Since their son, Lleyton Keith Durrett, died when he was less than a month old on May 24, 2005, Drew and Ashley Durrett, of Jacksonville, have had a hard time taking family portraits.
The couple feels blessed to have since had two children, Braxton, 10, and Daylee Grace, 8, but they feel their family is not complete without Lleyton.
Through their years of grieving, they have found comfort in attending The Children’s Park of Tyler’s Annual Day of Remembrance.
The ceremony, held Saturday, commemorates the lives of children who have passed away. Anyone who has been touched by the loss of a child is welcome to attend.
Over the years, the Durretts have bonded and grieved with others who come to the ceremony, and the park now holds a special place in their hearts.
“It was such a blessing to have had him for 27 days,” Drew said. “When you’re here, you just feel like you’re resting and healing in God’s hands.”
At this year’s ceremony, Lleyton’s name was among the more than 130 names of other children who have died and were honored at the event.
Children’s Park of Tyler Executive Director Jennifer Carson said the event once again gave attendees a safe space to mourn the lives of the children they have lost.
She added that the part of the ceremony where each attendee was able to hear the name of the child they were remembering read aloud was especially important.
“I hope that they would leave encouraged knowing they are not alone in their grief,” she said.
As for the Durretts, this year they arrived at the event early and took a family portrait at the park.
The couple said being at the ceremony and seeing their two other children play is bittersweet, but they have found peace in knowing that one day they will be united as a family.
“Heaven is a very real place…” Mrs. Durrett said. “We look forward to the day when we get to be with him as a family.”