|Drason, a father who carries — and is carried, too.|
i remember the day that little livi was born.
four of our besties, Sonya and myself included, were preggers at the same time. we rubbed bellies, shared maternity clothes, and told sweet lies to each other, things like “no, your face doesn’t look fat at all!” and “well, your feet might be just a tad bit swollen … “
it was wonderful … and, surprisingly, it was nerve-wracking, too.
because we didn’t just need one healthy delivery — we needed four. it was as if we carried our own babies and each other’s … umbilical cords twisted and tied in tight bonds of friendship. and in the end, when we lined those infant seats all in a row for the camera’s flash — four perfect sets of pink gums, chubby cheeks, bright eyes peeking out of them — our hearts poured out into each other’s, soul-friend love spilling long and wide.
my favorite memory, though, of the day that little livi was born involved not Sonya, but Drason.
and, just like most of my memories involving Drason, it makes me laugh out loud, still.
he’d been a jumble of nerves, though that guy polishes up nice so you’d never tell it. because they are spontaneous and fun (and because they have an iron will like i will never understand), they chose not to find out if Livi would be a boy or a girl. those of us who had gathered at the hospital took bets on the gender. and when the time finally came, anticipation hummed in our ears — the room was electric.
drason entered; cleared his throat, making us wait. true to his normal showmanship, he was making it an event — which, as you’ll see, came back to bite him. the room got pin-drop quiet, then he said:
i’ll admit, in the blitz of thoughts that flooded my brain — tutus, tiaras, an arranged marriage with my little boy — i wasn’t quick on the math.
but someone was … and when they retorted “Where I come from, that’s considered eight pounds!” the room exploded in laughter.
and Drason, proud Papa, for once didn’t know what to say…
i remember another day, too.
utterly different circumstances.
the room where family and friends had gathered to hold each other, spill tears, and pray was tense. pin-drop quiet. when i squeezed my eyes shut in prayer, i secretly hoped i’d be awakened by an alarm clock, a baby crying to rouse me from the nightmare my friends were living. i felt numb, like so many of us who had considered sweet Bane Bane “our baby.” my knee-jerk reaction was to push back hard against impending grief, to suspend belief, to refuse reality.
down the hall, one proud Papa chose a different response.
in his arms, he held the son he had longed for — the cry of his heart. this Daddy who’d been so smitten with girl-child would now play a different role. he’d need wrestling skills. he’d acquire fort-building experience. he’d have to have “the talk” about respecting young ladies. he’d stand, cheering, on wooden bleachers, wearing his son’s number on his jersey. he’d stand front and center, on the groom’s side.
it is a loss beyond what i can imagine … and the only thing i feel stronger than grief is awe.
for my friend, the proud Papa … he was asked that day to walk the footsteps of Abraham. but when he climbed Mount Moriah, there was no ram in the bushes to be found — only son.
and Drason, proud Papa, somehow still knew what to say.
for in the moment when most would curse God, he took to a podium above the casket of his namesake and he, flesh-weak but Spirit-filled, pointed all who would hear to a Heavenly Father.
a Father that he named Loving, even as grief and pain seared through his body. a Father that he named Righteous, even in the loss of one so innocent. a Father that he named Lord, even when divine plans had wrecked so many earthly hopes.
i still haven’t recovered from what i heard that day.
God, please, let me never recover from what i heard that day…
because the paradox of Drason’s testimony that day — God-love and sacrifice rendered inseparable, home-going celebrated even as grief poured forth, angel son leading father to lead others heavenward in his wake – that is purest Gospel on display.
and though it speaks to all, it only makes sense to those who really know the Father that Drason was pointing to. Drason’s father. and Bane’s. and mine. and yours?
Drason and Sonya … they come here to this space and they sit and they read and they pray for you, for those of you whose paths have landed you here. They pray that the God who cradles their son would rouse you from your sleepwalking — would pull you close to Him and give you purpose.
If this story troubles you, if it sparks questions that you’ve never asked before, if it moves you to want a Hope that cannot perish, would you comment here or email to this address?
And if you know the Father who sees Bane’s face this very day, would you cry out to Him on their behalf? Would you slip even just those words — “I will pray” — into the Comments section to let them know that you haven’t forgotten?
Drason is still a proud Papa, a loving husband — but he needs our prayers as he returns to work and balances the demands of the everyday with leading his family in this heart-wrenching time. Be prayer-full, dear friends. Lift this father up to Our Father.
I am praying…
Drason and Sonya, You both have been on my heart and in my prayers daily. I feel truly blessed to know you and to have the opportunity to share Banes story with others. As I set here writing this, eyes full of tears, I pray the Lord will lift you up.
Every time I come here, I leave filled with dual emotions. Sort of like when I lost two babies before I even knew them. I praised my God, who was the same God who planted those babies in my womb, and I mourned the loss of the babies. Sort of like when I praised God for giving my friends babies and cried out in desperation for my own baby. How is that coming here, to check on you and to check on all things Bane-ish, leaves me grieving more for you and also praising God more than ever? How does that happen? I certainly don't know, but I know that it only comes from Him. I am praying for you. I am so, so sorry that Bane is no longer in your arms, yet I rejoice that Jesus rocks Bane in His arms (Can you imagine?!). "Let the little children come to me."
Sonya and Drason,
We hurt. We pray. We cry. We wonder…We will carry this pain with you. Not just today but for our lifetime because a lifetime is not too long to live as friends. And dear friends you are to us.
Drason and Sonya,
Lots of prayers for you everyday. I mean everyday.
Drason and Sonya,
I come here daily to keep up with you all and also to see the amazing things God is doing thru this trial. I am fed spiritually thru this blog. Your precious little ones celebration woke me up. It made me realize just how precious life is. I had gotten lazy with my faith but your faith put the spark back under my feet. Just know that you all are in my thoughts and prayers daily.
Drason and Sonya,
Ya'll are in my prayers daily. I think so much about the strength that God has granted ya'll to push forward for your little girl and for yourselves. Bane is so beautiful, and I know God and all the other angels are taking great care of him. I know that none of this eases the pain of the situation, but I have told so many people about Bane's story and we are all thinking and praying for you. God bless.
Drason and Sonya,
The pain is great, verging on unbearable. Thoughts of what lies ahead of you each day as you pick yourselves up and show Livi how God does have a plan, even when we can't understand, is a testament to what He has overcome for you. Your faithfulness and dependence on OUR Father is like a great light to so many hurt and depleated souls.
As the boys and I pray for you every day, the verse, "Where, O death, is thy sting?" comes to mind and your steadfastness reminds me of these words a verse or so after, "Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain." He says, "The victory is won." Then in James it says, "Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him."
Out of that perseverace, you take it a step further and encourage others with the Bane Bane Game. Faith and deeds, together, can bring life, eternal life.
God bless your souls with a peace that only He can give. Praise God that you don't have to overcome this, He did it for you. We stand with you and pray for an eternal reward for your faithfulness to your Loving.
Even with tears and sadness, my soul rejoices knowing as I read this, and many of your posts and comments, that God is very much alive in the lives of those whom have been prayed for and wondered what would come of their lives.
Sonya and Drason, PRAISE GOD for your friends and family. Your light shines bright. There is so much more I'd like to say, but will wait until I see you face to face.
Lifting your family in prayers; everyday!
Sonya & Drason,
I never met Bane, but he's a part of my life now. He's a part of a lot of lives now. I think of Bane and you guys daily, several times throughout each day. While I'm heartbroken for your loss & I can't imagine how I would survive like you guys have, I am thankful for the changes this terrible loss have made in my life. I'd found excuses, yes excuses, not to go to church for 2 years. I'm embarassed to say it, but it's true. Bane opened my heart and made me realize that we're not promised a tomorrow. I returned to church and to God as soon as I heard about Bane. I come to this blog daily b/c it's so encouraging to see how you guys are handling your grief by giving back to others. I pray for your family, I pray for Banebow, and I pray that I may be more like you guys.
I will forever keep you all in my prayers & heart. There is not a day I do not think of you & pray for you. God Bless, you are special people.
Drason & Sonya
Not a day goes by without thoughts of Bane, actually I think of your entire family. Immediate ones and the ones who are like me distant in person but holding you close in their hearts.
I pray for you guys daily and will continue to do so, I know the road you are traveling will be a long one. Although, the great things that are happening will make it a pleasent one. You guys are doing great things and making deep impressions. Not to say that it will be smooth sailing all the time. There will be dumps in the road, but I can tell….they will not stop you.
What great examples you have been for everybody. We need more people with such a deep rooted faith. Love Always:~)
In my thoughts and prayers daily!!!
Sonya (my roomie) and Drason (my dear friend),
I think of you so much during each day and night. Each time I think of you, I send up a prayer. You guys are amazing parents and have set the bar high for us newer parents. I hope to be as good a Mom as you, sweet roomie. And Drason, you are such an amazing Daddy- of course, I always knew you would be. Bane was very lucky to have such wonderful parents for his short time on this earth. I love you guys and can't wait to see you at the 5k run.
Emily, Chad & Anne-London
i'm overwhelmed by the gift God has given you to tell this story- with such a self-less attitude and dedication to spreading the word about God's glory.
all my love, son and dra. my heart is still breaking…and we will be here all the way. all the way…to share baney's story as many times as we can. we pray all the time.
I was forever changed that day! I haven't stopped praying and am in awe of them!
still praying, still playing the Bane Bane game. Much love to you!
sister and sweet precious brother-in-law:
i simply can't wait from week to week to read the blog and to see what God has done and is doing daily! I see by the comments that lives have and continue daily to be touched and to be changed. Praise God is all I can say!! As i read the 9/16 blog, my heart was overwhelmed. Drason, you are such a 'strong tower' for your family and yet i know in your heart you break over and over each day. I come each week to see you guys and to spend precious time with Livi and with Sonya and each time I come, I am 'blessed'. It's kinda wierd. I look forward to coming and find myself rushing for the next day i can spend in the presense of your family….Sonya blesses me each time i come. She is a mighty woman of God. She is broken, yet she is strong. she is broken, yet she stands V I C T O R I O U S ! I too stand in awe for all the things you and Sonya are doing. It's nothing for 'self gain' but for others.
I've sat and watched Sonya talk to a total stranger about Bane's story and I see the people she talks to drop off deep into her eyes…for in those eyes they see J E S U S – – in those beautiful eyes they see a G O D that is greater than all our sin…..in Sonya's big brown eyes they see a mother whos mission is to bless and help others find a P E A C E and a C O M F O R T that they might not find had she not taken those brief few moments to share Bane's story. I've watched the people's reaction as she walks away…..they are amazed, they too are in awe, they too want that same G O D that has been there for her – – to be there for them. It is endless, the lives you both are touching. I know you may not see everything and the posts that you get are just a taste of who has been touched and who has responded.
I went to Kroger last night after church for a quick loaf of bread and a gallon of milk and 50 minutes later I got out of there because I stopped to chat w/ many, many people that just wanted to tell me how they are praying and how much your lives and your 'never-ending' story of Bane's life here and after, keep blessing them. They shared of how they have passed on the blog to others and how others have been changed. These are the ones you probably will never hear about. So please don't ever be discouraged or feel that things may not be happening like they were at the beginning, because they A R E!!!! I don't go ONE day that someone doesn't stop me and share a great story of blessing. I also don't go a day that I don't sell at least ONE BaneBow bracelet! Heck, I sold 10 yesterday at church and never showed mine to anyone….they just ask for them! They've seen and heard about them and they want some too! They sell themselves!!!!! I am blessed everyday! What an awesome way to spend my days……talking, sharing and crying about our Bane and letting people know that their lives can also be changed forever!!!! i love you both beyond words. julia
sending love and prayers today and everyday. here and now, and even when we are around the globe.
those you didn't choose this road you are faithfully walking the path God has called you to. and you are doing it shining a LIGHT so bright that all can see and all notice something, something bigger…God.
bane will forever touch lives…now and on into glory. all b/c of you two and your faithfulness.
love you guys more than words,