We don’t consider this a gift most would give on Christmas. But it was one that happened to arrive on Dec 25th—we received our daughter’s grave marker. One year and six days after her death at the hands of a reckless driver.
When we began to search where we could order our stone for Brianna, we were led to Chico Granite and Marble. As they discussed pricing with us and the craftsmanship exhibited by this family run business, we realized why God led us to this company. We realized we were facing a dilemma. We had no funds to purchase a stone, but then another miracle occurred.
A longtime friend, Kevin (who lived in another State) had reconnected with us after 20 years. He shared with his mother about our tragedy, who just happened to live in the same town as we (unbeknownst to us). After the memorial service, Janice (Kevin’s mother) reached out to us with a precious gift—a grave marker.
After returning to Chico Granite and Marble we discussed with them what we wanted and what was dear to us to be etched on the stone. But then another dilemma occurred—the stone was not long enough. We wrestled with what to omit and decided to ponder this for a while. During this time another miracle happened. A person from our community, who heard about Brianna’s story, reached out and blessed us paying for an entire stone of our choice.
But the first stone had a lot of meaning to us for it came from a family who had lost their 18 year old daughter many years ago. After praying about it, since we were torn, a third miracle occurred. In speaking with the Paradise airport (where Brianna flew out of and knew many of the pilots), an idea was birthed to place a memorial stone at the airport in behalf of Brianna. This was to be a similar blessing as the bench which was placed in memory of Brianna at the Oroville Airport where she worked.
After delivering the stone to the granite company that had been given to us, they polished it. We all were amazed at the richness of the black stone in its native luster. Andrew then began to create a totally new stone design since the black stone would be placed at the airport. Presently, a pedestal is being designed by the architect to hold the stone under a beautiful mulberry tree next to a flight training building. We will debut the stone upon completion.
Now, we’d like to share with you how the second stone was created. First, the color and type of stone we decided on had to be shipped from India (US suppliers had run out). You might be thinking, “what’s the big thing, it’s only a stone?” The color meant a lot to us because of Brianna’s visit to the Orient—Japan. Secondly, the font of her name and the writing in the bottom left corner is not only her watermark signature, but it is in Japanese characters, meaning ‘passion’.
Another distinct feature is the mountain, just above the watermark. It is a picture Brianna had taken of Half Dome in Yosemite that Andrew, etched into the stone. Further, the airplane is the type of aircraft Brianna flew over Yosemite on more than one occasion.
We decided to use what has become a famous phrase which Grant, a friend shared with us the Monday after the tragedy—“there are two types of light in the world: the one burns slowly, for a long time; the other burns quickly, but very bright.” The latter being Brianna.
We also placed her famous picture in the top right corner. It is a compelling photo which grips the heart and reminds of one of her most happy times, her graduation.
Lastly, and most importantly is the passage of Scripture. A dear friend, Annette who lost her daughter seven months before Brianna, shared this text with us. It has brought much comfort to us for it is God' promise of reclaiming Brianna from the grave on that glorious morning. Oh how we look forward to it.