We drive slowly right behind Gillman's to the cemetery. I remember when we are driving up that long drive to the cemetery, I am thinking how can this be true, how can we actually be doing this---Tay is going for his final ride--he is way too young. I was thinking, he has never been back to this cemetery in life, his first time back is in death. It is all too much for my mind, it starts to shut down . As we stop by the tent, the pallbears are starting to carry Taylor's casket over to the burial site. Keith told us later, he was thinking, Oh, Tay, we should be playing in the waves in ocean at Nags Head like we use to do, not me carrying your casket. We slowly get out of the car and head over to the tent. The sun was out and warm--a day Taylor would have loved. He loved summer and being outside, and being with his friends. Even though Taylor didn't know it, he had all three. His friends were all there. As i looked around alittle, I noticed that every lane in the cemetery was filled up with cars and the line of cars was going out the cemetery and down the lane. The choir sang a song, then Gary had a prayer and now it was time to say our final good-bye---just how could we possibly be able to do that. As we seen, it was not easy for anyone. Gillman starts to pull carnations from the spray and giving us each one. Then he goes over to the pall bears---which was truly a sight to see---they all stood perfectly straight in a line with sober faces and tears in their eyes and gave each of them one. Spencer, Brooke and I went up and knelt over Taylor's casket. I think God must have been carrying me again, and sorta shut my mind off because I just knelt there with no tears left. Spencer took this very hard, he was sobbing leaning over Tay' casket. Jeff noticed that nobody was leaving and thought they were perhaps waiting for us to leave first, so he thought maybe we should get back into the car. So, Spencer, Brooke and I get up to leave, but I notice that Spencer looked like he was not ready to leave yet. I asked him, do you want to go back by Taylor again, and he quickly said yes. I and Spencer went back to Taylor and just knelt there with our faces in our hands over the casket. I felt I had no heart left---it had been completely ripped out. After several more minutes, Spencer had said his final good-bye's and started to get up. I noticed that there were still people everywhere---I was thinking, I thought every body left after the prayer, I wonder why they are all still here. I am glad that somebody noticed what was happening, because we were so wrapped up in grief, we did not catch what was happening. Ricki came up to Jeff and says, i think the kids would like to also say good bye to Taylor. Jeff then says, if any of you kids want to come up closer and say good bye you are welcome to. That was something to see---the guys and girls come up to the casket, they got on their knees and knelt by the casket with their arms on it. There was not enough room for them all, so some just knelt behind the ones closes to the casket. Oh, if only Taylor could have seen all his friends on their knees---I can only pray, Taylor, you left a big enough mark on their lives that they will want Jesus in their lives. They all seen how quickly Taylor went from having fun riding his 4 wheeler to eternity. This was very emotional to see all these kids on their knees. They get up after a few minutes, but still no body leaves. Some waited until they could go up by themselves to mourn Taylor. I seen Jed up by himself, maybe I should have just left him by himself, but, my heart was breaking for him too. I just went up and put my arm around him and just quietly knelt by his side. He was sobbing, but then who wasn't at this point. Kirk came up and knelt by the casket and was softly crying---he had just lost one of his best friends. Their hearts were all breaking too. All those big muscular guys were crying without shame. Everybody was seeing that death is so final and this was the last time we would be this physically close to Taylor. How are we going to ever be able to continue on---that is our human thought, and the answer is, we can't and we won't. It is only in God's mercy that I will be able to get up tomorrow after this funeral. Kelly Gillman does come over to me---this is the first time I ever seen any compassion from her since this all happened. She does give me a hug and I think she might even be crying alittle. She said I have never seen anything quite like this. This is really hard. We slowly get back into our cars and everybody does start to leave this time. We go back to the church for lunch. I thought all I want to do is go home and pull the covers over my head and not think. After lunch, alot of the Illinois people that came are starting to leave. i truly appreciated all of those that put the effort and time into coming. Mom and Dad were still doing pretty well, they were tired, but feeling well, and for that we were thankful. Mom and dad, Warren, Ron all go to Diane's. Us, Max's and Max's kids have to now go back to the fellowship hall and clean up and take care of the flowers. As we are driving back to the fellowship hall, all I can think is I really really do not want to go back here. As I walk in the doors all the memories and emotions comes flooding back from the day before. I turn the corner and there are all the flowers still sitting and then the empty place where the casket was. I just stood there and stared, again reality has hit, it really is true. I told everybody to take whatever they wanted of the flowers and plants. We carried the flowers out to our cars, but in my heart even though those flowers were beautiful they just reminded me of such horror, I could hardly look at them. We did take some to the nursing home which they all just loved. I did take some home. It was sorta bittersweet, yes the flowers remind me of horror, but when it came time to throw them out, it almost felt like I was throwing out part of Taylor. I got a big plaque of "Be Still and Know I Am God" that I just love---it is one of my favorite verses. Jeff and Max swept the fellowship hall and finally it is time to leave and go home. We come home and Jeff gets the mail, we get another 50 cards. Jeff loves cards, he is still reading everyone of them word for word. I am not in the mood to read more mournful cards. For right now, it is also such a reminder of this terrible horror that has struck our lives. My heart is so broken and shredded that probably the only one that is going to be any comfort is God. But don't get me wrong, I later read the cards and we end up getting somewhere around 570 cards. We got bunches the first week or two, but the ones that meant the most to me were the ones we got after that. That was probably because the horror had lessen a bit and I could actually read them and feel what the person was trying to say. We still get cards almost every day, of course not nearly as many, but those mean alot, because we know that we are still in their hearts, and prayers. They have to be thinking about us, to go get a card, write in it and then send it. I learned alot through all of this---what to say, what not to say, when to send a card. We also will get two, three and sometimes four cards from the same person---now we know or sure those people are really praying for us---Thank you all who pray for us. After we change our clothes and carry our flowers in the house, we go over to Diane's. My whole family is over there, so it is really nice to be with all of them----this happens so rarely. Karen and Luann are our "maids"s for the evening and they go a great job. They serve us dinner---I am not sure if anybody was hungry or not, but we at least pretended to eat, or maybe that was just me that had to pretend to be hungry. We really did not talk too much about the funeral. We did have a few laughs. I think our bodies were so tired, we just wanted to relax. But of course there was a constant thought, which has taken a permanent place in my mind----Taylor is gone, I can not see, touch or talk with him ever again---every once in a while my body will just shake from that thought. As we sat there and visited a terrible storm came up and it rained really hard. Of course my mind went to Taylor out there all by himself---I know a crazy thought, he really is not there, but it still kept running through my mind. Somebody make the comment that we all cried many tears this day, and now God is crying His tears. That thought touched my heart---Jesus probably did cry with us many times and still does on hard days. Carol did not go to the funeral, but was not feeling too badly. Her face did have some rug burns on it, but not too bad. We did find out later that Carol ended up with two small breaks in her wrist and had to have alot of physical therapy, which helped alot. Well, it was time to say good bye to Ron and Carol, they were flying back very early the next morning. I was very sad to see them leave, but Ron has kept in contact with me and has been a great support. More than once he called and I was in tears and he would help me refocus back on Jesus and not myself. Anyway, one last word of advice he told Jeff and myself before he left is-- He said never go down the street of "why". He said when he got wounded in Vietnam and had to have his leg amputated he felt he had the right to ask God "why" He left that happen---and God was silent. Ron said satan took that silence and took him down a road he barely made it back. I can not say I have never asked "why"----it is so easy to ask that question, and I will go into that later, but after hearing this story of Ron's, which he told me in more detail, I knew i probably would not make it back, so i try to refocus when my mind goes there----which is exactly where satan wants me to go. I have found that to be a slippery slope. We say our good bye's to Ron's and go home. It is a quiet ride home, each in our own thoughts. When we get home, we all walked into the house. Spencer said I can't sleep in that room, so he doesn't. I just go into Taylor and Spencer's room and stand there by Tay's bed and stare at his bed. My mind just kept saying over and over, you should be in your bed, not in the cemetery. Pretty soon I found myself sobbing again, so I quietly shut off the light and go out of his room. The last five days have been the worst days of my life---some have told me, you have been though the worse thing that can possibly happen to you---sometimes I think that must be true, but then I am sure there are worst things---what if your child was kidnapped and you did not know where or who had them. That would be worse. I have to say, Max, Diane and her kids were huge support in this terrible time. Each and every one of them were a support in a different way and at a different time.
They all are still great support to us----I don't know what I would have done with out any of them---God put me in very good hands. Max and Diane went through every step with us, and at many moments they actually held us up physically, they helped us make decision when I could not even hardly breath, let alone make any type of decisions. Like Diane has said, they were mourning Taylor but they also had to watch us mourn the extremely deep lose of a child, which was almost as hard as mourning Taylor. Diane did comment that in those five days, she has never felt closer to God. It was almost like God had a hold of her hand. She said as she looks back and some of the things that she did for us, she said it had to be God working through her, because on her own, she said I would have also been crumpled on the floor. Once again, God gives Grace where it is needed. Prayers of the people were carrying every last one of us---all I ask is please continue to pray for us, Max's, and Taylor's friends. I can't explain how thankful I am for a praying group of friends. Thank you all.