Memorial Service

Nicholas' Memorial Service

Celebration of LifeToday (June 2, 2006) as Nicholas' Memorial Service began, it wonderfully began with sounds that many of us have become so accustomed to…Nicholas' song-of-love playing as Pastor Tom Dabasinskas, our other boys, and mom & dad walked into the sanctuary.

Amazing because the spirit of Nicholas was so alive throughout the Moraga Valley Presbyterian Church. Seemingly-and although we know angelic-enjoying it from the MEMORIAL SERVICE and the bubble procession that followed…to the release of doves and butterflies at the INTERMENT…and with the continual love of hundreds of "people" during the CELEBRATION OF LIFE remembering, sharing, and enjoying the beauty of Nicholas and God's work manifesting in our hearts because of His work in Nicholas.

While there was prayer; several speakers (at two of the three components of today's celebration), three separate soloists performing (one at each celebration component); performance by four beautiful-little harpists; bubbles, doves, and butterflies; Thunder of the Golden State Warriors professional basketball team sharing his and the Warriors' organization's love through the interaction with Thunder during an "open mic" portion of the Celebration of Life component; …it was Nicholas' favorite thing that truly made today amazing. It was…the people!

It was everyone present representing an unbelievable cross section of Nicholas' life. From family, friends, school, hospitals, church, and cross sections of those that have come to know Nicholas by his actions of love that have become word of mouth to so many. Mom & dad realize that it is about Nicholas and God's love for Nicholas and all of us, that IS making Nicholas' journey amazing. We are so proud of our 6-year old boy who continually and vibrantly lives in spirit…teaching us over the past six years, today, and now...forever.

Messages & Speakers
  • Celebration of Life Message
  • Message from Chris Gilbert
  • Message from Nikko's Aunt Kathy
  • Message from Nicholas' Friend KJ
  • Message from Ms. Shirley
  • Message from Marie Andel
  • Message from Dave Nieuwsma
  • Song sung by Linda Freitas
  • Pastor Tom Dabasinskas
  • Concluding the Memorial Service
  • Puzzle piece and bubbles
  • Oakmont Memorial Park
  • Song sung by Sarah Bannwart
  • Poems from Felecia and Stephanie
  • Song sung by Ed Harris
  • Poem read by Gina Baker
  • Message from Don Ellison
  • Message from Reverend Marilyn Corvin
  • Poem from Dr. Gary Dahl
  • Message from Karen Kristovich
  • Nicholas' life long friend, Joey

NicholasNicholas, our sunshine continues to warm our hearts with his strength remaining as a source of strength in so many of us; his energy still serving as the source of energy to drive change; and his enthusiasm, joy, & endless passion for caring about others as the lens we look through cherishing his words, actions, and the flavor of his love.

So as we try to understand why our son, Nicholas, is no longer physically here, we are realizing that his "love" and teaching-through his six years-will never leave us void, although painfully we miss him so dearly. We have always talked and took action toward trusting and believing in God's words…His promise to protect, shield, guide, provide, and love Nicholas.

So as we trust and believe, we are considering God's promise as perfectly performed in the way that God needs Nicholas, His son too. What Nicholas has done and is doing really is God's work as experienced through the testimonies of all of you.

We hurt so much wanting to make sure Nicholas is in a beautifully lit place-warm, comforted, full of joy, and full of love. So as hard as it is missing our little sunshine, we trust and believe that God is delivering His promises to Nicholas and will deliver His promises to us and all of His children as well.

We hope the celebration of Nicholas' life and continued celebration through his legacy-the Nicholas Colby Fund-provides all of us with the sharing of the love of God each of us needs…and provides additional memories as a tribute to Nicholas that will forever live in our hearts and souls.

"You will always have a piece of me…" Nikko

A recap of the June 2, 2006 Celebration of Nicholas' Life can be experienced via the June 2 through June 19, 2006 journal entries under the legacy Journal History.

To Our Friends Who Have Become Family
To our friends who have become family and to our family who are our friends, may you be blessed with the same love and care you've given to Nicholas and to us.

God bless you,

Lamont, Sheila, Chris, Tim, and Matt

Chris Gilbert"I decided to write a letter to my brother…


Hey buddy, daddy must've been right you are the golden child, look at everyone here celebrating you.

Growing up as a single child, I always wanted brothers. I was blessed with two step brothers but I always wanted a baby around and you were the answer, the baby brother I always wanted. The baby that I remember always asking about saying: "When will he talk? When will he walk?" I wanted you to grow up so fast so I could do the things big brothers do with and even sometimes do to their baby brothers.

I remember January 27, 2000 rushing to the hospital for your birth but getting there too late and walking into the room to see you being held by mommy and daddy. I remember swinging you in your swinging chair. I remember your cries…even though I'm still convinced that you faked some of them.

I remember playing endlessly with you, I remember taking your socks off and throwing them across the room…even when it made you mad. I remember cuddling with you and falling asleep with you on the couch. I remember you sleeping in my bed with me…even when you would constantly talk and ask questions instead of going to sleep. And I remember you kicking me in bed those nights too.

I remember mornings when you would wake up early and come into my room, pull the covers off me and wake me up…even though the night before you promised you wouldn't do that. I remember you walking around the house looking at pictures of me, saying and even arguing that they were you.

I remember missing you so much when I was away at college only to come back home and see how much you had grown in the short time I was away. I remember all the phone conversations we had together and I remember our little game when I said "guess what?" and you said right away "I love you!" I remember all of your messages you left me on my cell phone…they're still there.

I remember you sitting and cheering at my basketball games, yelling my name…and getting mad when I didn't turn or look back and respond to you. I remember you running out of daddy's arms and running alongside the team in Santa Cruz as we ran out of the locker room and onto the court. And I remember you being the best halftime show I've ever seen.

I remember November 19, 2004 when I was in Seattle preparing for the first game of my Senior season, not knowing what was going on back home. I remember looking at my phone after the game and seeing that I had at least 10 missed calls from "Dad's Cell," just knowing that something was wrong when I heard his message. I remember "that call" and that was the beginning of all that "Leukemia and Bone Marrow stuff"…even though at the time I didn't exactly know what it really was or what it really meant.

I remember crying on the shoulders of my teammates and coaches that night, wanting to fly home that minute. But I remember daddy telling me he wouldn't let me, telling me to play our last game of the weekend and come see you Sunday when I got back. So I did that and I remember driving to Oakland and buying a Spiderman toy for you on the way.

I remember all the trials and tribulations you encountered along the roller coaster that would become your final ride in "body." I remember the hospitals, I remember The Ronald McDonald House, your Bone Marrow Transplant and through it all…I remember how strong you were and still are.

I remember seeing you and spending our last physical days together during Mother's Day weekend in Denver, at Brent's Place. And I remember May 25, 2006 at 12:47 PM when you left me in body and moved up to a better place in heaven where you'll always be my brother, my friend, my hero, and my angel.

There are so many memories I have of you and I will carry them with me forever; I'll always be your big brother Chrissy. You taught me so much in your 6-plus years and today I see so much of you in me. I'm so proud to say that I'm your big brother. I can picture you now, sitting up in heaven smiling down on all of us saying "Boo! Did I scare you?" or "You wanna piece of me?" And you know what …I do wanna piece of you, a piece that I can hold onto until the day I see you again. When I can pick you up and just give you a big hug and kiss. Through all of these memories, I know we're not remembering your death but actually celebrating your life and I find some comfort in knowing that you're looking down on me-normal again, free of the pain and medicines.

You always were a fast kid and I guess you just made it to the sunshine and to heaven before me. So I'll see you when I get there; I love so you much Nicholas, I'll never forget you.

Love always,
Your big brother Chrissy"

Title: We Should Have Known!

Aunt Cathy1) We Should Have Known - When you, Nikko, were 1st born you had a special purpose. Your 1st gift was to be the bridge for your blended family & community…AND you did that so well with your quick wit, your smile, your energy, and your laughter. From Day 1, with your golden brown afro and sparkling blue eyes--you simply were beyond BEAUTIFUL - both inside and out!

2) We Should Have Known - When you started preparing for school you would master both Spanish and English at the same time. Because for you, working on just ONE thing at a time was not enough.

3) We Should Have Known - When you were1st diagnosed it wouldn't be the typical symptoms and it wouldn't start slow. A simple, my wrist hurts would lead to YOUR parents and doctor taking immediate action based on the smallest symptom AND demand tests that others thought were not necessary.

4) We Should Have Known - Your mission would demonstrate that miracles still occur. You wouldn't have just one perfect Bone Marrow match, But 2 to pick from. You would have 3, not just 1 hospital aggressively join your mission - as well as many doctors you would never meet live take active part in your battle thru email only.

5) We Should Have Known - your fight would include an army of extraordinary people doing extraordinary things! Your parents, their company-AAA, your friends, your family, your medical teams and even strangers doing anything and everything they could - Not because we had to. -Because our hearts demanded it!

6) We Should Have Known - that your journey would not be an easy one-Because your spirit, your strength, your love for life needed to teach us how to rise above every obstacle. Instead of saying why me? You would say, mom and dad I'm sorry you can't go to work today, but I'm glad you're here with me.. This after months of 24-hr/day stay in the hospital where your parents never, I mean NEVER left your side.

7) We Should Have Known - your mom and dad would be our role models - they would be your body & spirit guards-demanding to be taught how to administer your meds from home. They would learn the medical options and complex jargon so they could carefully and meticulously chart for all of us to follow your online journal of pictures, poems and medical stats… We should have known, doctors too would learn from you.

8) We Should Have Known - That even in your last days when the doctors openly above your bed used the dreaded word 'terminal', Your mom and dad would later ask you, what did you hear? Your simple, but angelic response was-I heard that I'm a special kid!"

9) We Should Have Known - you wouldn't hear or get distracted by anything but the positive. Often asking your parents to buy birthday gifts for other patients fighting the same battle. We should have known, you would always, I mean ALLWAYS, think of others first, before you thought of yourself..

10) We Should Have Known - You would fight the hard fight to the very end. You would have a website with a record # of hits per day. Strangers, family and friends all wanting, needing to be a part of your journey. To learn from you…

11) We Should Have Known … And NOW we do!!! Your life/ your mission was special!! With YOU we have truly witnessed a rare and precious ANGEL on earth. And Your legacy will live on as a unending gift, a beacon call to action for each of us to follow…We NOW KNOW you have taught us to Live Large, to Love Deeply and to embrace each and every obstacle with a flaming zest for life…

12) As I often wrote in your journal, and I say again now, THANK YOU my little Warrior Angel for your many unending gifts. WE CLEARLY KNOW NOW AND PROMISE TO NEVER FORGET … We will continue your mission …

I will Love You Always and Forever.

KJHi, my name is KJ Estudillo and I am 13-years-old. Thank you, Lamont and Sheila, for allowing me to speak today. I am deeply honored and touched. My heart goes out to you, Chris, Tim and Matt.

I first met Nicholas last June, 2005 at the Ronald McDonald House in Palo Alto. He was in Suite 101 and I was in Suite 102. I kinda knew we were both at Lucile Packard Children's Hospital at the same time, but because we were both bone marrow transplant patients and we were immunosurpressed, I couldn't be out of my room to see the other kids at 2-North.

But after my 36-day stay at the hospital, I met Nicholas when we lived at the Ronald McDonald House. Nicholas would knock on my door every morning…okay, noon and night…my father would answer the door and Nicholas would always, say, "Can KJ come out and play?" We would play video games or watch a DVD. We would play like typical boys…like fake sword fighting, pretending we were in Star Wars, or running up and down the hallways with another bone marrow transplant patient named Jacob (Hi Anne). There was never a bad time for me to play with Nicholas; I could play with him 24 hours a day…okay…when I'm not sleeping or eating.

And how could I even forget the times Sheila would make lunch for Nicholas and me? Thanks, Sheila. Lunches with Nicholas every day made me really feel like we were brothers.

What was really special were the times Nicholas and me would cuddle on the couch at night with our mothers watching a DVD (and he had a huge collection!)…and then breaking at 9 p.m. for our IV drip hydration. Or the times Sheila and my mom would work on a 1000-piece puzzle and then have me and Nicholas put in the final piece.

Who could forget Nicholas with cash money on one hand, his brown doll named "Nicholas" and his favorite clothing on the other hand? Always attached to his t-shirt was a heavy pin holding up his Broviac catheter. Oh yes, did we dread that thing attached to our chest. Well, Nicholas, you finally got that Broviac off of you!

When Nicholas left the Ronald McDonald House, we continued our friendship and I would visit him in Lafayette, …or wherever he was…he was sure to call and tell me.

My father and I had our plane tickets to board a flight to Denver for last Friday, only to have Lamont call us on Wednesday telling us Nicholas was flying back to Stanford.

I last spoke to Nicholas several weeks ago when we were talking about my trip to visit him in Denver, and I was counting down the days with him. I told him I couldn't wait to see him, and the last thing I said to him was "I love you, Nicholas", and he said, "I love you, too." That's how we would always end our phone calls.

Yes, my heart aches for my best little buddy. I am so, so sad he is gone. I can't even believe he passed away. And I was so honored to be in the room last May 25th when Nicholas took his last breath. As I watched his blood pressure on the monitor go down to zero, I held his right hand and I shouted, "Thank you God for sending us a guardian angel."

And that is exactly what Nicholas is to us all…an ANGEL.

What has Nicholas taught us? For only a 6-year-old boy, Nicholas taught the world so much---more than anyone even 10 times his age could teach us. But for me, he taught me several things:

1. Nicholas taught me about strength and courage. Being in middle school, there can be so much pre-teen drama. One of my classmate said, "she hates life and life sucks." I told her I know a 5-year-old boy who is fighting leukemia, what can YOU possibly complain about?! What can I complain about?!

2. Nicholas taught me not to complain. While I was recovering from my bone marrow transplant, I would have to take about 18 pills a day. Some, like cyclosporine were huge elephant-like pills, which smelled like rotten egg, and I had to take about 5 of those a day. Now I was then 12-years-old, so I can swallow pills. But Nicholas couldn't swallow pills then, and either Sheila had to grind up the pills or give them to him in liquid form. And those medicine were nasty tasting! How can I complain if this little kid had more to take in liquid form?!

3. Nicholas taught me about love. As you know, Nicholas was such a happy boy, with his remarks that would make you laugh. Like he would say, "You want a piece of me?" or he would say, "Oh Snap!" or something in a certain crazy accent. He made everybody feel loved and special. Everybody who encountered him felt loved.

4. Nicholas reminded me that life is short. I realized that life is short when I was suddenly diagnosed with Severe Aplastic Anemia and when I received bone marrow from my baby brother, Zachary. Nicholas reminded me that life IS short, to live for the moment and don't worry about tomorrow. We were ready to see each other last week, but he passed away the day before I was to see him.

I also learned from my illness that there is God and God is a healer, and God has bigger plans for us. So, I know God has plans for Nicholas. He is using Nicholas to teach us. He is using Nicholas to teach us about love. He has Nicholas in His loving arms and Nicholas is running up and down the hallways of heaven, playing swords and asking Jesus, "You want a piece of me?"

I love you Nicholas, I will always keep you in my heart. I will never, ever, ever forget you…. because you inspire me.

I love you Lamont and Sheila. Thank you for treating me like a son, and most of all, thank you for sharing Nicholas with us. And finally, thank you God for bringing Nicholas to this world.

Love, KJ

Ms. Shirley"Nicholas Gilbert began his journey to Diablo Valley Montessori in 2002 when his family followed a favorite teacher from a school that was closing in Moraga. Her name was Lani, and Manmeet was one of his teachers there also.

Then he came to Jenny and Lani's class and he was there one year, then to Shirley, Jessica, and Moni's class in 2003-4 until he left us in what I now term unforgettable November. All totaled Nicholas spent almost 480 hours at Diablo Valley Montessori. He came when Sheila could part from him (always late, but now considered heavenly minutes), but I had late quality time with him as mom rarely arrived until 6:00PM or after.

Children left long periods of time are considered typical students, especially in the Montessori framework. After everyone left, our practical life activities included sweeping, turning off lights, putting away snacks and drying dishes. After all chores were done, he liked to watch Bill Cosby's Little Bill-loving Alice the Great Grandmother who had so much respect on that show and laughing our sides out at Elephant, Bills little hamster.

One episode concerned, ironically, a visit to the hospital. Also ironically, this was his favorite. It had a Hip Hop rock that said, "I broke my arm, it hurts so bad, gotta go to hospital" with all the correct gyrating movements of a good Hip Hopper. He loved that song and would parade around the rug (often with me in tow) chanting those words. I haven't watched Little Bill since November 04.

He was an excellent student, once he could stop being social-and was well on his way to solid academic work before his arm hurt. All of his teachers fell in love with him and in our role at Montessori, this is easy to do with each child. From the time a little one, from 3 months to 5 years is admitted, they are welcomed both socially, spiritually and physically.

Early in the Toddler Class he showed unusual friendly welcoming skills. He wanted to know each name of any adult or child coming through the door and would remember it the next time he saw them.

He was a physical child and loved to run and climb, sandbox play, modeling skills, and sit and chat with either the children or teachers. He showed great gross movement skills with kickball and basketball and T-Ball.

As a typical 4 year old, he had his moments-most of them jolly and funny. Take the Popsicle incident. Hearing that Popsicles had been served for a party in Suzette's class, some other mates including brave Ben and Nicholas climbed up on stools, opened the fridge and helped themselves to Popsicles when they were supposed to be simply going pee. Of course, they wore the evidence. Obvious with mouths and lips resembling bright orange and Nicholas was chagrined that he not only had to buy the Popsicles to replace them, but carry them in front of his peers and apologize to Suzette...

One day he had been a bit aggressive with a little girl on a slide. I will never forget as Lamont came, he held Nicholas back from the group to reiterate my request that he never push people down the slide. Lamont had on a brown suit and lovingly had his arm around Nicholas explaining everything. I thought to myself then what special parents Sheila and Lamont were to always support positive attitudes and loving behavior towards others.

He has been my companion, my student, my buddy and my willing listener. As an older person in his life, I have shared more of my life with him as a kid then I have any other child because we have had such alone times-which now I review as extraordinarily precious.

His favorite story involved the Hawaiian state fish and every time we would come to it in the book, he would take the cue and say it- Humuhumu-nukunuku-a pua a. When he went to Hawaii to swim with the dolphins, he went around impressing everyone there with his Hawaiiana store of knowledge, knowing the state bird, mammal, fish, flower. He knew that Queen Lilliokalani wrote Aloha Oe and the circumstances under which she was tested writing that song at Iolani Palace.

At a luau, one of my favorite pictures is Nicholas looking at a petite Tahitian dancer as she is wearing the most amazing coconuts on top. I've seen those before, but never in a coconut.

His favorite friends were Brandon, Amanda, Jessica, Kierra and Teddy. Teddy was his host on nights this past year when he came into his old Montessori classroom and we had night school. He went right back to materials he had used and was open and willing to re-learn ones he had forgotten. He was becoming a perfectionist. If it wasn't right, he would erase it. Joining the other 2 at snack table was bit of what it was like before, and Lamont and Sheila wisely pulled away and just let him enjoy himself.

These children were amongst many who adored and loved Nicholas. Now they will never forget him, as one always remembers going through a first leaving. At our luau on Sunday, we will have a huge picture of Nicholas in Silhouette against a Hawaiian sunset sky. Whether we remember his smile, his fabulous sense of humor and monkey-boy-ness, his lovingness and helpfulness to others, he had it all wrapped up in one.

We were lucky the other school closed and that Lani motivated the family to bring him to us. Those almost 500 hours with us were extraordinary and I now read a cute story:

I wanted to share the story that Sheila told me about her Mothers Night experience a few years back. Sheila overheard a mother shushing her little boy. He seemed to be trying to say something important. Sheila couldn't help overhearing, and breaking out in laughter, when she heard the boy point at Nicholas and say, "Look at him, his mommy is white and his daddy is blue!"-Author unknown."

I now share Lanis thoughts about Nicholas:

"Unforgettable Nicholas-He would ask every person who came through the door what their name was, never had to ask twice and always remembered and greeted them by name everyday.

The teachers at that school would come into my classroom in the morning just to look at and talk to this beautiful, precocious child.

Somehow I know Nicholas is standing beside St. Peter at the gate to Heaven greeting each newcomer, and he already knows their name. Lovingly, Your Teacher-Miss Lani"

MarieMarie is from our employer, AAA of Northern California, Nevada & Utah, and many of you will remember the amazing ways AAA has supported mom & dad along this journey, even now. Like the Golden State Warriors in many regards, it is one thing to say that you are an organization that cares about people, it is another thing to not only show that but also "be that-a caring organization."

"It is quite overwhelming to be here today talking to all of you after hearing those amazing words and seeing Lamont and Sheila's family. Sheila and Lamont's love and faith have been truly inspiring and is evidenced by their beautiful children.

Lamont and I have talked from time to time over the past year and a half. We would talk about Nicholas and his prognosis, how he was feeling and what he was up to. We agreed in the past few months that we needed a miracle. It was pretty obvious to us - that was what was needed. I suspect many of you have been praying for one, too. Well, we got one. True, we may not have got precisely the one we were asking for but we aren't in charge, are we? But we truly got a miracle. At least that is what I call it when a little boy is able to affect so many people in such positive ways. Just look around the room at all these people, at how many lives were touched by Nicholas.

Nicholas reminded us how important it is to treat each moment we have together as a gift. He taught us how families need to pull together when times are tough - he taught us to redefine what families are. He reminded us what is important in life. He reminded us that it is not always the destination that is important but the journey.

It has been quite a journey for Nicholas and I am comforted by the knowledge that he is in a wonderful place now.

Many of you know that Nicholas had recently taken to the phrase "do you want a piece of me?" And we are grateful for the piece of himself that he gave all of us. Thank you, Nicholas.

Lamont and Sheila - I hope you know that you have so many friends who love you very much."


DaveOne might think that Nicholas' story began January 27,2000 (the day he was born) and ended May 25,2006 (the day he passed away.) Is that the end of the story? Is that all there is? Do we close the book? Not exactly! His story began long before January 2000-before the foundation of the world, actually, and continues today. In fact, his story does not end-it is a forever story. It is a story that shows God's omniscience, His omnipotence and omnipresence. It is a story of hope, of joy, and of peace.

God is an omniscient God. He is all-knowing. God knew before he was born that Nicholas would be with us exactly 6 years, 3 months and 28 days. Psalm 139 says, "For you created my inmost being. You knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be."

Before the foundation of time, God knew the exact number of breaths Nicholas would take, every word he would say, how many lives he would touch. Luke 12:7 tells us God knows the number of hairs on our heads. For Nicholas, I'm not sure if that was before or after chemo. Actually, it was before, during AND after his treatment.

God had a plan for Nicholas, as He does for each of us. The Bible tells us, "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." God knew exactly what He wanted to accomplish in Nicholas' life. Nicholas was very efficient-he got the job done in 6 ½ years. It's taking a little longer for the rest of us.

God knew every pain Nicholas felt, every tear that fell from his eyes, every smile that would cross his face. Right now Nicholas is feeling no pain, he is shedding no tears. I am sure he is smiling a lot, though. The Scriptures tell us in Revelation 21:4-"He will wipe away every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away…" He said, "I am making everything new." God can make all things new. He is an omnipotent God-He is all-powerful. He can do anything.

Nicholas liked to play a game-"I've got the power." I wonder how well that's going over with God. Nicholas, you may have the power, but God has ALL the power. Genesis 1:1 says, "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth." The awesome God of the universe, who spoke the world into existence, created Nicholas (with a little help from Lamont & Sheila.) God created the sunshine, he created the rain. He made the oceans, with the dolphins Nicholas loved so much. He made the deserts. God created man in His own image--he made Nicholas like Him. He made you and me like Him, too.

God knows everything, He can do anything and He is everywhere (omnipresent.)

God has promised never to leave us or forsake us (Heb. 13:5.) Many have wondered how Lamont & Sheila have made it through all the ups and downs of the past 18 months. Their hope & peace has been in the Lord. God has & always will be with them & with all who trust Him. He has been with Nicholas throughout the whole journey.

He was there when Nicholas was initially diagnosed with leukemia in November of 2004. He was there in April of 2005 when Nicholas received his bone marrow transplant. God was there when Nicholas relapsed in September 2005. He was there in November 2005 when the doctors reported a partial remission. He was there when Nicholas relapsed in January of this year. He has been with the Gilberts from Children's Hospital in Oakland to Lucille Packard Medical Center at Stanford to Children's Hospital in Denver, Colorado. God has been there the whole time through all the ups and downs, good news and bad news, home to hospital and back again. How have they survived through it all?

Philippians 4 says: "Rejoice in the Lord always. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."

God gives a peace the world cannot understand, joy in the midst of pain and a hope that does not disappoint. His omniscience, omnipotence & omnipresence surround us.

Nicholas' story is not over. His time here on earth has been a preface to eternity-the rest of the story. God makes a promise in his Word. John 3:16 tells us that God loves us so much He sent His one and only Son to die for us. Whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.

Our hope & prayer is that each one here will have the peace that only God can give. There will come a time for each of us to say good-bye to this world & enter eternity. Will you be ready?

I will conclude my words with a hymn (Don't worry-I'm not going to sing it, just read the words…)

"My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus' blood and righteousness; I dare not trust the sweetest frame, but wholly lean on Jesus' name. On Christ the Solid Rock I stand; all other ground is sinking sand; all other ground is sinking sand…"

LindaAfter family and friends spoke, the Memorial Service transitioned into song. Sheila's life-long friend, Linda Freitas (who, at dad's request, actually cut Nicholas' umbilical cord when he was born) sang a song, "Held," that is sung by Natalie Grant.

Two months is too little
They let him go they had no sudden healing
To think that providence would take a child from his mother while she prays is appalling

Who told us we'd be rescued
What has changed, and why should we be saved from nightmares
We're asking why this happens, to us who have died to live it's unfair

This is what it means to be Held
How it feels when the sacred is torn from your life
And you survive
This is what it is to be loved and to know
That the promise was when everything fell we'd be Held

This hand is bitterness we want to taste it,
Let the hatred numb our sorrows
The wise hand opens slowly to lilies of the valley and tomorrow!

This is what it means to be Held
How it feels when the sacred is torn from your life
And you survive
This is what it is to be loved and to know
That the promise was when everything fell we'd be Held

If hope is born of suffering,
If this is only the beginning
Can we not wait for one hour
Watching for our Savior

This is what it means to be Held
How it feels when the sacred is torn from your life
And you survive
This is what it is to be loved and to know
That the promise was-"when everything fell, we'd be Held"

We'd be Held
And this is what it is to be loved and to know
That the promise was when everything fell, we'd be Held

This is what it means to be Held!

Pastor TomSpiritual message was then delivered by our Pastor Tom Dabasinskas, Moraga Valley Presbyterian Church

Memorial ServiceAs we think about our hearts and lives since May 25, 2006, it is God who we lean on (as we did when Nicholas was navigating all the "leukemia and bone marrow stuff") to guide us through each day. It is not easy at all, as the knots in our stomachs are present 24-hours a day. And we think about the different types of "knots"-so to speak that Nicholas was dealing with every day for 552 days.

Our focus was to love and help to protect, guide, and see Nicholas through ensuring that things were being done "for" him and not "to" him. As his mother and father, we imagine, we feel, we trust, and we believe God as our mother/father is loving us in every imaginable and unimaginable way toward seeing us through the gut-wrenching times of our lives associated with the loss of Nicholas. And we are reminded that our loss is not a loss for Nicholas for he has found his place at our Father's side and that is the right place to be. We struggle with balancing our thinking toward this understanding and continually pray, trust, and focus on love in every aspect to better understand and to guide our understanding.

We then talked about conversations we would have with Nicholas, specifically, about always knowing that no matter if we could not see each other, if we could not feel each other, hear each other, or simply were apart, we would know-just know-that each of us would "always" be in the other's heart and each of us would feel safe, comforted, and loved.

Puzzle PieceAs the Video Tribute was concluding the Memorial Service, the last picture was a profile of Nicholas, the one seen on the back of the "program". Remember, Nicholas was always asking, "Do you want a piece of me?" In Nicholas' way at the Memorial Service, he was saying, "You will always have a piece of me…" To that end, everyone leaving the Memorial Service received a puzzle piece of Nicholas (from a puzzle made with the profile image).

In addition to the puzzle piece, everyone received a bottle of bubbles and during the procession to the Interment Service, bubbles were streaming from windows of cars from Moraga Valley Presbyterian Church to the Oakmont Memorial Park.

Internment service where the soaring of Nicholas' spirit was felt as we all experienced:


- A release of butterflies, and
- A release of white doves

Amazing Grace modified and sung, A-Cappella (no instruments)

ButterfliesAmazing Grace! How sweet the sound
That saved a soul like me!
I once was lost, but now am found;
Was blind but now I see.

Through many dangers, toils and snares
I have already come.
'Tis grace hath brought me safe thus far
And grace will lead me home.

Yes, when this heart and flesh shall fail,
And mortal life shall cease,
I shall possess within the veil,
A life of joy and peace.

Amazing grace! How sweet the sound
That saved a soul like me!
I once was lost, but now I know I am found;
He was blind but now Nicholas can see...


CousinsDon't grieve for me, for I'm free,
I am following the path God laid for me.
I took His hand when I heard Him call,
I turned my back and left it all.

I could not stay another day,
To laugh, to love, to work or play.
Tasks left undone must stay that way,
I found that peace at the close of the day.

If my parting has left a void,
Then remember it with remembered joy.
A friendship shred, a laugh, a kiss,
Ah, these things I too will miss.

Be not burdened with time of sorrow,
I wish for you the sunshine of tomorrow.
My life's been full and savored much,
Good friends, good times, a loved one's touch.

Perhaps my time seemed all too brief,
Lift up your heart and share with me,
God wanted me now,
He set me free.

To live in the hearts we leave behind is certainly not to die.

-Read by Felecia (Nicholas' cousin)


Do not stand at my grave and weep,
I am not there,
I do not sleep.

I am a thousand winds that blow,
I am the diamond glints on snow.
I am the sunlight on the ripened grain,
I am the gentle autumn's rain.

When you awaken in a morning hush,
I am the swift uplifting rush of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft stars that shine at night.

Do not stand at my grave and cry,
I am not there,
I did not die.

For everything beautiful that you see,
Will bring everlasting memory of me.

-Read by Stephanie (Nicholas' cousin)

(The version sang is from the original motion picture soundtrack for Fried Green Tomatoes, and originally sung by Aaron Hall.)

Ed HarrisIf I can help as I pass along
If I cheer somebody with a word or song
If I can show somebody he is traveling wrong
Then my living shall not be in vain

If I can do my duty as a good man ought
If I can bring back beauty to world of wrought
If I can spread loves message that the master taught
Then my living shall not be in vain

Then my living shall not be in vain
Then my living shall not be in vain
If I can help somebody as I pass along
Then my living shall not be in vain


GinaI'm in your heart and you're in mine.
We'll be there 'til the end of time.

I'm with you always don't worry so,
It was just time for me to go.

I'm free now and everything is okay,
I can run and jump, and laugh and play.

Swing on the stars that's what I will do,
Or fly to the moon, that will be fun too.

Next, to the beach I must go,
And play with the dolphins that I love so.

The clouds are a fun place to laze about,
I'm free, I'm free, can you hear me shout?!

No worries and no care,
In your dreams you will see me there.

I'm in the stars, I'm on the moon,
I'm flying round and around, zoom-zoom.

I'm watching over you from above,
And spreading around my heavenly love.


Don EllisonThere was once a little angel in Heaven who decided to come down to Earth. In order to leave Heaven he had to give up his wings, full well knowing that being bound to Earth's physical laws would be a great weight and a challenge. Nevertheless he went, knowing he would touch many lives with love. This little angel touched many lives with love. He brought sunshine to his family and to many others.

Earth life was a great challenge, and this little angel encountered difficulties along the way, as do all angels who come to Earth, but he soldiered on. He missed being able to fly above the complexities of life. But it was at night, in his sleep, that he once again donned his angel wings and soared above the earthly realm, reveling in the soft breezes only found above the clouds.

One day this little angel was done with his time on Earth. He missed his wings, and his Heavenly Father missed him too. He called him Home again, meeting him at the door of Heaven with his cherished angel wings, which he donned immediately.

Now this little angel dances in the skies above us. He blows us kisses and whispers to us that the sun is still shining above the clouds, and that the stars still faithfully twinkle even when they are blocked from our sight. He is light as a feather now, with no more weights and cares, surrounded only by the all-encompassing love of Heaven.

Our hearts are with you, little angel. Thank you for braving the challenges of Earth to bring love to us, and thank you also for watching over us now. You will always be a reminder to us that our wings are also waiting, and someday we will soar together again, like we did once upon a time before our Earth lives.

It's only a matter of time before we are all together again in the light of a heavenly new day. Then there will be no regrets, no tears, only love and happiness, hugs, and heavenly music, times of fellowship and joy, and the spending of all eternity, together once again.



Marilyn CorvinGood Afternoon.
Today has been an opportunity for hundreds of people to give witness to how many lives a child can touch. Some of us were privileged to know Nicholas Colby Gilbert. Others know of him through their friendship with his parents Sheila and Lamont, his brothers, his grandparents, his aunts and uncles. Other people have the sense that they have known Nick because of the generosity of word and witness that his family has made on Nicholas' website. His encounter with leukemia-a journey that lasted about a third of his life-is one what demonstrates enormous courage, resilience, faith, hope and especially love. I don't really like the words: battle and fight-because they imply that there are winners and losers. Nicholas' leukemia was very powerful-that is true-and the cures for it do not yet exist-but Nicholas was a winner-and oh, what a race he ran for us to admire.

As a Chaplain at Lucile Packard Children's Hospital, I have the privilege of meeting families from many faith traditions. It seems to me that a common thread is "relationship". Relationship with a divine presence, which in this place we call God, manifested in God's son Jesus Christ…or relationship with a sense of the universal or the natural world,…or relationship between human beings as the best example of creative life.

Nicholas was "all about relationship". His natural exuberance and winning ways drew people to him under all conditions. Sheila and Lamont had nurtured such a confident, well-loved child that he was totally free to make connections with as many people as he could fit into his world. He never forgot a name and he made each of us believe that our arrival in his room at the hospital was the visit he had been waiting for all day.

When I first met Nicholas in the spring of 2005, he liked to pray. It was part of his family's way of life and we were all optimistic, faithful, and confident. We sent Nicholas out of the hospital to enjoy his summer and thrive. By the fall, his condition had become unstable again and fear sat permanently in the back of the minds and hearts of those close to him. Perhaps even Nicholas sensed that all was not well-for he resisted returning to the hospital a few times. Sheila and Lamont courageously held their cherished hope for their child in one hand while they absorbed more and more sobering news in the other hand. Their "hope" was expressed in little ways-the desire for as much of a normal life as possible. One day, Nicholas asked why he was still getting "time outs" when he was so sick in the hospital. His parent's reply: "because you need to be a thoughtful, kind person." Live as if you'll live forever!

During this time, Nicholas sent me away sometimes when I came in to pray. "No, thanks," he'd say to my inquiry. When I finally figured out that our praying aloud together often caused his mom to cry, I told him we'd take a break-and I'd say my prayers out of the room. I wouldn't ask him anymore "how are you today" and I wouldn't ask his mom questions either. When I honored his rules…I could visit. You see…the chaplain is one of the hospital people you can throw out of your room and not suffer any consequences.

In late November, Lamont told me that Nicholas himself was praying aloud all day long-for healing, for God's presence, for care of his family. Relationship! I asked Nicholas about his prayers and asked if he would be willing to pray for me because I was having a difficult week, meeting some new families. "Sure", he said. And this six-year-old boy enveloped me with words of encouragement, challenge, gratitude and so much love. When I wrote him a note later that day, I told him that I had had a wonderful day with patients and families because I felt God so close to me.

Because we had shared prayers together, Nicholas and I became more comfortable with each other. We didn't have deep, theological conversations. I think he had those with his Mom and Dad, which was more appropriate than with me. He would ask me to pray that he would be healed and be a normal kid.

The healing has occurred, but Nicholas Colby Gilbert was never a "normal" kid-he was extra-ordinary-one of a kind-gifted and joyous. In the Christian tradition, we read a particular passage of scripture at the baptism of children: it is the story of the adults around Jesus trying to discourage the crush of parents bringing their children to be touched by Jesus. "Let the children come to me, do not hinder them; for to such belongs the realm of God. Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the realm of God like a child shall not enter it."

Nicholas understood this "realm" of God. He may have tried to bargain with God for time-just like he tried to bargain for a few more chips with salsa or another shrimp. I don't believe Nicholas had any barriers with God-only relationship. For that, I am truly grateful-and will forever be reminded when I think of Nicholas, that love-love of a child-love LIKE a child-- makes ALL relationships possible.

Dr. Gary Dahl was one of Nicholas' oncologists. Dr. Dahl writes poetry to express the deep feelings associated with his life work. He isn't here today, but asked if I would read his poem for Nicholas. This is a poem of relationship-of connection-of faithful confidence-of a life lived fully.

And I say to you-the Gilberts' friends and family-remember relationship-in Nicholas' style. Stay close to Sheila and Lamont and their boys. Give them your love, your laughter, your "check-in", your home-cooked meals, your prayers, your faith. That is how we will all continue to honor Nicholas.


Gary DahlLying still yet just awake
in quiet anticipation he'd wait
For you to come and say hello
For he would keep a secret trick to show

As a doctor you'd stop by to chat
But he wouldn't let it stop at that
His hands were hiding something new
You'd have to discover what it would do

Would it flutter could it float
Was it a spider or a goat
You'd have to just wait and see
Nick kept it held in secrecy

What's the word that can best describe
A boy who's so brightly alive
Each small achievement a great success
Finally jumping, all of us impressed

An energetic boy you see
Can deal with adversity
Like none of us as yet can know
He shows us the path to go

(read by Reverend Marilyn Corvin):

KarenIt only took a short time of being with Nicholas to realize that this was no ordinary boy. Just looking around and seeing all the friends and family today is evidence of that.

I think I can safely speak for all the 3 children's hospitals - Oakland, Packard and Denver, Nicholas engaged every staff member he came across and captured your heart in record time. He maneuvered through the maze of medical settings with seeming ease.

After getting to know Sheila and Lamont you could see Nick had acquired their charm and warm personalities and more, so much more ...

There's Nick's smile - captivating and playful.

Nick's eyes - a sparkle from heaven. He could look right into your heart with them and in his special Nick-way, he'd open his heart for you to see his.

Nick I'm sure, is known as the head negotiator at each hospital. He debated meds, bedtime, chips, salsa, humus, ... the list is endless.

Nick was a mix of determination, courage, joy and playful youth ... all the time surrounded by the unconditional love of his parents.

I speak for the hundreds of people in his healthcare teams covering 3 major hospitals - it was a privilege and an honor.

Nicholas Colby - you have touched me, I have grown.

I love you.


(Shared as he wrote it, the sweet little friend that he is.)

Joey"Dear Nikko,

Evry body you know is missing you. I miss you to! We wish we could see you. I hope your haveing a great time with my dog April and my grandpas.

If you write back tell me what you been doing. Tell me how April is. Tell me if you made new friends. If you want to see me my street is Citrus Ave. My city is Walnut Creek, California. My house address is...

From Your Friend,

Joey P.S.

Tell April, Joey says hi."