Hello everyone. How are you holding up? (I know what you’re thinking, isn’t that supposed to be your line to us?)
You might also be asking, how are we even remotely able to speak to you right now? And I have two answers:
1) By the sheer strength and power of our almighty God who called us to it, so we answer, knowing that he will provide the courage and the words we need to do so.
And 2) this is also pre-recorded for a reason.
Our hearts go out to each and everyone of you and we’ve been praying so hard – over every single person’s soul who knows Archie’s story and has been touched by it – that this will not shake your faith.
“I keep my eyes always on the Lord. With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken.” Psalms 16:8 NIV
Of course, you are probably feeling all the feels and a million different emotions, and in case you need to hear it, it’s okay to process or feel however or whatever you need to. Feeling angry and confused doesn’t mean you don’t love God; feeling lost doesn’t mean you’ve lost faith in Him; feeling sad or even crying doesn’t mean you are weak. Your thoughts and your feelings do not define you. Your feelings are but clouds in the sky, passing through. Your identity is in Christ. However, experiencing and even embracing these feelings is crucial to all of us getting through this together.
Obviously, this is hard for anyone to go through but we think it’s actually harder for you all. I say that because Meagan and I (and Bruce) didn’t just hear about this amazing story, we witnessed it up close. We were (and still are) instruments in the symphony of God’s will, crescendoing with the magnitude of His love and mercy.
Or for you sports fans: we were in the huddle when God was calling the plays. We executed the game plan perfectly. And many of you were on the sideline, part of the team. The rest of you were in the stands, cheering us on and loving us every step of the way. And in the end God remains victorious.
You can’t avoid being changed after experiencing that firsthand, which is why we felt led to share a small fraction of what we learned to hopefully lend as comfort.
One thing Archie’s story has taught us is how to really exercise our “Faith Muscle”. When we first found out about his special heart, we had a two week period where we knew there was, “a problem” and that was it. It would’ve been so easy to drown in the “What Ifs” but I felt God say to us, there’s another way to do this. “Step out of the boat in faith, my child, walk on the water to me and know this journey will not be easy but I will walk it with you.”
As long as we kept our eyes on the “What Is” (the Truth, that is Jesus) then we wouldn’t have to drown in the “What Ifs”. The only way to keep from looking down was to hold on to God’s Truth (which we found in His living and breathing word and in worship songs, through which He had spoken).
We had front row seats to watch God move mountain after mountain with this kid. Together, they were nothing but Victorious. So please know, without a doubt, God did not lose this War. He won, He won with Archie.
God sees more than we could ever comprehend, he sees the bigger picture. His ways are higher than our ways. There was something he saw, something he knew (that we may never know about). And I don’t want to know because I fully believe that God saved Archie. And I hold onto that truth, that there was something harmful down the road and He saved him. And for that I’m oddly grateful.
God is good! God is only good. There is evil in this world that seeks to steal, kill and destroy. Please please please do not let Satan steal or destroy your faith in God. I pray that he guards your heart and minds in Christ Jesus. This is not the end. This world is not our home.
So please hear me when I say, Do Not for a second let Satan twist the narrative of God’s perfect and beautiful love story into a negative narrative. I repeat: Do Not for a second let Satan “win” and manipulate God’s perfect and beautiful story of Archie into anything but Good.
We love you all. We feel your love and your grief. But when you think of Archie, just always think “JOY”!
Archie Glen Draper was so thrilled to live that he could not wait to enter this world. So he decided to come nearly one month early on May 27, 2020. “Due dates were for average kiddos,” he thought. At that point Meagan and Preston had no doubt they had quite the kid on their hands.
But these parents were more than up for the challenge, and Archie was enamored with them too. His eyes would light up when he heard their voices near his crib or felt their warmth when they held him close. A smile would slide across his lips as he knew they would always be by his side. Dad was big, strong, and comforting. He would protect Archie, play with Archie, and soothe Archie with his tenor notes of “What a Wonderful World”. And Mom was snuggly, brave, and fun. She would always read to Archie, laugh at silly things, and calm Archie’s nerves. “They are pretty good at this parent thing. This is a perfect life, minus these cords of the NICU,” Archie thought. “And nothing could be better than my parents.” And he was right…mostly.
When Meagan and Preston took Archie home from the hospital after a two month stay, he found there was one more to his family than Bobi (mom) and Nonny (dad). There was Big Brother Bruce. Bubba was better than a superhero! He was the best walking partner and stroller buddy. He loved bubbles nearly as much as Archie. And Bruce was the best protector – no villain would dare cross Bruce the Mighty. “There is no brother better for me than him,” Archie thought. And he was right. “These are ALL my people, and they are the greatest!” Which of course was true…mostly.
One day Archie was held by new arms and greeted by new faces. Whose could they be? Bobi told him, “These are your grandparents.” You’ll sing songs with Mawmaw Kathy. “Jesus Loves Me” and “Ba Ba Black Sheep” are some of the best. With Papa Perry you will play catch. Oh! So many balls! You will roll the balls, throw the balls, and fling the balls. Nonny said you’ll read through the world with Grammy Patti. The books will be endless and her lap will be soft. And you’ll get to play more catch with Pop Pop Ambrose since there can never be enough balls in your life. And since his grandparents came in pairs, their names became ever connected. Archie would greet them “GrammyPopPop!” and “MamawPapa!” And his parents were right; his grandparents were amazing. Archie loved his grandparents so much! If only he had known this level of spoiling existed, then he would have come three months early rather than just the one! Archie felt there couldn’t possibly be more love than this in the world. And Archie was right…mostly.
Until he discovered AntMan (Amanda), Uncle Dustin, Aunt Amy, and Uncle Josh-Josh. Archie thought they were more than just incredible. And he began to wonder if there might still be more. And there were: Cousins Dylan, Parker, Ben, and Jon. Now cousins were a whole new level of fun! Archie had also heard of Great Grandmas Dona and Mary. He knew that they would be just as lovely whenever they met.
His life was truly wonderful and full! Archie knew this was the life he had always dreamed might be. It would be full of trains and sounds that only little boys can master. He would watch fish from the Georgia Aquarium and make the best bubble pop pop sounds. He would sit with Preston perfecting the art of the sports broadcast. And when he would be a Grumpy Gus, Meagan would hold him to her heart in the baby carrier as Archie adjusted from dream world to being awake with some extra comfort from his cup of milk and his lovey.
Oh! Archie lived life to the fullest. He would dance in the bubbles as the iridescent spheres flew through the air. He would watch the world blur as he rode on the bike with Nonny. He would light up when their dog “Enji” (Benji) or their cat Batman would come down the hall. “Hey!” Archie would say. He loved talking to the cat. And when Archie would need a break, he would ask for WallE or “Lolli” as he called it. That movie was the best!
And so Archie lived and lived well, especially with Mickey Mouse by his side. And though it was for too short for all involved, Archie Glen was loved perfectly. Of that he had no doubt. And when the end came on June 26, 2022, Meagan and Preston were by Archie’s side just as he always knew they would be.
And for Archie there was no better family. “They loved me, prayed for me, and hugged me just right. They never left my side through all the hard times and all of my fears. They made my load lighter every chance that they got. They were perfect for me,” Archie thought. And they were. And Archie’s life with them was wonderful and perfect too. No mostly about it.
*If you would like to make a donation, the family requests that donations be made to the 22q Family Foundation.