Sunday, March 21, 2010

Aaron Alexander Erhart

Today was Aaron’s funeral in Bakersfield California. It was a really beautiful service and I was touched by the singing of the Mennonites. It was truly amazing! The service was fairly long and Fred provided an outstanding testimony on his son. I can not even beginning to imagine how difficult it must of been to get up in front of those 300+ and share the way he did. There were various times throughout the service where all of us were overwhelmed with grief.

It is really difficult to belief and I’ve had a hard time trying wrap my head around the fact that Aaron is gone. He was only sixteen years old, born December 8th 1993 and passed away on Thursday March 11th 2010. We have known Aaron his entire life. We’ve seen him grow up over the years to become a really wonderful young man. He was a special friend to Devin, a cousin that would take extra time spend with him. Denise and I can remember him coming through the door for a family visit and would give us huge bear hugs. It was really hard to believe that much strength was coming from that boy.

Aaron had been ill for the last few months on what seemed to be stomach problems. Michelle and Fred tried various methods and doctors and didn’t leave Missouri until they thought they had his problems resolved. They traveled here to California to work with some fellow Mennonites who own an orange orchard in Bakersfield. As I have written in previous blog entires he did get worse and ultimately was diagnostic with hernia. It wasn’t until the surgery that the extent of the real problem came to light. He had stave IV Burkitt’s Lymphoma; a truly horrible cancer. In the first couple of weeks I don’t think anyone truly understood the magnitude of the disease and while awaiting biopsy results Michelle and Fred tried everything they could think of to help save their son.

So today, eleven days after he passed away Aaron was laid to rest. I hope everyone realized reading this blog how difficult the entire service was. At one point when everyone arrived for the grave site service Michelle was waiting at the hurst with her camera in hand. I asked Michelle if she wanted me to take pictures. She said yes, so I photographed. She really wanted me to document as much as I could and I did. Obviously the images throughout the blog are only a small selection of those images. The breaking point for me was when they were lowering Aaron into the ground and I was overcome with grief. The magnitude and reality of the situation came down upon me. Once I regained my composure I took only a handful more shots of Fred as he sprinkled earth his son’s casket and said goodbye for the last time until they meet again in heaven.


At Monday, 03 May, 2010, Anonymous Pat & Rick Barnes said...

I can only imagine what Michelle and Fred have been going through. He was a fine young man, helpful to his mom and considerate. I knew him only briefly, but could tell he was a special person, just from the brief encounters. My prayers are with the family to be able to endure until they too are called Home.


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