Wednesday, November 26, 2014

The Visit

Last night, November 24, 2014, I had my first dream of Chad.  It was simple and short, but the most powerful thing I've ever experienced.  I wasn't sure I was going to even say anything to anyone, but it was just so real and touched me in such a profound way I had to share it.  I told Tebo and I was a bit worried he would think I was crazy(ier), but I should have known this would be how he would respond.  He just simply said, "I think it's great".  What?  That's what flashed through my head for a split second.  You don't think I'm crazy?  That's what was running through my head, but he was absolutely perfect.  I needed that validation I guess to prove to myself that I wasn't crazy. 
Several people had told me that Chad would "visit me" in my dreams, but I never got that.  Others said they had dreams about Chad and I was beginning to think it would never happen to me.  The only thoughts I had in my sleep of Chad were all of the doorbell ringing or what the incident may have been like, but nothing as precious as this.
When I say it was simple, it really was.  I will share that moment with those willing to read this and if no one does, then it will just be for me.  I'm good either way.

Tebo and I were somewhere (not sure where), but we had visitors come over (I don't know who these visitors were), but suddenly Chad appeared and took his jacket off and he was wearing a white t-shirt (I couldn't see the whole t-shirt, but for some reason it felt like it was his favorite TN t-shirt).  He leaned down and hugged me and said "I love you mom".  I said, oh I love you too son and I miss you.  He just kept telling me he loved me and hugging me like he always did when he really needed a hug.  Then he said, "mom, I have to go".  I kept asking him to stay and he would tell me he loved me, but he had to go and just like that it was over. 

When I tell you it felt real, it truly did.  It was as if I could truly feel his arms around me tightly.  It actually reminded me of the hug he gave me when he called me back to the graduation location of his high school graduation and hugged me when he really needed one.  He just held on and I held right back.  I didn't want it to stop and even as I type this I can't stop the flow of tears.  I don't know if the tears are happy or sad, but regardless, they won't stop. 

It will be four (4) years Monday, December 1st, since he left this earth and missing him is physically and emotionally painful.  I don't believe it will ever get easier (as it shouldn't get easy to miss my baby), I believe, for me, I will get better at living in a somewhat fake way of surviving each day.  Some days are easier to do this than others and some days just feel like I am going through the motions of life and at the end of the day not even sure how I did it.  I guess that is just one of the ways the Lord steps in and just handles my day in my place and allows me to be lost in my thoughts of Chad.

If Chad were able to hear me I would speak this little note to him:

Sweet son, thank you for the visit that filled my heart
with a warm and comforting feeling.
You had to go as quickly as you arrived, almost like real life.
It was as hard to let go of that hug from you as it was everyday of your life on earth.
I cherish every moment I had with you and I long for even one more.
I believe that longing will last until we meet again at the gates of heaven.
There isn't a moment when I'm breathing that I'm not missing and loving you.
This world is not the same with you not in it and it's felt without ceasing.
The only comfort I can find in not having you here is that you aren't suffering
and I know you are with our other loved ones that went before you and
that I will see you again one day.  
The knowledge of that is truly what helps me get up each day and put my feet on the floor.
I hope  you are dancing with the angels and hunting, fishing, and playing golf if that is allowed.
Thank you for being the kind of friend that has made it possible for your friends to continue loving
me for you so that it feels like I continue to have a piece of you all around me.
Again, sweet son, thank you for the special hug and the I love yous you gave me Monday night.
I've waited almost four years for that little visit and I will cherish it always.
love, mom


Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Veteran's Day 2014

First things first, to all who have served this country in any military capacity, past and present, THANK YOU!  Thank you for your service and sacrifices you have made and continue to make on our behalf.  Thank you feels so inadequate for how I truly feel in my heart, but those are the only words I know to use to describe it.  Personally, I think every day should be your day.  For me and my family, I know we feel gratitude daily for all you have done and continue to do for us, but on this day, I love that our Nation comes together to honor and thank you formally.
Today is the day to celebrate Veterans.  It is YOUR day and no one else's day.  Now, I say that, but let me clarify one thing.  Those spouses and parents and family members that are supporting our military deserve a huge thanks as well.  It's not easy to sit idly by while your loved ones are in harms way, but you do it (I've done it) and you deserve a huge thank you as well, but today, we should focus on our Veterans.  The ones that have and continue to put their very lives on the line for all of us.  They are doing the job that few are willing to do and for that some take great criticism and that hurts my heart. 
I can't count the times I've heard people say, well, they signed up for it.  They knew what they were getting into (my son included).  Well, yes, they did sign up, but at 18 and 19 years old, I can tell you with all certainty that they didn't truly know what they were signing up for, but they learned very quickly and they had to grow up even faster.  For some, this is their first time away from home and family and that in and of itself is hard, but they push through and they become Marines, Navy Men/Women, Soldiers, Coast Guardsman (I know my terminology isn't accurate, but you get my point), and National Guard.  This is certainly not an easy process these young men and women go through, but they do it and many without complaint.  It really does irritate me when people out there tend to take the fact that "they signed up" for an okay reason for something terrible should happen to them and their families.  If it weren't for these brave young men and women "signing up" there would be a Draft (again).  Then some of those sitting around so eager to make that statement having to serve unwillingly and I have no doubt if they answered their Nation's call, they would do it with pride and honor.  If you have ever been guilty of uttering those words, I would challenge you to stop and think what things would have been like after 9/11 when our country was under attack and we went to war (again) and we didn't have these brave young men and women to "sign up" in our place.  We may have all been on the list to be drafted.  So maybe, just maybe, you could stop and consider that before making that type of statement and better yet, if you hear someone make that statement, you could very nicely remind them of that fact.
I, for one, could not be more proud of the military men and women I know and some I've come to call my "bonus kids".  Some have now returned to civilian life (which is no picnic by the way) and some continue to serve today.  I love each and every one of them and there is nothing I wouldn't do for them.  It is my hope and prayer that each day they know and believe that my family and I love them, support them, and thank them for all they do for us on a daily basis.

God bless each and every one of you!

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Twenty Nine

That's how many days until it has officially been 4 years since Chad left this earth.  Four years!  It still feels like yesterday, but when I started thinking of 4 years I thought, WOW!  The first 4 years of your baby's life tend to go so quickly and before you know you are getting school shots for kindergarten.  It takes 4 years to get through high school.  He would have completed 4 years in the Marine Corps shortly after returning home from Afghanistan.  So really, 4 years seems like nothing, but this 4 years has felt almost like it's been frozen in time.  It's very odd, really.  In some ways it feels like yesterday and in other ways it feels forever.  The only way it feels forever for me is in the fact that it feels like forever since I've seen that crooked smile.  Forever since I've gotten that amazing hug from him.  Forever since I've smelled him (you know, that distinct smell that lets you know your son is in the room).  I miss all of that.  That's how it feels forever.  However, every morning it feels like yesterday that the doorbell rang.  It feels like yesterday when we were thrown into this vortex of craziness that went so fast that once it was all over I had to stop and try to remember what just happened.  There are days now that I have to physically stop and try and remember the details during that craziness.
Twenty nine days and I will be forced to realize that I have managed in some odd way to continue breathing without my sweet boy on this earth.  In some ways that really pisses me off and in other ways I wonder how I've been able to accomplish that.  Some of those days were truly a blur and not really sure how I got from morning until night.  Most days I feel I just go through the motions and once I get home it feels good to just exhale and not fake a smile or fake being glad to be wherever I am at the moment.
Life does go on.  I don't have to like it and I don't even have to want it, but it does.  Today and in 29 days I will miss him just as much as the moment on 12-1-10 when that doorbell rang and I knew I would never get to see him alive on this earth again.  That will never change.  I don't care what people say, it doesn't get easier and you don't miss them less and you don't think of them less.  Others just don't want to discuss it as much, and that is ok.  Everyone has their own ways of getting through the next day and dealing with loss.  For me, I'm not real sure how I deal with any of it or if I even do. I know I don't have a choice and I am extremely blessed with all the bonus kids I have.  I'm lucky enough to have Tia, Trevor, Candi, Nathan, and Lil Miss (Lorin) and all Chad's high school friends that have been so amazing to have just adopted us and all his Marine buddies that continue to take care of us and making sure we are ok.  I have an amazing family and my husband couldn't be more perfect for me.  None of this takes away the pain of not having my Chadman here, but it sure makes it easier to cope day to day.
Until that day when I get to see him again I will continue to miss him, but I will love all my bonus kids to the fullest and their babies as well as my family that continues to help me get through each and every day.
I saw a perfect quote today:  The hardest part wasn't losing you, it was learning to live without you...  I don't know the author, but it speaks volumes.