Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Happy Birthday Austin Terry Garner

I started this blog as we began our physical and spiritual journey with Alea, the angel that came to our family on August 14, 2010.  We began a spiritual walk with another angel, our son Austin, on November 30, 2007.  He was born with a lethal abnormality and was only with us for 2 short hours.  I cannot describe the impact these two short hours have had on Jodi, Keena, EC, and I.  It has changed our spiritual outlook on life as well as increased our testimony that families are not just until death do us part, they are eternal.

I truly believe that one of the reasons we were given the blessing of having Austin was to prepare us for things that would came our way over the last 3 years.  Through Austin, the Lord has shown us that He is mindful of us, and that He will take care of us.

I have wanted to introduce Austin to the blog for sometime, but haven’t been able to decide how to do it.  At the time Alea was born, many would tell us that our family had been through so much.  I must admit, even I had thoughts and feelings about how much Heavenly Father would continue to ask Jodi to bear.  I did not want to add this perception to those who came to this blog, but did not know our story.  I wanted to use this forum to create awareness for Alea and Down syndrome.  I wanted to show people that Alea is as much a blessing to us as our other daughters have been.

With that being said, it is hard to share the complete walk with our angel, without including our angel that waits for us in heaven.  One thing I do not want this blog to be, is a typical mommy (daddy in my case) blog.  Jodi and I are both optimistic people, but that does not mean that challenges have not been hard.  As they have been hard, they have unified our little family in a way that cannot be described.  I am in awe of the spiritual maturity my older two girls have, and I credit that maturity to the lessons the Lord has taught them through our adversity.

I have decided to share a personal letter I sent to my family 3 weeks before Alea was born.  We had no idea of the unique opportunity Alea was waiting to provide us with.  The Lord did, however.  As you can see from the letter I sent to close family and friends, He wanted us to know that He is God, and He is with us.  The miracle you will read about did not make complete sense until Alea’s diagnosis was confirmed.  Indeed I am grateful for His mindfulness of us.

Letter Written July 22, 2010:

I thought I would take a moment and share a tender mercy that we experienced this last week.  As most of you know, Jodi and I lost our son Austin 2.5 years ago.  Due to a lethal abnormality, he lived only 2 short hours after being born at 22 weeks.  I recorded the details of this experience on my blog if you are interested [It can be found on this blog on the Angel Austin page].  

At the time [of his passing], we decided  not to bury him, and to have the hospital take care of his remains for us.  Looking back, this has been a source of regret for both Jodi and I.  It is definitely something we wish we could go back and do differently.  This regret has increased since Jodi lost her dad and brothers in a plain crash last year.  It weighed especially heavy on us since Memorial Day.  We wanted a place we could go visit his remains and memorialize him.  I don't think that this desire was just between Jodi, the girls, and I, as a few extended family members expressed these feelings after Memorial Day.

On Thursday of last week, the U of U hospital called.  I am still not clear on the details of why, but they told Jodi that they still had Austin's remains.  They have started a program where they would place him in a cemetery in SLC with a nice marker, or we could come get his remains and bury him where we wanted.  We have decided to bury him with Jodi's dad and brothers. 
What a blessing!!  It has brought much joy to our household.  We will be holding a graveside service for him in Idaho.  Depending on what Jodi's Dr. says about her traveling it will either be next week, or about a month after the baby comes in August.

This has been a true testimony builder for me.  I know that God loves each and everyone of us.  I know he is mindful of our situations and that he knows how to teach us and humble us if we listen and do our best to follow him.  I debated whether to share this over email, but I really wanted to share it with those of you that have supported us over the last few years.

Love, Chris

It should be noted that Jodi was inspired to go to Idaho and have the service before she had the baby.  If we had waited until after, Alea’s health would not have allowed us to do this until probably next spring.  How grateful for a wife who listens to that still small voice.  Happy Birthday son, we are thankful for all you are to us.  We continue to work so that there will be no empty chairs in Heaven.

Below are some pictures from the service held 7/30/2010.


  1. I love your story about Austin. I've heard it before but it touched me once again. I love how open your blog is! Keep it up!

  2. Chris we love you and your family. You are a gifted writer and we love reading about your dear sweet little family. You inspire us.

  3. Yes, you definitely inspire me. . .You and your family are amazing! I am blessed to have you for a brother and get to have your family so much a part of my life. We love you! Happy Birthday Austin. . .we will remember you always.

  4. I've often times felt that funerals are more like wedding receptions. It's a time to reflect and share your love with family. The person may be gone, but sometimes they still feel right there. And tears are shed, but so are hugs and bonding and just love that only the comfort of family can provide. Who knew the University of Utah could produce such a caring hospital ;)?

  5. "You raise me up, so I can stand on mountains;
    You raise me up, to walk on stormy seas;
    I am strong, when I am on your shoulders;
    You raise me up: To more than I can be."
    Reading your blog truly "raises me up" and after reading it I feel "I can be more". I am inspired beyond words... You guys are so awesome and we keep you in our prayers.

  6. Chris and Jodi, What a tender mercy from the Lord. I was in tears reading this, normally the hospitals just don't keep remains. This was just after the week that my brother and sis-in-law buried their baby that was born too early at 17 weeks at the Paul Cemetary also, may this be a place to visit of comfort as it has been for my family! You guys are awesome, ant remember, the Lord said, it may not be easy, but worth it!!

    Love the Schow's

  7. You guys are soooooooooo lucky to be getting a such a blessing! I kow you know that!!!!! I MISS YOU SOOOOO MUCH AND CAN'T WAIT TO SEE YOU AGAIN


  8. This brought tears to my eyes. I'm speechless. I don't have any words for how it makes me feel. Love to all of you!