comforter.
Imagine the joy that filled my soul as I read these words from Ephesians,
“I pray that your hearts will be flooded with light so that you can understand the wonderful future he has promised to those he called. I want you to realize what a rich and glorious inheritance he has given to his people.I pray that you will begin to understand the incredible greatness of his power for us who believe him.
Ephesians 1:18-19

WOW! Thank you, God, for knowing just what I need every minute of every day. Thank you.

My heart was truly flooded with light during Nick’s candlelight service.
I am just beginning to understand the wonderful future He has promised His people.

Forever Feeling the Warmth of His Glow,

22 thoughts on “Trying to capture memories while they are near….

  1. My heart grieves with you but know that he is resting in the loving arms of Jesus where he is now healed. My prayers are with you and your family at this time.

  2. I can imagine all the lit candles on a dark night, what a beautiful expression of our faith. You and your family have been in my thoughts and prayers. The Lord keeps bringing you all to my heart and mind.

  3. You are praising Him. Through it all, you are praising Him!I can’t even fathom what plans the Lord has for you. What a wonderful woman of God you are.

    Praying for strength for your family. Cheri

  4. You don’t know me but I heard about your story from a blog of a friend. After reading some entries, I am astounded that the genuine love for your God shines vividly through your words and know that the love of God is flowing through every fiber of you. Thank you God for this family who can prove that praise through extreme tragedy is possible. Your example began with Nick’s light and will continue to spread like wildfire. Amen to that!

  5. Tammy you are such an amazing woman of God I catch myself getting on here a couple of times a day just to see if you wrote a blog because each time you do you inspire me in so many ways. You have such an unbelievable amount of FAITH!! Nick is also such an ispiration, he put up such a fight!! I hope and pray that when life throws difficult times my way I can strive to be more like you. My thoughts and prayers will continue to be with you as you continue on this long trying journey.

    Much love to you and your family!

  6. Tammy, may I add a thought about the graveside? I thought the same thoughts you did as I stood on that hillside and saw that concentration of light from hundreds of flickering candles. But as Ennis and Eric and I left, we noticed that people didn’t extinguish their candles. The effect was amazing. Because there were SO MANY cars, all of a sudden, in the blackness of that evening, light began to spread in all directions. The concentration of light became an ever-widening circle. The center, Nick’s grave began to radiate in a huge circle as people walked away in a giant circle to their cars. At all four points of the compass, light was moving away from that central spot until flames were everywhere! One individual candle here, small clusters of flames there. The whole hillside was flecked with “Nick’s Light”. What a beautiful picture of the God’s light that Nick bore, and now, only God knows where that light will go, as it is carried by those who were touched by Nick. I have a feeling that “Nick’s Light” is going to burn for a LONG time, in unimagined and unexpected places. I know three lights were carried back to the Chesapeake Bay in Northeastern Virginia. One of those lights is burning in the heart of an ex-outlaw biker who got home and looked out on a dock where you sat to have your devotions. His heart will never be the same. The service (at the church and at the graveside) was one of the most meaningful, most touching, most spiritually uplifting things I’ve ever attended. And that’s the truth. We are indebted to you, Nick and your whole family, for “fleshing out” what it means to love Jesus more than life.

  7. This sounds like it was quite a beautiful service and I am not surprised one bit that God kept those candles burning. Nick impacted many people especially me. I have read through his blog many times and also yours. I don’t think there is a person out there who will forget Nick or his testimony. God certainly had a special plan for him and one he filled amazingly, especially for one so young. I can only imagine the Father’s joy in receiving Nick home.

  8. How beautiful…the candle light at the cemetery – and the whole service. So glad that God’s presence was so easily felt..and that Nick would be so pleased. Nick’s light continues to shine…what a blessing.

    Praying for you EVERY day and sending you tight hugs….


  9. What an incredible testimony of Nick’s life and yours!! One of my favorite songs says…”I want to be in the light as you are in the light. I want to shine like the stars in the heaven. Oh Lord, be my light and be my salvation…ALL I want is to be in the light!!” May Nick’s light continue to shine as I know it will! TAMMY…you are an inspiration to me!! Continue to be strong in the Lord and in HIS mighty power!!! You are thought of everyday…God Bless you, Tim, and the rest of the family!
    Amy Johnson Stout KCC ’94

  10. Tammy-I just want to thank you for sharing Nick with the rest of us! The service was the most wonderful celebration I have ever seen. The balloons being let go by all the children who so love your family was very touching and the graveside service was the most special thing I have ever been a part of. It was truly a spectacular site to see all those candles surrounding the family and Nick. I will hold so many memories of that day in my heart forever.

  11. I am confident the light reflected through Nick will result in new reflections from people who will come to Jesus as a result of your son and your family’s response to Nick’s long battle. Praying for you. Praying for my own light to become less dim.

  12. Thank you for sharing your life and your family. You are teaching me how to pray for my own children and how to be a better, wife, mother and Christian. Thank you.

  13. I admire you so much. Your faith is astounding. God bless you for that.
    Praise the Lord that Nick is in such a beautiful place with our Creator.
    I have been praying through Nick’s journey and will continue to pray for your family.

  14. Simply beautiful. Sweet one, I have chills as I read this. What an awesome, awesome blessing from the Lord. Your child is a light radiantly glowing FOREVER!!!!

    Much love and prayers.

  15. I have followed your blog for a while but never commented. My faith was always strengthened each time I read your blog. I just wanted to say thank you for sharing in such a personal way. Thank you for showing us all how a Christian with real hope grieves. I have to say that I chuckled when I read that Nick put a bazooka on the gingerbread cookie–I have 3 boys so that really resonated with me! May God bless your whole family richly. Continuing to remember you and your family in prayer,

  16. Tammy,

    Oh, how I long to just give you a big hug. Your words are so authentic – thank you for sharing your heart.

    As I am “stranded” in Illinois, waiting until Christmas to come home, I wanted to share a prayer that came from my devotional on the 2nd (Beth Moore study on John).

    “Lord Jesus, Your prophet declared that you had no form or splendor that we should look at you, no appearance that we should desire you…You were despised, and we didn’t value you (Isa. 53:2-3). Yet some did. And as I spend time with you today, I want to be like those early disciples who saw something about You that caused grown men to walk away from established lives and keep following You…You are beautiful, Lord, to me.”

    As I read that, I wept and thanked God that there are still disciples who find God as big as he really is. Thank you for being such a disciple.

    I love you. I am lifting you, Tim, Erich, Evan, Todd & Olivia before our Father-daily.

    Sarah Funk 🙂

  17. Tammy, I’ve been following your blog for several months. I do not have earthly words to comfort you or your family, so I will simply let God’s Word and His Holy Spirt speak. As I went to to find a verse to share, I was amazed to see that the following verse is Bible Gateway’s verse of the day –

    When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”- John 8:12

    I pray Jesus will light your path even on the dark days.

    Thank you for your blog, and especially for the music you’ve attached to it. My heart is softened each time I listen.

    Cindy Daniels
    Beechwold Christian Church
    Columbus Ohio

  18. I wrote this poem for my english class… and I really liked it. I hope you do too.
    p.s. I dont know what the title will be yet.

    Survival of the fittest they say.
    Dealing with unimaginable strife
    A never-ending journey
    Fighting a battle for your life

    Finger pricks and pokes
    Tears falling down your face
    Wondering when this is going to end
    “Someday I’m gonna leave this place.”

    Watching the Titans play football,
    Vacationing with your family and friends,
    Singing “I’m Not Cool” over and over,
    Living for the nights that never end.

    Brightening everyone’s day
    With a smile from ear to ear
    Rejoicing in the little things,
    Keeping a distance from the things you fear.

    You are in so much pain,
    It hurts to even breathe.
    You don’t want to think what will happen
    To your family when you leave.

    With your family all around you, Not an inch of you untouched, ‘ You wish all the hurt would go away,
    But you still hang on- for love.

    Your mother holds your hand,
    Puts it where her heart should be.
    An angel grabs the other,
    And softly whispers “Come with me.”

    A tear falls down your mother’s face,
    As she says “I just want you to know,
    You’ve made a difference in so many lives,
    But it’s ok to let us go.”

    You open your eyes one last time,
    to look at those you love.
    “I’ll wait for you in heaven,” You say to them,
    “God is calling me from above.”

  19. Tammy,

    The comment you made to end this post fit just perfectly and really got to me….”Forever Feeling the Warmth of His Glow”!! That is you, your family, your faith, your life, your children..your mom…..100% totally you!! Since I first contacted you a couple of years ago, (Molly Smith-Janes emailed me and told me about Nick and thought that I might be able to comfort you since we had lost our oldest son..Scott), You have had such a positive impact on my life. You my dear friend comforted me more than I think I ever did you. You and you alone made me realize that I should have been more trusting that God would always take care of Scott. It took me a long time to come to that conclusion and you did that for me. You are a Very Special Person with the biggest HEART of anyone I have ever known. I am so blessed to have you as a friend. You will “Forever Feel the Warmth of His Glow” and You are AMAZING!!!!!

  20. Tonight as I read your blog and these comments… I’m overwhelmed at the goodness of God… for many reasons… I think I’ll send you an email because it will get too long if I try to write it all here! =)

    What I hear right now though is the song my kids used to sing when they were little…

    “This little light of mine. I’m gonna let it shine.”

    The light of Jesus is shinning brightly through your words, through your heart, through your life, through your family, through Nick…. and it’s flowing out into all the world. I marvel at how many people I know are praying for you… and all those lights as they left the graveside service.. all those lights are still shinning brightly… because the light of Jesus will NEVER go out!

    Thank you Walker for helping me catch a glimpse of what it was like to be there. How powerful!

    You are amazing Tammy and I love you so very much!

  21. I am amazed at the orchestration of details that God constantly weaves for us. For those who have ears to hear and eyes to see…. Tammy, I want you to know that we have been praying for and with you for many months now, my boys have been following Nick’s story and have prayed for him. It was very difficult to break the news of Nick’s passing because I honestly all along thought and believed he would be physically healed, as I know my boys did too. The first thing my son said when I told him about Nick was that maybe we didn’t pray hard enough. Well, we went into the church and lit a candle for Nick, and said some prayers for the repose of his soul and for your family. I explained to my son that Heaven is our real home and God willing, some day we will all be there. The truth is we don’t have all the answers, but God can see the big picture and some day it will all make sense. He asked me why Nick’s life had to be filled with so many trials, and I didn’t have an answer then. But reading your blog and the comments here, especially Walker (thank you for that beautiful description), that because of Nick we are all lights that can go and touch other people’s lives and so on. That is our purpose and Nick’s story illustrates that so beautifully. I also told my son that our prayers did help, because Nick had no pain even up to the end, he was at home, and had a peaceful passing. We will continue to light candles in church every Sunday, in Nick’s honor and for all those suffering with cancer. Thank you for your beautiful blog, and your readers for their comments. We love you Nischan family!