Balloon Release for Kolby


Two weeks ago, the thought of a balloon release had never crossed my mind.   Losing you at 16 hadn’t either.  Now, both of those things are my reality.  A harsh reality, but one that we are all dealing with second by second.

When I told Bryson you were gone, he got mad at me.  He said “I don’t like you anymore if you say that Kolby is dead.”  At 3, he understood more than I ever imagined he would.  After that, I didn’t tell him anything.  You were his buddy and he loved you so.  I shielded him from the hurt we were (and still are) experiencing as best I could.  The first time I cried in front of him, he asked what was the matter.  I had just found out about the accident and didn’t tell him.  The next few times I burst into tears, he would tell me to quit crying.  (Bossy butt.)

Kolby’s mama, my aunt Brandi and Bryson.
She is an amazing and strong woman.

The balloon release gave me a new way to explain your death and where you are now.  Bryson and I talked about it all day.  As I was getting the kids dressed and ready, Bryson said something about how we needed to go to the airport and get on an airplane to bring you the balloons.  I had to explain to him that we couldn’t do that, but that the balloons would make their way to you.  As soon as he spotted your sweet mama, he ran to her and told her we were sending balloons to you!

(This shot took my breath away when I first saw it.)

I would ask Bryson who we were sending  the balloons up to and he would answer “Kolby and Jesus”.   Now, Kolby and Jesus go together in his little mind.  The other night, I was in bed reading my Bible.  Bryson asked about it and I told him I was reading about Jesus.  He said “Oh, and Kolby too, huh?”  That just melted my heart.

On the way home from dinner after the balloon release, I saw a shooting star.  Mom saw the same shooting star, even though we weren’t together.  I know that was a sign letting us know you got the balloons.  A sign that you are happy and okay- with Jesus.

Love and miss you,

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  1. Hugs and love to your family. I hope you are finding peace.

  2. :( so sorry you guys are going through this. But I love that you did the balloon release and that it seems to have been good for all of you. You and your family continue to be in my prayers as you heal from this loss.

  3. sending ((hugs)) to you and your family

  4. I am so sorry for your loss. I love the balloon release idea, I had a friend who recently did something similar for her mom that passed away.

    Hugs for you and your family.

  5. I am so sorry for your loss. I completely understand what you are going through having lost more then a few loved ones. ((hugs)) I will be praying for everyone in your family. Hang in there.

  6. What a sweet way to remember Kolby! Blessings to you during this hard time.

  7. I’m so sorry for your loss. I think the balloon release is fitting and that picture is very poetic. Hugs to you and your family.

  8. Oh I am so sorry.

  9. What a wonderful way to remember him. I am continuing to pray for your heart. For peace and nothing but Gods love to fill your home.

  10. {{Hugs}} I’m sorry for you loss.

  11. I’m so sorry… we lost our oldest at 17, it’s a terrible thing to go through.

  12. I’m so sorry for your and your family’s loss. Hugs

  13. So so sorry for your loss, mama. Thinking about you.

  14. I am so sorry for your loss. What a beautiful ceremony!

  15. Carolyn G says:

    That is such a lovely gesture. (((hugs)))

  16. this is lovely, we do things like this to remember our son, it is touching

  17. Cheryl Hatmaker says:

    That white cloud behind the balloons kind of looks like an angel. If I had known yall were doing this here, all the family could have released balloons here at the same time. We love you all and we would have done that here in TN.

  18. im so sorry for your loss.

  19. Charity L says:

    My thoughts and prayers are with your family. The balloon release was a very creative idea to send your love to Kolby. I am glad to hear he sent a shooting star to you in return. God bless.

  20. This is a beautiful post with beautiful photos.
    I think the way you are dealing with Bryson is wonderful. He will ask more when he wants to and you will know what to say – a little at a time. It is precious that he can be comforted knowing that Kolby is in the arms of Jesus now, you are a terrific mother.
    Know that we are here for you for whatever you need. HUGGLES!

  21. I like the idea of a balloon release. I just got back from my aunties viewing this evening. She was 42. Death is so hard. Thinking of you during this sad time and praying for comfort that only Jesus can give. {hugs}

  22. Oh Whitney! You’ve got me in tears. Bryson is such a sweet little man and he’s growing up to be an amazing little dude, isn’t he? That photo of the balloon release is absolutely breathtaking and I’m sure that Kolby (and Jesus) was looking down in awe and love.

  23. I am so sorry. What a lovely gesture. It’s amazing how much little ones can comprehend and how their view of the world can help us all.

  24. Claire Betzhold says:

    On Friday my family is having a balloon release for my little brother, Alex, who died on January 17, 2012. This story was so amazing. At the end of the prayer vigil for Alex a shooting star flew across the sky, telling my family that he was still here with us in spirit. When i read the part about the shooting star it made me think of him! I hope that your family can feel Kolby’s presence and know that you will one day see Kolby again.


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  2. […] laid to rest the day before my birthday.  One week after his death, Crossville High School held a balloon release in memory of Kolby.  We attended Day Out with Thomas for the second year near the end of the month.  It was a nice […]

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