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Hi everyone. So we're basically one week away from Lauren's Celebration of Life. In the midst of this difficult time I find myself encouraged greatly by all of the support and prayers. I don't think I'll ever be able to express my thankfulness enough, but I hope to be able to at least somewhat do that on the 21st.
Once again, the Celebration is from 2-4 PM on Saturday the 21st of June. It will be held at Westside | A Jesus Church (formerly Solid Rock), which is located at 10500 SW Nimbus Avenue Portland (Tigard), Oregon 97223.
I am going to be laying quite low this next week so this will be my final update before the 21st. Here are some important details:
- Refreshments will be provided around 4 PM (immediately following the Celebration) in the lobby.
- There will be signs out on the intersection of Scholl's Ferry and Nimbus pointing you toward our church. It's in the back of an office park in what looks like a big warehouse. Parking is throughout the entire office park and any spots which aren't available will be clearly marked. Fair warning, if we get the amount of people we're hoping for, you may have to park a little ways away and walk up. It will be worth it though, I promise.
- We will be recording the entire Celebration and posting it online after the fact so that anyone unable to attend can still share in it. I completely understand there are lots of circumstances keeping some folks away. Please try to attend if you can. There is a ton that God has in store for that day.
- I won't be having an open mic sharing time during the Celebration itself. I would like to, but we are expecting so many people that it runs the risk of going long. That said, both before and after the Celebration there will be blank cards and a video camera set up in the lobby of the church for you to write down or record memories. My goal is to get a ton of recordings compiled and post them online for you all to enjoy.
- I tried everything in my power to be able to provide childcare for any and all attending the Celebration, but after much effort we just couldn't make it happen. Kiddos are certainly more than welcome though!
I think that's it. Thank you all for your prayers and please keep them coming.
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Hey gang. As many of you are aware, I've been keeping my online presence to a minimum as of late and will continue to. However, tonight I finally felt comfortable and had a few spare moments to sit down and scan this page. I obviously don't have time to read every comment and post, but what I have read has been tremendously encouraging. I continue to be humbled by the outpouring of love, prayers, and support on the part of everyone who knows our family - specifically, the donation website. I will never be able to adequately express my thanks for everyone's financial contributions. I will do my best to be a good steward of those resources.
As of this moment, I am still in Central Oregon taking care of a few things and will be Portland-bound soon. As far as a personal update, I certainly have my moments of breakdown and despair, but I have definitely felt the Lord's presence flowing through and strengthening me leading up to and since Lauren's passing (which still feels unreal to say).
The kids are also doing well and are a constant source of strength and joy. Good grief, am I thankful for them. As far as further updates, I'll shoot straight with you, don't expect to see or hear much about us personally for a while. I feel it's important for us to maintain what privacy and normalcy we can. That doesn't mean I'm not desperately thankful to everyone, but it's time to start considering what is most important for our little family unit. That said, please don't be offended if I don't return every comment, message, and friend request. There are just more of them that I have time for right now.
Really the only other thing I want to say is that I would dearly love to see as many people as possible attend Lauren's Celebration of Life on Saturday, June 21st. We are holding it from 2 - 4 PM at Westside | A Jesus Church (formerly Solid Rock), which is located at 10500 SW Nimbus Avenue Bldg T, Portland, (Tigard), Oregon 97223. Attire is whatever you deem appropriate for a gathering such as this and there will be refreshments immediately following. We are also working on having childcare available. I personally have some things I would like to say and I would hate for you to miss it. While this situation has been horrible in many ways, I'm finding myself eager to get on to the celebration portion because Lord knows Lauren is an easy person to celebrate.
That's all for now. See you in a few weeks.
From Lauren's husband Jayson:Share This Update!
As of Thursday morning Lauren’s brain unfortunately was not going in the direction we would have liked. On Tuesday, I made the decision to give her nutrition to see how it might help her body. Unfortunately, we found that Lauren’s injury was just too great for even nutrition to help. Her most recent CT Scan still showed no brain activity, only this time that the brain swelling was increasing. These were not good signs. We sat down with Lauren’s care team and were faced with two choices. The first would be to have the doctors and nurses continue to treat Lauren similar to how they have been since Saturday, only move her to a long term care facility and insert a permanent feeding tube. The second choice — as you might guess — would be to take her off of the equipment and allow her to pass as peacefully as possible.
With a heavy heart, I withdrew into solitude to seek guidance from the Lord. Thankfully, He brought me a peace which surpassed all understanding. I had a revelation which can only be appropriately described in a personal interaction, but suffice it to say that I started thinking about my girl and the type of life she would want me to live. In short, I just couldn’t reconcile having half (if not more) of my heart dwelling in some hospital room somewhere for who knows how long when I have two little ones I need to take care of and live life with. They need their Dad and with a long haul of no guaranteed recovery for Lauren, we would not have been able to live that life the way Lauren would want us to.
After my time of solitude was over, I arrived back at the hospital and informed our family that my decision was to take Lauren off of the equipment and allow her to be at ultimate peace and rest.
In the event of her death, Lauren’s wish was to be an organ donor, which I wanted to honor and which meant we would need to say our goodbyes in an operating room. In the event that, once removed from her breathing machine, she passed within two hours it meant she would be able to donate the maximum amount of anatomy possible. I personally escorted her to the operating room and then joined the family in the waiting room while we waited until she was ready. Once that happened, we scrubbed up and made the trek to her. We had the privilege of surrounding Lauren, holding her hands, and kissing her as she drew her last breaths. They removed her breathing tube and within just a few minutes, at 10:37 PM on Thursday May 29, our dear, sweet, beloved Lauren went home to be with Jesus. As we stood there praying that it would not last long and that she would go quickly, I had a vision of a warm beach at sunrise. I saw Lauren wearing a sea foam green skirt and a grey hoodie with a white flower in her ear. She was walking toward Jesus as he stood with His feet in the water waiting for her.
I cannot express how much I am humbled by the support shown to our family in the last five days. It truly has been a miracle. Make no mistake, this is a crappy situation any way you slice it, but that does not mean that God isn’t already using it for mighty things.
The Berray and Shultz families love each and every one of you and thank you from the bottom of our hearts. Tomorrow looks pretty uncertain in this moment, but we are so grateful we don’t have to walk through this alone. We have suffered a huge blow, but God remains good and faithful. When evil befalls us the way it has, He chooses to show up, to comfort, and to find a way to make good come from an otherwise destructive situation.
Please pray for rest and whatever normalcy Liam, Evelyn, and I can get in the coming days. Love to you all.