Reflections on Brock’s Life and Death
By Drew Meadows, one proud Daddy
February 4, 2008
My favorite things about Brockie:
Two words describe our son: Reckless abandon. Brock did not eat ice cream; Brock pushed ice cream into his face and just kind of smeared it all around. From the slide show, I think Bruster’s owes me some endorsement money.
He put more life into and gave more JOY in his 1,060 short days than most men do in a lifetime. As most of you can attest, Nita and I were exhausted by parenting Brock. He was FAST! You typically saw him in the church halls always runnin’ 20 feet in front of us. But let me assure you that we would give everything to have one more day of chasin’ him around.
I can see one thumb in his mouth & the other one rubbin’ the silk on the “bebe” that his Grandmother had made for him. He was our little Linus – he had that big beautiful block head and was always toting his blanket. Every night at bedtime, we’d turn that house upside down looking for his Bebe. “Where’s bebe? Where’s bebe?”
One of my delights was coming home from work to his squeal of “Daddy!!” as he raced down the hall to give me one of his famous Brockie-Love hugs. I often don’t feel like a hero, but this always reminded me that I was his hero!
Bouncing on the trampoline with ‘da brudders (3 big brothers).
Dancing around the kitchen in the morning during our family devotion to “Jump Jump Jump into the Light”. He had just learned all of the motions 2 months ago, and he was so proud of himself.
Nita and every babysitter with long hair can attest to his affinity of twistin’ hair and holding it.
Most kids walk 20 steps away from their Parents, then look back to make sure their looking; not Brock, he’d just keep on going. He’d be running down the middle of Johnson Ferry Road right now, if we’d let him.
A fine example of him running was the Polar Bear Cub Run two Saturdays ago. The race was simple. He had been in training. He knew the rules. Run 50 yards across the gym floor to Mama. He tied for 5th place but that wasn’t good enough, so he ran back the whole way. Then he did it a third time, so much that Mark Cottingham exclaimed on the microphone, “Here he comes again!”
He was so mischievous and bad. But he was so sweet, we couldn’t spank him because we just laughed at him so.
He’d say, “Me Not Do It!” Then we’d look at him knowingly, and he’d lower his head and softly say, “Sorry, Sorry, Sorry, Sorry, Sorry.”
He was my joy. Everybody loved him, but he was MINE! My little buddy…I related to him even more because I am also the youngest of 4 boys from a wonderful family.
Brock had just become a big boy…learning to ride his bike (which debuted on You Tube two weeks ago), sleeping in his big boy bed that he and I worked on together just three weeks ago, and potty training just this past week…no more diapers. He was so proud of himself…he’d strut around and say, “I SUPERMAN!”
Then at my command, Superman would just LUNGE from his changing table into my arms.
Favorite bedtime routine every night of his life was he and I reading books, concluded with singing “Jesus Loves Me” and “Hush Little Baby (Brockie)”. He would be sweating from just running so hard, but by the time I got to the third measure of “Hush Little Brockie”, he would just release into slumber, lay his sweet head on my shoulder, just on cue.
He was inquisitive and bright. He’d break stuff apart and work on it, but most of the time, he’d just break stuff. He loved to push buttons, both literally and figuratively. His Daddy Curt said Friday, “Don’t you know he is pushing all the buttons in Heaven!” I can just see the angels chasin’ him around, driving them crazy.
Many nights I would find him in my car sneaking around, and the next morning I would get in my car for work, turn the ignition….wipers full speed, radio blaring, blinkers I didn’t know I had, seat up to the steering wheel, lit up like a Christmas tree…that is, if the battery wasn’t already dead.
He was so vocal. He had his own language:
“What’s Dat?!” Especially when I was getting ready for work as he rifled through my toiletry drawer. Have you ever tried to explain what deodorant is to a 2-yr old?!
Every night, he’d ask me to read “My Bi-buhl” (Bible). And “Chewie Woowie” (Chewy Louie).
Then his sweet, daily whine of, “You go t’work, Daddy? I go wid’ you! I go in OORS car!”
“Daddy fix it!” He didn’t realize that his Daddy can only turn a screwdriver and change a light bulb. But to him, I could fix anything.
Early morning pitter-patter on the hardwood hall followed by angelic demands of, “I sleep in OORS bed!”
But my favorite image is of him raising his arms and pleading with those big round eyes that no one knows where they came from pleading, “HOLD ME DADDY!”
SO WHAT NOW?!
I never understood the grieving wailers in the Middle East. But since my arrival at the Emergency Room Thursday afternoon, I haven’t had many tears, just deep guttural groans that only God can interpret.
I take comfort knowing that my God knows my grief for He also tragically lost an innocent son.
I know some don’t like Christianity because of some Christians. Some of us are hypocrites, one way Sunday, another on Tuesday. BUT I can attest that THAT IS NOT MY experience this week!!! Since Thursday afternoon, my home has been flooded with the Holy Spirit working through hundreds of common men and women in uncommon ways. One of our neighbors was the first to arrive on the scene amidst the chaos because I couldn’t be there. He was the surrogate Father to my boys. We’ve had a chef friend giving days of his time coordinating all meals. We’ve had a nurse friend caring for my other sick boys. Friends taking them to Scottish Rite until 1:30 AM. Deacons praying for me right now about 30 feet that way. Folks opening their homes to our out of town family. A friend buying my precious bride black dresses to choose from; something no 38-year old mother should ever have to endure. Dads and Moms that also buried children, many complete strangers, just ministering to us. Friends doing our laundry. Grocery shopping. And the funeral home visitation…you came by the hundreds and blessed us for over 5 hours! You’ll never know what they did for us. You honored him and us. We hugged so much and so tight that my left rotator cuff is torn this morning. But what a sweet pain it is. Oh, and if you haven’t heard, the line wrapped around the funeral home so many times, Channel 11 helicopters thought Hannah Montana tickets were on sale.
Friday I asked God to show me Brock, to give me a vision of what he was doing. That evening, I opened up a gift bag that was by my bed. In it was a simply gorgeous porcelain figurine of Jesus holding, and I am NOT making this up, a beautiful, curly blonde hair, little boy in his arms, protecting him from rocks and waves below. Precious Rebekah Cottingham gave that to me. Her husband Mark had given it to her during a terrible time in their life, and the Holy Spirit prompted her to bless us with it. That is no coincidence!
Some people say there is no evidence that Jesus is alive. But He has been as real to me as me standing here. You have been His arms and His legs. You have been the fragrance of Christ to us. And it is Sweet.
We are so blessed. Our cup runneth over…our refrigerator runneth over too. We love to entertain and have one of those big mama, platter-sized Sub Zero’s. Well, the food runneth over into our screened porch. And when that runneth over, a sweet man brought in a refrigerator for our garage. We definitely have been touched by your Baptist ministry of casseroles!!
In spite of our grief, there has been so much Laughter throughout our home!! That is the nothing but the fruit and gift of the Holy Spirit. He is our comforter, and He has come to me, Nita, Asa, Mason and Barrett all weekend.
Romans 8:28 was written on my heart seven years ago, but it means so much more to me now: “And we know that in ALL THINGS, God works for the GOOD of those that love Him and are called to according to His purpose.”
Psalms 30 brings comfort, “SING to the Lord you saints of His, praise His name. For His anger lasts only a moment, but His favor lasts a lifetime. Weeping may remain for a night, but REJOICING comes in the morning!! You turned my wailing into dancing and clothed me with JOY.”
Let me assure you that Nita and I didn’t want this story! We thought our testimony was just fine without this.
I ask you to pray for the love of my life, my precious Nita. And for my strong sons - Asa, Mason and Barrett, as we grieve. They have been amazing. I am one proud Daddy. The casseroles will soon stop, but please pray for us a month from now, 6 months from now, on birthdays, because we’ll still need you.
So many have asked, “HOW can we be this strong?!” We cannot, but HE CAN! My Dad gave me Philippians 4:13 as a creed years ago, “I can do ALL things (not through education, not through wealth, not through power, but) through CHRIST who strengthens me. Plus, as a Christian, I have the hope of eternity with my boy and my Jesus.
This tragedy might give some of you one more reason to shake your fist at God; please don’t! It’s not His fault. In case you missed it, we’ve been in a drought for a year, but God cried all night Thursday during Brockie’s death. You see, my God gets blamed for a lot of stuff that He doesn’t cause. This is just a sick reminder that this world is NOT our home. As Christians, we are despised here, we are strangers. This world is not the way God wanted it. But we have the hope of Heaven where there will be no more death and no more tears.
I don’t know much, but I do know one thing: God loved Brock and loves you so much that He created you to love you. But our Sin separated us from Him. He did what any good Father would do; he sent His best, His most precious gift, His Son Jesus, to show us what the Father looks like. Jesus came to bridge our gap back to God the Father. Jesus’ death and His innocent blood accomplished that. He did it for me, He did it for Brock, and He did it for you. The question is, What are we going to do with that knowledge?! Just like Brock, we are not promised that we’ll wake up. All of us will set our alarm clocks to 6:00 tomorrow morning. That is such a huge assumption! The only sure thing is that you will wake up tomorrow morning in one of three places: You will wake up in your bed. Or you will wake up in heaven. Or you will wake up in Hell.
So we are left with only two choices – are we going to run away from Him? Or are we going to run TO Him? I ran to Him 25 years ago, and I am resting in His arms now. Brock ran to Him Thursday afternoon, and is resting in His arms right now.
Help me ensure that his little life was not lived in vain. Let us now commit to live as Brockie lived – live hard, love hard, and when it is all over, RUN to Jesus!
In closing, I think in pictures…Have you seen that special movie, “Facing the Giants”? Faced with the cruel sentence of infertility, the football coach pauses in the dew of a beautiful Albany, Georgia pecan grove with a holy beam of sun on his head, opens his bible and cries out, “With or without children, I WILL PRAISE YOU!!!”
At 4:30 Thursday afternoon, I was hurdling up Johnson Ferry Road not knowing if my son was dead or alive, just screaming at God. Banging the steering wheel, banging the dash, screaming, “Don’t take my Brockie!! Don’t take my Brockie!!” Then it came…that PEACE that passes all understanding…and I calmly said, “I give him back to you.” And then I said the hardest, most unnatural thing to my Lord… “I will praise you; with or without Brock, I WILL PRAISE YOU!!!”
And as for me and my house, that’s what we’re gonna do!