The loss of a loved one is felt year-round, but it’s especially poignant during the holidays. Kait Brazel and her sons know that all too well.
Just days before Thanksgiving, Kait loaded her two young boys into the car to make the 1,600-mile drive from Colorado Springs, Colorado, to the outskirts of northern Virginia. They had a special stop to make before the festivities began in Boston.
This was no standard road trip, though.
Kait pulled up to Arlington National Cemetery so her sons, five-year-old Mylan and eight-year-old Mason, could make the first visit to their father’s gravesite.
Earlier this year, Army Staff Sgt. Alfred “Fred” Brazel was diagnosed with stage 4 rectal cancer. He succumbed just five months later at the young age of 37.
Unlike some parents, though, Fred and Kait didn’t shield their young sons from the medical drama unfolding before them. Instead, Mylan and Mason were with Mom and Dad every step of the way, including going to doctor’s appointments. Their parents talked openly and frankly about what the diagnosis meant to their family.
During their visit last month, the two brothers talked to their dad about the highlights of their lives in recent months. They shared how Halloween went and what was going on at school. But possibly most memorable was Mylan’s remark to his mom: “Mylan said he felt like he could feel his daddy, and he wanted to take a nap with him.”
Before they left, Mylan even reached out and hugged his dad’s headstone; Kait captured the raw moment on camera, leaving us wrought with emotion.
After departing from Arlington, the family of three continued on to Boston, making a stop at Niagara Falls — a place Fred had always planned to visit with his sons — before heading home.
It follows along with how the family lived while Fred was alive, and how they hope to continue on, “We never once addressed it as a sad thing… We as a family lived and continue to live life to the fullest in every moment,” Kait says.
May this family’s days moving forward be filled with healing. Share to spread love!