What I Said About Him

Today is one of those days where I just want to remember him.  Everything about him.  All the ins and outs of his precious little personality.  I look through his photos over and over again.  And I want others to remember too.  Acknowledgment I’m realizing is the biggest gift to someone who is walking out deep grief.  I’ve been sleeping pretty crappy and still waking in the middle of the night and bursting into tears. So many words I want to share, but I thought today I’d just share what I said about Everett as his celebration of life service…his 4th birthday party.  Josh Kelley spoke too along with his brother Andy and they both nailed it.  I so wish we’d had the whole thing videoed, but I just beamed with pride over both of them getting up there and sharing the way they did.  Was so honored they spoke the way they did about our Everett boy.  So for today I’m just stopping in to say hi and I’ll leave you with what I shared about our FuShuai on the day we said our goodbye and celebrated his amazing little life.

I’ve thought and thought about what I would say today and finally started to put words down last night around midnight.  I listened to Josh read what he had written and I just cried because the love he has for his children is something fierce and wonderful to behold and I know he is so broken right now with losing Everett.  I’m not sure parents usually speak at their kid’s funeral…thankfully we’ve never had to attend a child’d funeral before.  We’re honestly not sure how any of this is suppose to work or go down, but I knew I didn’t want just anyone up here sharing about our boy and our God.

Everett was a gift.  A true treasure.  Yet another amazing child Josh Kelley and myself are so unworthy of.  I tell my kids almost everyday “I’m the luckiest mama in the world.  Why am I the luckiest mama in the world?”  To which they know to reply “Because you have us.”  Just like all of you parents here know you are the luckiest too.  I will never get over or understand God’s goodness in the way He has knit our family together, but I am forever deeply grateful.  Sweet Everett was no different.  We didn’t chase after him because we’re good people…we chased after him because he was our son.  We knew the incredible blessing that awaited us.  None of our children are our good deeds or our ministry…they are our kiddos…a deep seeded part of our hearts that God knit together so beautifully.  Josh and I know full well we are the lucky ones and put our little family together and we all make each other better.  We knew Everett would make our family even sweeter and boy did he.  He was hilarious and fun and kind.  He was braver and stronger than I’ll ever be.  He loved big.  I’ve never met a more empathetic child.  I remember laying in his bed one night before we left for Michigan and I started to cry while holding him close.  He said, “You crying mama?”  And I said, “Yes, buddy, but it’s okay.” The next thing I felt was his sweet little arm stretched across me and his own hot tears on my cheek.  He did this with anyone when he knew they we’re crying.  Goodness did he love well.  It’s an honor and privilege to be his family.  We know how crazy amazing it was to be loved by Everett.  To have spent almost 5 months with him all together as a family is a gift I will never get over.

And this was not the first time Everett had known love.  He was cherished and loved and cared for by the sweetest of people across the ocean his whole little life.  To those people Josh and I are forever grateful because they loved our son like he was their own before we could.  How do you ever repay that?  They kissed his face and hugged his sweet little body.  They celebrated birthdays and holidays and sang songs and played games.  And even more Everett spent his life with his best friend Tai who loved him fiercely back.  The night before we left for Michigan Shuai and Tai facetimed together and it will always be a highlight of my life watching those best friends see each other and chat with each other and laugh with each other again.  My favorite moment was when Tai said something to Everett in Chinese and Everett flashed a giant smile, turned to me and said, “He misses me.”  Goodness do these boys love well.

We miss our FuShaui terribly.  Nothing about this feels good or right.  Everything about it feels so backwards and wrong.  We are broken and sad and angry and confused.  We feel like a giant mess.  But this is the power of the love of Christ…that we don’t have to be okay with any of this.  We can cry out to him in love or anger or sadness or confusion or pain…in any state we can cry out to Him and He is there.  We do not have to fix ourselves up.  We do not have to be okay.  We do not have to change one thing about ourselves to come to Jesus.  God loves us as is right now.  We’ve done nothing too terrible or embarrassing or mean or unjust…nothing keeps us from our Father.  So if you leave here with anything today please know you are loved.  You count.  You matter.  You are cherished and beautiful and seen by a God who created you in His image and that is absolutely worthy of our Creators love all on it’s own.  He loves each of us immensely and longs for us just as we are.

We cannot thank this community that has rallied around our boy and our family in our darkest days.  You have showered us with the love of Christ and allowed us to experience Jesus in a way we never have.  We will lift His name high because He is absolutely worthy of our praise.


  1. I miss him.

  2. I cannot read these posts without tears, but my tears and sorrow are nothing compared to you who held Everett and loved on him and hoped for him. Thank you for giving so much love to him and for recognizing how much he gave back to you. Thinking of you and your family with much love and wishing you peace.

  3. Love love love. Such a sweet, special guy. Hugs to you from afar <3

  4. We don’t know each other. We share a mutual friend. I just wanted you to know that I continue to pray for you and your family often. The way you wrote about your sweet Everett is amazing! What a precious blessing!

  5. I love learning more about him. I cry every time I read your posts and often in between.

  6. Cheryl Stone says:

    There aren’t many days that I don’t think of you all, and Everett, for at least a moment in time. Thank you for sharing your love, and your grief, with all of us.

  7. I think about him everyday and pray for you and your family. So glad that God knows how to comfort better than I do.

  8. Frances Dunaway says:

    I fell in love the first time I saw his picture and then saw him at church. That smile – that face.
    I think of your family often . I grieve over your grief.


  9. Lisa gilliam says:

    My heart is still broken for you all. I pray you find more joy each day than sorrow and peace

  10. Love and peace wished for you all.

  11. praying for you…so so so so sorry

  12. Love, love, love to you all. I received my beautiful art today. It will always remind me of your beautiful family. God bless as you go through this valley.

  13. Heather shorR says:

    Still thinking of you and praying for you.

  14. Each day as I look at the art that you’ve done that is now in my home, I think of your sweet family. I continue to lift you all up in prayer, knowing that He is the only one who is able to provide the comfort and healing that is needed by each of you. ❤

  15. I don’t know you or your family but I know your SIL Katy, which is where I first learned about Everett (in the days leading up to his surgery). You all have been on my heart ever since I first started reading your blog and I have prayed for you daily since then as well.
    Your testimony during this is beautiful. Just wanted you to know there are still people, even strangers, lifting you up in prayer.

  16. Trisha lemarbre says:

    No words-just love and blessings to you!

  17. You’re handling your brokenness beautifully, one heart-squeezing moment at a time. ❤️❤️

  18. Everything about you makes me a better mom ❤

  19. I can feel your love for Everett in your words, and it brings me to tears every time. How very blessed you are to have had this wonderful little boy in your lives, even for such a short time. You remain in my thoughts and prayers.

  20. Still thinking of your family and praying for peace and comfort. ❤️

  21. Oh, Laura, how I grieve for you in your great, great loss. As others have said, though, you are stewarding your grief so very well and being a living testimony in the midst of the immense, heart-shattering pain you are going through. May God continue to be glorified in and through you, and may you find great comfort in Him having personally experienced your grief as He gave up His own Son. You are so loved by people near and far–even this stranger here in Chicago.

  22. I will never see a donkey piñata without thinking of his sweet little face. Love and prayers to you and your family.

  23. Thank you for sharing your heart and Everett’s story and your unconditional, intimate love for him. I know that God is with you in this. Through your anguish you have continued to give Glory to God. Saying thank you for your faith seems so inadequate. But I thank you, and pray for you and your family that God’s incomparable love will carry you through this.

  24. Tiffany L Cadenhead says:

    Tears for you. I miss him for you.

  25. Beautiful words about a beautiful boy.

  26. In a walm*rt in a very small town in the southern part of Minnesota, I rolled through the party decor ( wheelchair roll, by the way). I was searching for decorations for my Dad’s upcoming 98th birthday. My eyes scanned the shelves and as I looked up, there he was, Fiesta, the donkey piñata! A symbol of a precious life. Way up high, on the very top shelf. He stood up there in all of his bright and beautiful glory, shining for all to see. And, I sat there and wept for the absence of your bright, shiny, boy!
    As I rolled away, shopping cart empty and out to my car, the tears continued. I came home, closed the blinds and crawled into my bed. And, asked… again, “Why, Lord?” There was no answer to that question. As I prayed, I began to see how that Fiesta piñata represented so very much more than grief! It represented a very precious boy and his short journey on this Earth.

    That Rainbow colored piñata makes me think God’s faithfulness and mercy. Sitting “up there”, all bright and beautiful, like Fiesta on that high shelf, Our Father God is holding your beautiful Boy, Healed and Whole. I can envision them together, Everett holding onto His arm with a great big ol’ smile on his face!
    Everett Shuai will forever touch the hearts of those who came to know and love him through his Mama’s words and photos. You truly are Blessed, Josh and Laura, with some very special children! Each a gift from God. Always keeping you in my prayers. Much love to you, Kelley Family!

    • I wish there was a “like” button or something similar for comments, because I love this one. Thank you Jo for sharing, even if it made me tear up. “Everett Shuai will forever touch the hearts of those who came to know and love him through his Mama’s words and photos.” Indeed he will.

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