Mac's Funeral

by Josh's sister

McKallister Vance Hinckley was laid to rest on July 2, 2008 at Larkin Sunset Gardens in Sandy, Utah. The day was one of heartache mixed with feelings of deep gratitude for the impact Mac's short life has had on each of our lives.

The day began with a private viewing for close family members and friends. Before the room was opened up for friends and extended family, our immediate family had the opportunity to spend time alone with Mac. The feeling in the room and as we spent time with his precious body was amazing.

As immediate family, we had the special privilege of watching Josh and Cali lovingly dress Mac in his white burial attire. As we watched them, we thought of how they had always imagined they'd be dressing little Mac in the new clothes hanging in their closet for him, but here they were dressing him in burial clothes instead. It was a heartbreaking sight. They placed a little baseball cap on his head and a baseball in his hand.

They were so gentle as they placed his precious body in his tiny casket, which was lined with a blanket lovingly made by Josh's brother Isaac and his wife. In the casket they placed the paper flower Josh gave to Cali when he first met her, and a tender letter written to Mac by Cali. Additional keepsakes (a ring, a tie pin, and a teddy bear) were placed with him to match keepsakes Josh and Cali have as quiet reminders of their little boy.


Looking at Mac lying in his casket was like looking at an angel. The spirit that radiated from his precious body was heavenly. He was beautiful, peaceful, and illuminated the pure love of heaven. It seemed as though he was telling each of us, heart to heart, that he was okay, that there was a greater mission for him to fulfill on the other side, and that he was in the loving arms of our Savior. The feeling in the room was literally like being surrounded by heavenly angels -- loving ancestors that had passed on but had been allowed to reunite with us on earth for these few moments in time to comfort us and assure us that Mac was with them and that he was okay. We undoubtedly felt that among those angels, was Josh and Cali's angel. He was there to witness the outpouring of love for him and to speak peace to our hearts. Being in the presence of a spirit so pure, innocent, and close to God was Godlike in every sense of the word.

Before we knew it, the room was literally being filled to the brim with earthly angels--family and friends who had all come to say goodbye to Mac and show of their love for Josh and Cali. The video Julie Williams created (see above) was played and we all sobbed as we watched it and thought of the special mission our little angel came to fulfill. One by one each person in the room said their goodbye's to little Mac. Each goodbye was different--some kissed his little cheek, some rubbed his tiny hand, some spoke to him and thanked him for all he had taught them--but the tears we shed were united as we took our last earthly look at his perfect little body. After saying our goodbye's, our heads humbly bowed together in a family prayer offered by Josh's father and then we watched as Mac's casket was closed until he comes forth in the resurrection.

As we arrived at the burial plot, we were awe struck by the hundreds of people standing there in reverence, with balloons in hand, to pay tribute to baby Mac. Many people present were complete strangers to Josh and Cali, but had been so touched by their story that they felt compelled to attend. It was a humbling sight.


An even more humbling sight took place a few moments later as we all witnessed Josh enter the crowd carrying his son's tiny casket. Tears streamed down our cheeks at the sight. It seemed like something no father should ever have to do. Josh had always imagined he'd be carrying Mac in his arms to a baseball game, but never to a grave. He gently placed Mac's casket down and then found his place next to Cali.

It was a touching sight to watch Josh wrap his arm around Cali and tenderly wipe tears from her face throughout the service. They never imagined they would be attending a funeral for the child they had waited so lovingly for.


The service was beautiful and inspiring. Josh's brother Zack offered the opening prayer. The prayer was followed by Josh and Cali's bishop speaking and offering very comforting words to them and everyone present. Then Josh's brother Jake read the story/poem he wrote (you can view it on the sidebar). The poem was followed by Josh's brother Isaac speaking and making all of us laugh and cry. Then Cali's sister TJ beautifully sang the hymn "Be Still My Soul." TJ's song was followed by Josh humbly dedicating his sons grave, after which we all joined in singing "Families Can Be Together Forever." The service ended with the stunning release of hundreds of balloons and then Cali's brother Colby offered the closing prayer.

Tears flowed freely down everyone's cheeks throughout the service as we were brought to remember the atonement of our Savior and how He has made it possible for us to be resurrected and reunited again as eternal families. We were reminded how Mac had personally touched each of our hearts and how he had changed each of us for the better.

Although sad that we will never get to see Mac grow and develop upon this earth, we feel a deep gratitude for the opportunity to experience the things we have. Through this experience we've learned that dark times and trials are important. Trials show us the beauty of God's comfort. It's through the comfort we receive from God during our difficult times that we learn how to comfort others. Sometimes the process of growing closer to our Heavenly Father comes along the path of heartache and pain.

We feel peace in the knowledge we have that Mac is in the loving arms of our Savior. We are thankful to our Father in Heaven for this very difficult experience. Through our tears we have learned to draw upon the powers of the atonement. Through our tears we have been encompassed by His peace. Through our tears His brilliance shines brighter.

40 comments:

April said...

Wow. The tears are flowing again....Erin, you did an amazing job with this tribute to your nephew. The true heroes in this experience have been all of you and your family. You guys have set the bar for what an example we all should be....

Lance, Tiff n Ash said...

Every time I come to little Macs sight, Im overwhelmed with emotion.. As the tears stroll down my cheeks, I am filled with the spirit. It is such a blessing to have the knowledge of knowing where little Mac is, and understanding that he truly is somewhere we would all love to be. Thanks for sharing your precious moments, we love you guys.

kimoore24 said...

You guys are amazing! I am overwhelmed each time I come to this sight. I truly hope that with time your grief will subside. Know that Turreal and I will always be here for you. Know that little Mac has changed so many lives and brought friends and strangers closer together. There is not a night that goes by I don't pray you will be comforted. Please let us know what we can do. I am looking forward to making that blanket for you. It will be neat seeing you, Cali, cuddle up with it at cold baseball games next year so Mac can be there to see his daddy play like he should have been. We love you guys!

TroskeFamily said...

Josh and Cali,
What a beautiful baby Mac is. I haven’t wanted to comment for fear of being intrusive. I linked over from the Audrey Caroline blog at the end of last month. I just wanted to let you know how often I prayed for you and your family on the day of Mac’s service and the days since. I sat in that same cemetery in January at the burial of a young man my family loved very much and as I sat remembering his service this song/poem (sung to the tune of "I am a child of God") and the comfort it gave came into my heart. “I am a child of God and He has called me home. My earthly journey’s through but still, I do not walk alone. He leads me, guides me, walks besides me, helps me find the way. He welcomed me with open arms, I live with him today. I am a child of God and I have gone ahead. My earthly life was brief but oh, such peace and love you gave. You loved me, held me, stood beside me and though I cannot stay. You gave me much to help me and I live with Him today. I am a child of God and I will wait for you. Celestial glory shall be ours if I can but endure. I’ll lead you, guide you, walk beside you, help you find the way. I’ll welcome you with open arms, one bright celestial day.” The funeral program I copied this from credits Rick Kelley. Your sweet son has touched my heart, his parents courage has strengthened me.
Thank you.

Jessica said...

Once again beautifuly put Erin. What a great tribute to a perfect angel. The memorial was so amazing that I cannot even describe. The outpouring of love that was felt there that day was overwhelming. My heart still aches for sweet Cali and Josh every day but I picture in my head clearly the day this family is reunited!

On the way home that day, Mick and Macee had alot of questions and what a perfect opportunity it was for us to explain that Josh would play baseball with baby Mac one day (that was a HUGE concern for Mick). We explained to them how hard it would be not to have the knowledge of eternal families. This has been a huge life lesson for our family. We love you guys and pray for you every day!

Sarah said...

I have no idea what you are enduring, but just seeing the pictures of your wonderful little family makes me want to be so much better! You are awe inspiring, and you can tell the spirit is so strong within you. My heart breaks everytime I come here. But I can't stop, just seeing his sweet,tiny, beautiful face gives me peace for some reason. Thanks for sharing your wonderful story. I'll keep praying for you and your wonderful family!

Travis & Kira Evans said...

He looked so beautiful. We wanted to come but had work and Travis had a test. He has touched us and we hope you guys are doing well. Our prayers are with you!

arianne said...

what a beautiful little boy. I love the picture of him he looks so peaceful.

Thank you for sharing this. It seriously reminds me so much of my own sons funeral and the tears that were shed that day as well.

I know I don't know you two personally but I want you to know that you are not alone in your loss. I know there are MANY prayers said for you guys every day. The Lord loves you both so much. he does have a plan for each of us and your son was TOO perfect for this world.

I believe that Heavenly Father and Jesus need EXTRA SPECIAL missionaries in heaven during this time and that is why our children are taken from us prematurly.

May the Lord bless you and your beautiful family!!

Aubree said...

You don't know me but Elder Mitchell is my brother. He told me of your experience with losing Baby Mac. We lost our Baby Mitchell just over a year ago. It was the hardest thing we have ever had to endure. Looking at your pictures brought back such heartbreaking memories of our little boy. It is difficult to even recall the pain we felt, it was so deep and seemingly endless. We just had a beautiful baby girl June 1st and named her Hope. That is the the only thing we had to hold on to after Mitchell. Your strength is amazing. I know the Lord blesses those who are asked to endure such things. Thank you for sharing your story.
Aubree
craigandaubree.blogspot.com

Anonymous said...

You don't know me but I know Cali's mom and have worked with your brother Alex at Willow Canyon. He is such a sweet boy. I am so sorry for your loss. I can't even imagine what your going through. You have a great support group. Embrace them. I have been so touched by this blog. I have been struggling with the church and trying to figure out for myself if is really is true. After reading this blog and seeing how much faith you have about eternal families and the atonement, I realize I am missing out and I really need to figure things out. I have 3 wonderful children and an amazing husband and I want to be with them forever. Your family were the missionaries that I needed. I now know that I need to make some changes so we can be an eternal family. I can never thank you enough for saving me and helping me realize that I can pray to my Heavenly Father and know that even though I can't see him, he is listening, no matter what is happening in my life. You guys are amazing and I think of you often. You have touched more lives than you will ever know. You are true missionaries. Again I am so sorry for your loss.

Heidi said...

I am a complete stranger to you. I gratefully discovered your tribute through another blog. Your experience shared on this blog has inspired me beyond measure. I send my sympathy for your heartache. I am a mother myself and your strength has motivated me to be a better mother, wife and daughter of God. Thank you for sharing. Your son has touch the lives of more people than you will ever know. I know, because I am one of them. Thank you.

Kristen said...

I don't know your family but I just lost my own son a month ago. He lived less than 24 hours due to complications at birth and was actually buried the same day little Mac was. I'm so glad Cali and Josh have the gospel in their lives because I don't know how people make it through something like this without it. Mine and my husband's testimonies have been strengthened because of our experience and we know families are forever. I love the picture you have posted of Christ holding the baby and would love to get a copy for my own home. Can you tell me where you got the picture? Thank you and my thoughts and prayers go out to everyone in your family. There is an eternal plan and a purpose for everything and we have to trust in our loving Heavenly Father to do what is best for us.

Kristen
t4ellie76@hotmail.com

Anonymous said...

When my husband and I lost our first son, we held tightly onto each other. No love will replace that of your child, but it has indeed strengthened our marriage and our bond to each other. Mostly we want to live the way we need to in order to be with our precious angel when we return to our Father. Even in the past weeks as we have quietly followed your story, we have been gently reminded and comforted by our child's spirit. I know he is watching us, just waiting until we fulfill our purpose and come to him.
Thank you for making your blog public, and I know this baby has touched many lives and hope that the hundreds of comments have given you some glimmer of the hundreds of people who this story has touched.

The Weight Family said...

I love you guys, you are amazing. What an example of love and faith. Your story has touched my heart and has left an imprint on me that will stay with me forever. I am so grateful to you for sharing your testimonies of the gospel and your experience of having a little angel bless your lives. may the Lord continue to bless you.
-Jami Weight

Anonymous said...

My you both be blessed and comforted in such a difficult and tender time. Thank you for sharing your sweet and personal experiences with so many strangers who have come across your blog.

May God bless you in abundance!
-R. Betteridge

mrs. r said...

weeping with you.

kassyspainhower said...

I do not know either of you, but I found this blog from another and I am so glad I did. Thank you for making this public. When I lost my angel 5 years ago, I didn't know anyone who had the same loss and it was difficult. All I wanted was to talk to someone who knew. I want to express that you are not alone and your little boy is truly amazing.
May this experience bring the two of you closer and cherish each day you have together.
- Kassy
kassyspainhower@yahoo.com

The Roberts said...

We don't know you, but we have truly been touched by your sweet little angel Mac. The spirit is very strong, unbelievable that Heaven's angels can send such a spirit of love, truth, and assurance that we are eternal. We have been strengthened and touched by the atonement through this blog today. Please know that Heaven reached into our home today. To have a perfect child enter this world and to have felt his spirit as strongly as we have, what a miracle you have shared. We don't know you, but somehow we love you.
The Roberts

Gedge family said...

I don't know you on a personal level but I do know you on a spiritual level. A year and a half ago, I gave birth to our stillborn son, Taylor James. Having gone through all the emotions that you are now experiencing, I can honestly say that it DOES get easier. Time does heal some of the pain, but won't erase the love you have for your little boy. What special spirits that we had a chance to bond with. They had a more important mission. I truly am sorry for your loss and will pray for your family.

Clint Ainsworth said...

This site is truly amazing. I really admire your family's strength. This memorial has deeply touched my heart and will always be something that I will reflect on with reverence.

Best wishes,

Clint Ainsworth

BreeAnn said...

Hello. You do not know me, and I do not know you, but I found this blog in passing and wanted to leave a comment. I lost my first child as well due to an infection in my membranes on July 10, 2007. I was about 24 weeks and three days and everything was fine one day and the next day I woke up with cramping, long story short, by the time i was ambulanced to LDS Hospital and a Dr. saw me I was delivering Easton. He lived for 30 mins and was 1 pound 11 inches long but looked fully developed and perfect. I know the pain of what the family has gone through and I too rely on my faith of knowing I will see my sweet Easton again. My thoughts and prayers are with you all.

Sincerely,
BreeAnn Fankhauser

CarrollFamily said...

Thank you for sharing your precious little angel. I am an angel mommy as well. We lost our baby Candace after 23 wonderful hours with her. I am so amazed at all the wonderful mementos and things you were able to do to remember and make this experience so special, especially for having no warning this was going to happen. Our thoughts are with you as you continue the healing process. Candace would be 18 months now and the healing continues. The hole in my heart will probably never heal until we are reunited again on that wonderful resurrection day. For now we just try and put temporary patches on that hole from day to day. The memories are so sweet and precious, we never want to forget, and I'm sure you feel the same way. You are in our prayers.
Much love, Krista (Candace's Mommy)

The Pollards said...

I cannot tell you how to feel, but I hope that I can add a word of encouragement for the time that will surely pass. Like you my husband and I have lost a child...actually children before they were able to give us significant time on earth. After two miscarriages we were blessed with a healthy preganancy. Around 18 weeks our little Adam came into the world suddently due to a condition called an incompetent cervix. Basically i do not have the normal elasticity that a woman has when pregnant. My cervix just gave out. After only 23 minutes on this earth Adam left the world as quickly as he entered it on December 18th, 2007. We have always considered him an angel to us and hero because without his sacrifice we would not have been able to conceive again without fear. We began quickly after his passing to have our family again and were blessed with twin baby girls. After many weeks of bed rest and 2 surgeries to keep our baby girls in Cayla and Marley came into this world on September 24th and 25th, 2008. They were both able to spend over and hour and a half with us alive and we cannot imagine not having our two new angels join their brother in heaven with our heavenly father. As you may or may not have noticed within 9 months we have lost 3 children and we are not giving up quite yet. Continue to hold onto each other, continue to hold onto the gospel. We can only share our sorrows with others to teach them the lessons that we are all meant to learn. We pray for your strength to continue and please remember that your little baby Mac is hanging out with Adam, Cayla and Marley Pollard up in heaven and we know and feel like they are all teaching and learning together. Please continue to be strong and thank you for sharing your message. Many will embrace it and will learn from it. Love the Pollard Family: Steven, Vanessa, Adam, Cayla and Marley. Families ARE Forever.

Atlanta Mom said...

Simply awe-inspiring. I rarely tear up, but this blog had me sobbing. The raw emotion captured through this loss and it's telling is huge. God bless your family.

Amber
www.atlantappdmom.blogspot.com

The Ward's said...

Josh and Cali,
You don't know me either, but I got your blog from a friend. Thank you for sharing your experience with me. I was so touched and held my kids tighter that night. What a blessing to know that families are forever. You will be in our prayers. Your sweet baby touched my heart as he did many others.

Mandy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mandy said...

Hi My name is Mandy Richards and I grew up with Mac's Uncle Jake (Amanda Turner). This website is beautiful and I attest to the atonement that we are so blessed to know we will be with these angels again. I too, have a stillborn baby girl named Sydney Jeanne and she would be 6 years old right now. I know right now the pain is fresh but please know time will help heal. I have two gorgeous boys right now and it is truly amazing how thin the veil is my youngest is autistic and at age 2 I was driving in the car with him and he was laughing and giggling for no apparent reason and out of the blue he started saying Sydney. I broke into tears. He still will space out and laugh and giggle and I just know it is my Syd playing with his precious spirit. I visit her grave often and find it brings me peace. Please know my heart and prayers are for Cali and Josh and know we will see these amazing spirits again. How lucky are we!

Jenny, the Bloggess said...

Thank you. This helped me heal a bit.

My heart goes out to you and to your family and to this precious baby who touched so many.

tonya said...

I am so very deeply sorry for your loss. I imagine you must miss Mac like crazy. I know that I can't relate to everything you have experienced, but I will be keeping you in my prayers.

rebekah said...

You don't know me. I saw your babies picture on a friends blog. I am a mother of four who is pregnant with my fifth. I have never experienced a loss like this, so I can only imagine what you are going through. My heart broke for you as I sobbed while reading you story and looking at the pictures. I know families are forever and am sure that brings you comfort, but I am sure it doesnt take all the pain and grieg away for what might have been here on earth. I hope your heart can heal and you are now in my prayers.

The Smith Trio said...

Oh my, I came across a link to this and it has hit really close to home as I just had a sister who lost her little boy on June 30, 2009. I had another sister lose her daughter on October 29, 2004. I hope you understand that you are very blessed to be the parents of such a sweet angel that was too pure to come to this earth. You must be very pure to be blessed with such an angel as our my sisters and brother in laws and my niece (Angel Kate) and nephew (Sweet Caleb) are. The tears are flowing...

Anonymous said...

I sit here watching you go through this experience and don't even know who you are. But, i have been touched and I have felt the spirit confirming to me that Families are Forever. Through all this pain and sorrow I can't imagine you feel as parents, but there is a sweet peace in your countenances. I know that you believe as I believe. Thank you for displaying grace and faith! May God Bless you with the love of many children in your home in time to come and may He be kind to you and let the spirit of this sweet baby be in your hearts and home as often as you need! Much love and prayers and admiration to you both...what a remarkable family you have! God speed!

Naria & Ken said...

I just happened across this site while searching for ways to update my own blog. We went through a similar loss at 21 weeks on October 6, 2009 although we can't imagine comparing devastation. Many of what was posted here was and is very similar to what we have been going through and thank you for sharing your story. Your words give us comfort and you're in our prayers.

Anonymous said...

This is just precious, we like you lost our precious little boy. I'm so sorry for your loss, it is so so very hard. Your baby is beautiful, your little family is beautiful, it is so clear you son is so very loved. The road of grief and healing is hard, and very lonely at time, but may you feel God's loving arms wrapped around you, and carring you through this valley of grief. Time does heal and hopefully down the road God will bless you with another precious little one.

sara said...

I'm so sorry for your loss. My tears and prayers go out to you. Before I was born, my parents had a daughter who passed away in her sleep at 3 months old. Growing up I've been told many stories and have seen their pain, and only could imagine. Reading your story and your pictures, I found peace. I could put a story together with images and how a family grieves for a baby. I send you my thoughts and prayers for you to carry on and share with the world your story. Thank you for letting us in.

Natalie Underwood said...

Was thinking about you guys tonight and came here to see little Mac (and shed a few more tears). He is a sweet little angel that will forever be in my heart. I hope you are doing well!
Love-
Natalie

Cathleen said...

Mac you are such a beautiful baby! You have two buddies there with you, my son max 12/3/10 & my nephew karl 11/13/10. I feel your mommy and daddys pain mac, it hurts so much to see you little guys go, I will never understand why you, max and karl had to go. Rest in peace my handsome prince's. I love and miss u so much max.

Anonymous said...

That was Amazing however very sad to Read i cried reading this but it was amazing to read Thank you from Newzealand

Anonymous said...

We have all lost, but not all of us bring forth such hope in a loss, thank you for sharing. Your family is beautiful and your faith is firm. I have had the opportunity to be acquainted with you and I am forever grateful, you help illustrate hope for us all.

Maurina Brown said...

Thank you so much for sharing your beautiful testimony of our Savior's plan. I wanted you to know that your precious son is still having a huge impact on those blessed by your sharing his life and the love of his wonderful. eternal family.