The Day God Gave Me More Than I Could Handle

The old adage “God will never give you more than you can handle” is 100% false.  It needs revision.  I would change it to say, “When God gives you more than you can handle, He will not leave you alone, for He will be your guide and your strength.”

The day God gave me more than I could handle was the day my son, Silas, died.

     Funeral collagePhoto Credit: Joanie Glandon

We were at a routine doctor’s appointment on Thursday, August 8, 2013. He was six-weeks old and our doctor was keeping close tabs on him because of his breastmilk jaundice, which had almost completely healed that day. He was also struggling to gain weight because of acid reflux and we were going to make a plan to help him, but we never got that far.

Silas cried that day, and when he calmed, I tried to feed him like the doctor had asked, but he didn’t respond to latch on, nor did he try to turn away like he often did when he didn’t want to eat. I couldn’t tell if he’d tired himself from crying or if something was wrong. He was still breathing, but I couldn’t rouse him from his lethargic state. I took him out to the doctor thinking that later we’d all be laughing at my overly cautious concern, but later, there were only tears.

For more of what happened from then on, visit my post at That Day: The Worst Day of My Life. My intention today is not to walk back through that heart-wrenching memory, but rather to share how I survived something I never thought I could.

When I took my still son in my arms, I thought I could physically disintegrate from the pain that filled my whole being. I wailed with only one tear rolling down my cheek. I shattered into a million pieces, at the very least.

I prayed for God to allow me leave Silas in peace for my anguish was too much to bear and I needed to leave my son with all the love I could give him.

“In my distress I called to The Lord; I called out to my God. From His temple He heard my voice; my cry came to his ears.”
2 Samuel 22:7

God answered one of my prayers that day. In the moments that followed, my wailing calmed, and the tears began to flow unceasingly as I was allowed to know and understand that Silas was okay and he was at peace. Grief and sorrow remained in my heart, but there was peace.

My heart and mind are often brought back to those moments in the doctor’s office. In my reflections of that day, I have realized that when my heart shattered that day, God’s hand caught every single piece of my broken heart.

“He reached down from on high and took hold of me; He drew me out of deep waters.”
2 Samuel 22:17

God does give us more than we can handle, but we are not alone, for He holds us in His loving hand and gives us strength when we have none.

“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.”
Isaiah 41:10

In the days following my son’s death, the Lord did not leave me. He brought to mind so many blessings which had been given to me in my time with Silas. The blessings were so special and so beautiful that I couldn’t help but give thanks that Silas was given to me, if only for a little time, and that eased a portion of my grief.

“In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials.”
1 Peter 1:6

A few months ago, I wrote about moving forward in this life, and how I know we are not immune to future tragedy. Our family hopes to be blessed with another child to love, but I always seem to couple that prayer with the disclaimer that I want to be able to keep my child for my whole life.

Even though I have opened my heart to the opportunity of loving more children in our family, I have realized that I often subconsciously try to direct God in how He can bless my life. I have placed limitations on Him because I want to protect my heart from more grief and sorrow, but having Silas has taught me that the blessings He gives us are worth the pain and sorrow caused when they are taken away.

I will not tell God what I can and cannot handle because I could miss out on the sweetest blessings. The reason I can do this is because I can trust God to be there when I am given more than I can handle.

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“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”
Psalm 34:18

 

Photo Credits: Joanie Glandon

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He Was Braver Than I

Another month. Nine in all. Today, I remembered holding him for the last time. I remembered the questions my heart asked.

In disbelief I looked at him and thought, how did you suddenly slip away? How did your precious spirit leave your body? In my heartbreak, I didn’t understand how he could leave, because I felt as though I was dying, but my body couldn’t and wouldn’t release me.

I looked at my son, my precious baby who had only just come to us from above and realized, he was so fresh from heaven that he recognized it and accepted going home.

I could finally see that I have feared death because I have been separated from heaven and have forgotten what awaits at the end of this life. Having been in the world so long, I’ve fought against death for I feel unworthy to ever return because my sin separates me from God, even though I know the price has been paid.

In that moment of profound grief, I knew and understood Silas was okay and heaven felt so very real, so very close, and so very attainable for the first time in my life.

My son was braver than I. With the spiritual purity of a child, he recognized home. That day, my son taught me not to fear death. He showed me that heaven’s doors are wide open.

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Music Is My Balm

When we first lost Silas, I craved blocking out the world by listening to music as loudly as I could handle through the earphones of my iPod. The songs gave me moments to meditate and absorb all that had happened.

I listened to the songs that were on Silas’ birthing playlist–the ones I sang to him before and after he was born. I searched the internet for songs to which I could relate, songs that spoke of the heartbreak I was feeling. Whenever I hear of someone who has suffered infant loss, child loss, or the loss of a loved one, I want to share the following songs that brought me comfort, so I decided to write a post sharing all of the songs with their links and some of my favorite lyrics.

***Feel free to use the comments section to add any songs you may have heard that may be of comfort to those who have lost a child.

edit IMG_2214My mom snapped this photo as I was singing “Hourglass” to Silas.  It’s plain to see he really loved music.

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All I Have To Do Is Dream by The Everly Brothers

When I want you in my arms
When I want you and all your charms
Whenever I want you, all I have to do is
Dream, dream, dream, dream

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All of Me by Matt Hammitt

You’re gonna have all of me
You’re gonna have all of me
‘Cause you’re worth every falling tear
You’re worth facing any fear
You’re gonna know all my love
Even if it’s not enough
Enough to mend our broken hearts
But giving you all of me is where I’ll start

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Angel Standing By by Jewel

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Anyway by Martina McBride

God is great, but sometimes life ain’t good
When I pray it doesn’t always turn out like I think it should
But I do it anyway
I do it anyway

When Silas died, it was confusing to me that I was still here to live this life even when I felt like I could’ve died with him.  No matter what life throws at us, we will live it anyway, and we will love life, even when it is hard. 

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Beautiful Things by Gungor

All this pain
I wonder if I’ll ever find my way
I wonder if my life could really change at all
All this earth
Could all that is lost ever be found
Could a garden come up from this ground at all
You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of the dust
You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of us

The words of this song really spoke to me as God brought to mind the blessings Silas had brought to my life.  In such despair, the love for Silas shone brightly and even in the desolation of my devastation and grief, I was able to see the beauty of my love for my son.  I clung to the thought of the beauty of his life still continuing to direct mine, even while we are separated.

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Beauty from Pain by Superchick

My whole world is the pain inside me
The best I can do is just get through the day
When life before is only a memory
I’ll wonder why God lets me walk through this place
And though I can’t understand why this happened
I know that I will when I look back someday
And see how You’ve brought beauty from ashes
And made me as gold purified through these flames

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Blessings by Laura Story

We know that pain reminds this heart
That this is not,
This is not our home
It’s not our home

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Broken Hallelujah by Mandisa

With my love and my sadness
I come before You Lord
My heart’s in a thousand pieces
Maybe even more
Yet I trust in this moment
You’re with me somehow
And You’ve always been faithful
So Lord even now
 
When all that I can sing
Is a broken hallelujah
When my only offering
Is shattered praise
Still a song of adoration
Will rise up from these ruins
I will worship You and give You thanks
Even when my only praise
Is a broken hallelujah

In the days that followed my son’s death, the grief was overwhelming and all-consuming.  I felt I was drowning in it.  But, then I would catch a glimpse of his precious face, still feel the weight of him in my arms, remember the downy softness of his hair on my cheek.  Through these memories each day, I could come up from under the weight of my sadness and catch a breath of the life we had with him and the blessing he was, and I thanked God for the memories and the blessings.  When I listened to this song after being wrapped in the beautiful memories, I bawled because even in my shattered state, I was so thankful to God for giving me my son…even if only for six weeks and two days.

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Come What May from Moulin Rouge sung by Ewan McGregor & Nicole Kidman

Seasons may change winter to spring
But I love you until the end of time
Come what may Come what may
I will love you until my dying day

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Dancing in the Sky by Dani and Lizzy

I hope you’re dancing in the sky,
and I hope you’re singing in the angel’s choir,
and I hope the angels know what they have,
I’ll bet it’s so nice up in heaven since you arrived,
since you’ve arrived.

Wondering…I wonder what my baby is doing in heaven.  I know he must be happy.  I just wonder what it’s like.

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Everything’s Gonna Be Alright (Three Little Birds) by Bob Marley

My husband loves to play this song for our children and we included it in our visitation music for Silas.  How fitting that Silas was our third child.

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Fix You by Coldplay

And the tears come streaming down your face
When you lose something you can’t replace
When you love someone, but it goes to waste
Could it be worse?
Lights will guide you home
And ignite your bones
And I will try to fix you

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Forever Young Bob Dylan

May you build a ladder to the stars
And climb on every rung
May you stay forever young.

One of my husband’s favorite artists and songs. I think of Silas and how he can do everything this song sings of from his place in heaven.

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Glory Baby by Watermark

We miss you everyday, miss you in every way
But we know there’s a day when we will hold you, we will hold you
And you’ll kiss our tears away, when we’re home to stay
We can’t wait for the day when we will see you, we will see you
But baby let sweet Jesus hold you, until mom and dad can hold you
You’ll just have heaven before we do.

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The Glory Of Love by Bette Midler

You’ve got to give a little, take a little,
and let your poor heart break a little.
That’s the story of, that’s the glory of love.

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Godspeed (Sweet Dreams) by The Dixie Chicks

Godspeed, little man
Sweet dreams, little man
Oh, my love will fly to you
Each night on angels wings
Godspeed, sweet dreams

I sang this to Silas often.  Never thought his journey would be to heaven…

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Gone Too Soon by Daughtry

Who would you be?
What would you look like,
When you looked at me for the very first time?
Today could have been the next day of the rest of your life.Not a day goes by,
That I don’t think of you,
I’m always asking why this crazy world had to lose,
Such a ray of light we never knew,
Gone too soon.

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Gone Too Soon by Simple Plan

Like a shooting star
Flyin’ across the room
So fast so far
You were gone too soon
You’re part of me
And I’ll never be
The same here without you
You were gone too soon

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Heaven Got Another Angel by Gordon Garner

Heaven got another angel the night you left this world behind
Heaven got a little better the day it took you away from me
I’m missing you tonight
I’ll see you again sometime
For now I’ll close my eyes and dream of heaven tonight

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Held by Natalie Grant

This is what it means to be held
How it feels, when the sacred is torn from your life
And you survive
This is what it is to be loved and to know
That the promise was that when everything fell
We’d be held

This song is on my heart often.  Many times the memory of first holding my still son comes back to my mind, but it is almost like I’m watching a movie.  I probably can’t allow myself to be in the moment, even in my mind, for that was the moment my heart shattered.  The words in this song describe how some of that moment felt.  When I felt I was disintegrating because of the heartbreak, I know God caught every single broken piece of me and held me.

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Homesick by MercyMe

Help me Lord cause I don’t understand your ways
The reason why I wonder if I’ll ever know
But, even if you showed me, the hurt would be the same
Cause I’m still here so far away from homeI close my eyes and I see your face
If home’s where my heart is then I’m out of place
Lord, won’t you give me strength to make it through somehow
I’ve never been more homesick than now

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Hourglass by Mindy Gledhill

When you reach for the stars
Don’t forget who you are
And please don’t turn around and grow up way too fast
See the sand in my grasp
From the first to the last
Every grain becomes a memory of the past
Oh, life’s an hourglass
Life’s an hourglass

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The Hurt & The Healer by MercyMe

I’m alive
Even though a part of me has died
You take my heart and breathe it back to life
I fall into Your arms open wide
When the hurt and the healer collide

I went to this song often as my heart tried to make sense of losing our little boy.

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I Can Only Imagine by MercyMe

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I Give You to His Heart by Alison Krauss

I wish that life wasn’t always ending up this way,
with Heaven’s love at stake and hell to pay.
But you in God’s loving plan might be the missing part.
You must live.
So I give you to his heart.

This song helped my heart realize, that even though Silas had been taken from us, I still needed to give him back to God.  You can read more of my thoughts on this in my post.

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I Want You Here by Plumb

I waited so long
For you to come
Then you were here
And now you’re gone
I was not prepared
For you to leave me
Oh this is misery

The bitter truth of childloss.

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I Will Carry You (Audrey’s Song) by Selah

I will carry you/While your heart beats here/Long beyond the empty cradle/Through the coming years/I will carry you/All your life/And I will praise the One Who’s chosen me/To carry you

I had heard this song when I was pregnant with Silas and wished I had known of it when I had suffered a miscarriage.  I hoped I would never have a reason to relate with it ever again, but the night my baby died, I knew I would find this song and ask my friends to sing it at his funeral.

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I’ll See You Again by Westlife

Always you will be part of me
And I will forever feel your strength
When I need it most
You’re gone now, gone but not forgotten
I can’t say this to your face
But I know you hear

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In Dreams by Roy Orbison

In dreams I walk with you. In dreams I talk to you.
In dreams you’re mine. All of the time we’re together
In dreams, In dreams.But just before the dawn, I awake and find you gone.
I can’t help it, I can’t help it, if I cry.
I remember that you said goodbye.It’s too bad that all these things, Can only happen in my dreams
Only in dreams In beautiful dreams.

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In My Arms by Plumb

Castles – they might crumble
Dreams may not come true
But you are never all alone
‘Cause I will always,
Always love you
When the clouds will rage in
Storms will race in
But you will be safe in my arms
Rains will pour down
Waves will crash around
But you will be safe in my arms, in my arms

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In My Life by The Beatles

Though I know I’ll never lose affection
For people and things that went before
I know I’ll often stop and think about them
In my life I love you more

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In Your Hands by Unspoken

Every sorrow, I leave it in Your hands
Every sickness, I leave it in Your hands
All my failures, I leave them in Your hands
Amen, I can leave it in Your handsEvery promise, I leave it in Your hands
Every healing, I leave it in Your hands
And my future, I leave it in Your hands
Amen, I can leave it in Your hands
I can leave it in Your hands

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Lift My Life Up Unspoken

I lift my life, lift my life up
I give it all in surrender
I lift my heart, lift my heart up
You can have it forever
All my dreams, all my plans
Lord I leave it in Your hands
I lift my life, lift my life up

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Love Never Fails by Brandon Heath

Love will sustain
Love will provide
Love will not cease
At the end of time
[…]
When my heart won’t make a sound
When I can’t turn back around
When the sky is falling down
Nothing is greater than this
Greater than this

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Lullaby by The Dixie Chicks

How long do you want to be loved
Is forever enough, is forever enough
How long do you want to be loved
Is forever enough
Cause I’m never, never giving you up

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Lullabye (Goodnight, My Angel) by Billy Joel

Someday we’ll all be gone
But lullabyes go on and on…
They never die
That’s how you
And I
Will be

Beautiful song that leaves me yearning for my son and all the time we could’ve had.  We included this song during Silas’ visitation.

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Moon River by Audrey Hepburn

Moon river, wider than a mile
I’m crossing you in style some day
Oh, dream maker, you heart breaker
Wherever you’re going, I’m going your wayTwo drifters, off to see the world
There’s such a lot of world to see
We’re after that same rainbow’s end, waiting, round the bend
My Huckleberry Friend, Moon River, and me

Another favorite of my husband’s and mine that we included during Silas’ visitation.

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Most of Us Are Sad by The Eagles

Love was here today
Oh the sun was bright
I will sing you faraway
Love is here tonight
Most of us are sad
No one lets it show
I’ve been shadows of myself
How was I to know?

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Never Alone by Jim Brickman and Lady Antebellum

Never alone, never alone
I’ll be in every beat of your heart when you face the unknown
Wherever you fly this isn’t goodbye
My love will follow you, stay with you, baby, you’re never alone

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Never Be Forgotten by Jessica Andrews

You will never be forgotten
A million days could pass us by
But what is time but just a dream
Oh I still feel you here with me
You’re more than a memory
Oh you will never be forgottenAnd the world just keeps on going
It has no way of knowing
That you’re gone

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Over the Rainbow by Eva Cassidy

Someday I’ll wish upon a star
And wake up where the clouds are far behind me.
Where troubles melt like lemon drops
Away above the chimney tops
That’s where you’ll find me.

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Please Remember LeAnn Rimes

Goodbye, there’s just no sadder word to say
And it’s sad to walk away
With just the memories
Who’s to know what might have been
We’ll leave behind a life and time
We’ll never know again

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Praise You In This Storm by Casting Crowns

And I’ll praise You in this storm
And I will lift my hands
For You are who You are
No matter where I am
And every tear I’ve cried
You hold in Your hand
You never left my side
And though my heart is torn
I will praise You in this storm

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Return To Me by Dean Martin

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Return To Pooh Corner by Kenny Loggins

It’s hard to explain how a few precious things
Seem to follow throughout all our lives
After all’s said and done I was watching my son
Sleeping there with my bear by his side
So I tucked him in, I kissed him and as I was going
I swear that the old bear whispered “Boy welcome home”Believe me if you can
I’ve finally come back
To the House at Pooh Corner by one
What do you know
There’s so much to be done
Count all the bees in the hive
Chase all the clouds from the sky
Back to the days of Christopher Robin
Back to the days of Pooh

My husband was named after this song.  He really wanted to choose a special song for Silas’ funeral, and this was the one he chose to share that day.  I like to think that as this was played, his mom was smiling down from heaven while holding our son.

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See You Again by Carrie Underwood

Sometimes I feel my heart is breaking
But I stay strong and I hold on cause I knowI will see you again,
This is not where it ends
I will carry you with me

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Shooting Star by Bob Dylan

Seen a shooting star tonight
And I thought of you
You were trying to break into another world
A world I never knew
I always kind of wondered if you ever made it through
Seen a shooting star tonight
And I thought of you.

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Smile by Nat King Cole

Smile though your heart is aching
Smile even though it’s breaking
When there are clouds in the sky, you’ll get by
If you smile through your fear and sorrow
Smile and maybe tomorrow
You’ll see the sun come shining through for you

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Stargazer by Paloma Faith

Stargazer, heartbreaker.
Wish you were here.
How will I shine anymore without your atmosphere?
My dear stargazer, don’t disappear.
How will shine anymore when you’re not here?

I heard this song a few days ago on Pandora.  The next day, my husband said he had a song he wanted to play for me.  He told me this song came on his Pandora station as he was driving to work and was playing as he passed the doctor’s office where Silas passed away.  He thought I would like to know that, and of course, I think it was really special.  I told him maybe Silas was sending him a message as he drove by that hard place the other day.

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Tears in Heaven by Eric Clapton

Time can bring you down,
Time can bend your knees.
Time can break your heart,
Have you begging please, begging please.Beyond the door,
There’s peace I’m sure,
And I know there’ll be no more
Tears in heaven.

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There You’ll Be by Faith Hill

In my dreams
I’ll always see you soar
Above the sky
In my heart
There will always be a place
For you for all my life
I’ll keep a part
Of you with me
And everywhere I am
There you’ll be
And everywhere I am
There you’ll be

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(They Long To Be) Close To You by The Carpenters

On the day that you were born the angels got together.
And decided to create a dream come true.
So, they sprinkled moon dust in your hair of gold,
And star-light in your eyes of blue.
That is why all the girls in town follow you all around.
Just like me, they long to be close to you…

I sang this to Silas all the time.  He always calmed and melted in my arms.  I sang it to him in the moments before he died as he cried before becoming unresponsive.  This song is still precious to me, though it is a trigger for my grief.

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This Life by The Afters

For a moment, we are here together.
And it hits me that this won’t last forever.We can’t own it
We just get to hold it for a while.
This Life.
We can’t keep it
Or save it for another time.
This Life.

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This Little Light Of Mine by Addison Road

With the ones you love treasure the time
And for those who are gone keep their memories alive
Hold on to your dreams don’t ever let go
There’s a fire inside you burning with hope

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To Where You Are by Josh Groban

Can it be
That you are mine
Forever love
And you are watching over me from up aboveFly me up to where you are
Beyond the distant star
I wish upon tonight
To see you smile
If only for awhile to know you’re there
A breath away’s not far
To where you are

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Untitled Hymn (Come To Jesus) by Chris Rice

And with your final heartbeat
Kiss the world goodbye
Then go in peace, and laugh on Glory’s side and
Fly to Jesus and live

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What Do I Know by Sara Groves

Oh, what do I know? Really, what do I know?
Well, I don’t know that there are harps in heaven,
Or the process for earning your wings.
And, I don’t know of bright lights at the ends of tunnels,
Or any of those things.But I know to be absent from this body is to be present with the Lord,
and from what I know of him, that must be pretty good.
Oh, I know to be absent from this body is to be present with the Lord,
and from what I know of him, that must be very good.

I absolutely love this song.  I love that it doesn’t claim to know what kind of glory lost loved ones are now in.  It asks my questions and reconciles our lack of knowledge in a gentle, calming way.

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What’s Mine Is Yours by Katherine Nelson

What’s mine is Yours
It’s always been
What slips through my hands has Your fingerprints on it
I’m letting go
Remembering
Though Heaven’s doors feel shut they’re wide open
What’s mine is Yours

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Who You’d Be Today by Kenny Chesney

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Wonderfully Made by Scripture Lullabies

Looking out into the night sky
A million stars shining down and
I can see how you’d feel so smallDon’t forget I’m your Creator
You are Mine and I adore you
Nothing else moves My heart like you
You’re not here by chance, you are My design
I did well to give you lifeYou are fearfully and wonderfully made
Long before you drew your first breath
I knew your name
Surely goodness and mercy
Will follow you forever
For you are fearfully and wonderfully made

While searching for a song to use for the photo video my husband’s brother and sister were creating for Silas’ funeral, my friend suggested this song.  It was absolutely perfect.  On the last slide, they added the last part of the scripture, “And I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever,” for that’s where he is now.  Our children listen to this song over and over and call it “Silas’ Song.”

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You’ll Be In My Heart by Kenny Loggins

For one so small, you seem so strong
My arms on hold you keep you safe and warm
This bond between us can’t be broken
I will be here don’t you cry
Cause you’ll be in my heart
Yes, you’ll be in my heart
From this day on
Now and forever more
[…]
When destiny calls you, you must be strong
I may not be with you, so you gotta hold on
You’ll see in time, I know
We’ll always be together ’cause
You’ll be in my heart
Always you’ll be in my heart
From this day on
Now and forever more

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Your Hands by JJ Heller

When you walked upon the earth
You healed the broken, lost and hurt
I know you hate to see me cry
One day you will set all things right
Yeah, one day you will set all things rightWhen my world is shaking, heaven stands
When my heart is breaking
I never leave your hands

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