Happy birthday, buddy.

Today my nephew Braxton is sixteen. He’s most definitely celebrating on the other side. With some green balloons and maybe an airhead or fruit roll-up.  Oh, how we miss him. There’s a special story that I hold dear to my heart about Braxton and my son Maximus. Someday I’ll share it. I know these two were buddies in another realm. Even though Braxton had graduated from earthlife and Max hadn’t started yet, I know that they were together cheering one another on. It’s a special thing to think about. I’m actually pretty jealous about it. On days when I’m Max-ed out as a mom and I’m wondering why I had Max at 41, I think of Braxton, and I thank him for sending me Max. I can’t wait to someday sit around a fire, and hear the story from Braxton’s perspective.

Happy birthday, buddy. We sure love you!

He’s flying.


One year ago on this first Thursday morning in May, I was sitting in a conference room adjacent to Primary Children’s Hospital ICU in SLC. Many of my family members and I had kept an all night vigil just waiting for my nephew Braxton to come back to us. He was unconscious from an accident the day before and we feared the worst.

At about 6 a.m. I was feeling suffocated. I needed to escape and I thought if I could just go outside and see the sun rise then I could glean some energy to face whatever may come. I paced the street in front of the hospital. It was pitch dark. I kept looking over the city wondering where the sun was. I admired the beauty of the downtown lights, especially the SL temple. The temple brought me some peace. But more than anything I was wondering how would life ever move on for our family, but especially my brother’s little family if we lost Braxton?

I heard a little voice. It said, “Turn around Aunt Ali. Look and see.”

And there it was. The sun rises in the East, silly me. I was staring at the most beautiful sunrise I had ever seen. I felt Braxton riding in the rays. I can’t explain in, but I knew that this sunrise belonged to Braxton. He was going to be alright. “The view here is amazing,” he communicated with me through the sun.

I went back inside feeling a greater sense of peace. I felt an urge to play the song on my phone that we had listened to the night before about flying. My spirit was somehow connected to his spirit and I just knew one thing: Braxton was flying. He was o.k. He was aware of us and wanted us to know he was o.k. Moments later they called the red code. He was going. He wouldn’t be allowed to stay. His time was up with the sunset. He loved us. He didn’t want us to be sad because his new adventure was beautiful. Even the best sunrise on earth could not compare to what laid ahead for him.

I found these photos in my computer the other day. Moments like these are tender mercies. I heard Braxton say, “Make sure you show these to my dad. Let him know I am still flying.” What a special special boy. Love you Brax.