Thursday, May 21, 2015

When a gift comes in the most unusual form

It is hard to believe that May 25, 2015 would have been Chad's 27th birthday (Tebo is getting old)!

I wasn't even sure what I would have to say this year as I've just been at a loss for words with expressing how much I miss him and how much I long to just sit down and catch up with him, but just when you feel you can't express yourself something happens to change all that.

This year I'm the one that actually received a gift for his birthday via Tia.  I had her permission to share this and for that I'm grateful. 

Tia had a dream Tuesday, May 19th and Chad was in it.  I can't do it justice so I will literally quote her so I am certain not to miss a thing.  It is quite possibly the most amazing gift I've had and I wonder if I will ever be able to express to her enough just how much it meant to me.

Tia's dream & my gift

Ok, strange setting, but I was at my church with a couple people from the congregation.  In walks you and dad.  Dad proceeded to tell us that our pastor had passed away.  He tears up, which of course makes me and you tear up.  So you and dad are sitting at a table near a door.  Dad is sitting at the edge of the table talking to people as they walk by and  you were sitting just behind him.  There is no one behind you guys.  I get up to walk over to ya'll and when I look in your direction, I see Chad sitting behind you.  You saw my eyes stare and you turned and saw him too.  He smiled, then he was gone.  Me and you begin to cry hysterically and people thought we had gone crazy.  No one else had seen him.  I woke up in a cold sweat and crying.
He was... Beautiful.  He was in a white button up Polo shirt.  He was smiling this amazing smile that just made you want to smile and cry and I don't know what else.  He looked exactly how I imagined an angel to look.

As if that wasn't enough, when I asked her if I could use her dream in my blog her response was, "Please do with it whatever you like.  I don't see it as mine.  I think in a way it was meant for you". 

Obviously I was crying and just as I sit and put all this in writing I get chills all over my body and tear up again.  This was truly a wonderful gift and one I will cherish always. 

Thank you Tia for not only loving Chad and myself enough to be used as an instrument to bring me so much joy and peace, but for sharing it with me and allowing me to share it with anyone willing to read or listen to my words. 

I'm blessed beyond measure with my bonus kids and there is never a day they don't cease to amaze me. 

Sunday, May 10, 2015

5th Year...

Today marks the 5th Mother's Day without you.  I've been prone to feel sorry for myself on this day each year, but this year I decided to just talk to you through my blog and tell you what I would if I could.
First, I am so very proud of you and love you so much words just cannot truly express it.  You became the most amazing young man and a wonderful husband and above all that, you were the best son a mom could have.  You have always been the light of my life and I truly do not feel whole without you here, but I'm still blessed if you can believe that.  Here's why (I think you would be proud of them all).

  • Candi, Nathan, (now Lorin), Tia, & Trevor have done a great job of continuing to help me feel like a mom.  On days when I feel less of a mom one of them does something or says something to make me feel like a mom.  I know you would be so proud of them.  One thing I know for sure (yep, I've been reading Paige)... I'm blessed to call them my kids.
  • Your school friends (yes, the NUTS) have been amazing to keep us included in their lives and they are constantly doing something to make me feel like our family just continues to grow.  When they have babies, they include us, when they graduate or have a milestone in their lives, they include us.  Across the street Justin named his baby boy after you.  What I know for sure is these guys are always working to fill your shoes and remind me that I am needed and they love me.  You would be so proud of them.
  • Your Marine brothers go out of their way to check on me and make sure Tebo and I are ok.  They try so hard (and succeed) in making you proud and keeping your memory alive!  They name their babies after you and they truly honor you with that.  They are allowing me to feel like a grand"Ammy" every bit as much as Candi & Nathan do.  They may continue to struggle from time to time, but Chad, they are working so hard not to let that beat them.  One thing I know for sure, you would be so proud of them.  I know you would want them to continue to live a happy and full life and they are trying so hard every day to do just that.
  • Our families do a great job of lifting me up or just listening on hard days.  They remind me that it is ok to be sad and miss you and for that I am so grateful.  All the parents are great about encouragement and just loving on us (you included) to help us through this journey.  Some days are easier than others to allow that to happen and they continue to do it even on the days when I'm not that easy to reach out to.  You would be so proud.
  • Tebo...  What can I say?  He has been amazing.  I cannot imagine having to walk this walk without him by my side.  One thing I know for sure, he is my rock.  He knows when I just need to be quiet and alone and he knows when I need to be pushed to get out of the house and do something.  He puts up with a lot and he has been a stand up man when it might have been easier for him to just walk away.  He has never considered not being here for me and for that I know you would be grateful and proud.  
  • My friends have been so amazing too.  They support me without making it about pity.  They send me sweet notes or just come by to give me a hug.  They do a good job of listening to all my stories about you and letting me share my memories (and there are a lot of those, so thank YOU for that).  I would imagine they sometimes get tired of all that, but they never let me feel that.  One thing I know for sure is these are true friends and I know you would be proud that I have them as much as I am.
You continue to live on with so many people and for that, I am truly grateful.  It makes missing you a tad bit more tolerable and for that I know you would be proud.

I won't lie, there are days I find it quite the challenge to want to get up and face the world.  Some days I merely go through the motions of life and those days it feels like I'm in a fog.  I would imagine those days will never truly end and honestly, I'm not sure I would want them too as it seems that would mean it's easier to miss you.  It will never be easy to miss you nor would I want it to be.  You were the biggest part of me for 22 years.  That doesn't go away just because you are no longer on this earth.

I hope you are dancing in heaven and I hope the angels know how lucky they are to have you.  I play the song "Dancing in the Sky" every time I go to the cemetery and the words couldn't be more perfect.  Since our song was always "I hope you Dance", this just feels like it fits perfectly.  Jorden sent me that song one day and she was spot on with it.  You would be so proud of her.  She is in the last year of college and she is just an amazing young lady.  Timothy is a great husband and working so hard, you would be so proud of him.  Peanut & Scooter are doing really well with home schooling and have turned into some great kiddos.  You would be so proud of them.  Christopher is really growing up and seems so adult and Cole is very much taking after you with skateboarding and bicycle trick riding.  He is so funny.  You would be so proud of them.  Betsy and James (while you didn't know them as well) are some pretty great kids themselves.  They are smart and so well behaved.  You would be so proud of them.  Kayla & Caleb are such good kids.  They are in high school now and will be driving soon.  Kayla is amazing at soccer and Caleb is all about hiking.  You would be so proud of them.

BoBo is still doing great and not slowing down a bit.  He is still the same BoBo with a little hole in his heart too, but he keeps on keeping on.  You would be proud of him.  Nana continues to take good care of him and loves him through all his craziness....  :)  You would be proud of her.  
Granny struggles with Alzheimer's, but she keeps putting one foot in front of the other each day even when she doesn't feel like it.  You would be so proud of her.  I know they all miss you very much.  We talk about you all the time.  I know, that shocks you not.  

Son, I could talk to you forever.  I used to never get tired of our chats (in fact would have been thrilled to have had tons more).  I look back with great fondness and pride when I think about our date nights and the fact that you just obliged your mom with that time and never complained.  I'm not sure you will ever truly know what that time meant to me.  I cherished them then and I cherish them now.  You truly are my sunshine and will forever be missed tremendously (more than words can express).  

I love you and will continue to do my best to make you proud.   Love, your momma bear...

Sunday, May 3, 2015

More than a Marine. Remembering my Chad

As Chad's "what would be" 27th birthday quickly approaches it is very difficult not to reminisce.  To most of the world he is a Fallen Marine/Hero, but he was so much more.  He was an amazing son.  I know most all parents say that and they believe it, I truly believe it as he could have been a really troubled kid and given me so much grief growing up.  Most of his life he was raised strictly by me, a single mom.  Even when I was married, it was me and Chad.  It was really ok for me though.  As long as I had him, we felt we could do anything.  He rarely complained about our struggles.  Most of his friends wore the latest styles and named brands or had parents that could buy their vehicles and pay their car insurance and cell phone bills.  Chad didn't have that luxury, but if I had it to do over I would still want him to know what it's like to work hard for what you want and take pride in knowing it was something he did work for.  Don't get me wrong, there were many nights I would cry and pray that I could do for him like some of his other friends had, but in the end, I believe that made him the man he was.  Did he want those things and ask for them from time to time?  Of course he did.  He was still a kid and wanted to be like his friends, but he never made me feel bad or blame me for not being able to provide those things to him.  I'm so grateful for that.
He was a good friend.  He kept the same friends he had in school to the very end and I love that about those kids (well, young adults now).  They continue to love him and remember him and us all the time.
He was loyal and you always knew he would be there for you.  When he loved you and took you in as his friend or family, he would stick by you no matter what.  Now, don't cross him or hurt him more than once, because he would have a difficult time letting that go and trusting again, but most times, he would forget and move on.  He was just that kind of person.
He was a great grandson.  He worried about his grandparents all the time and wanted to make sure they were ok.  He had an especially close bond with his BoBo and any time he was out in the field training or on deployment, he was always quick to remind me to make sure BoBo was ok and there when he got home.  I did that and with Chad calling the shots like that it made it a little easier to convince daddy to go to the doctor when something was wrong.  Sorry, buddy, I used you a lot to make sure he went to the doctor and follow the doctor's orders.  I knew you wouldn't mind.
He was a great cousin.  He loved kids and especially his family.  He had a special way of making kids feel comfortable and loved.  He was always great with the younger ones that may have had some challenges.  I remember how great he was with his Autistic cousin and just loved him and I believe made him feel special when they were together.  He would sit by his cousin's side when she was so sick and he stepped in and loved her sister when her time on this earth was done.  He always wanted to make sure Jorden was ok.  I love all that about him.  When he would get together with his cousins he would always have the best time and always had a smile on his face.  He was truly a good kid.
He was always very protective of those he loved.  He would do anything to make sure they were safe.  I suppose the Marine Corps fit that skill very well.
He was a wonderful husband.  I never knew he would know how to be such a great husband, but he did and he loved her with all his heart.  I'm so grateful that I got to see him fall in love and get married.  There are many parents out there that do not get that opportunity in life, and I feel blessed to have had that in my life and share it with him and our loved ones.  It is a memory I will cherish forever.
He was so kind and had such an amazing heart.  If he knew someone was hurting he would have a way of talking to them to make them feel better.  I don't know how he learned to do that, but he did it very well.
It's hard to imagine that he would have been 27 years old this month.  I do wonder what type of job he would have and where he would be living and if he would have children by now.  As a parent I can't imagine how you couldn't wonder those things.  If he had been a daddy in his life, I know he would have been one amazing father.  There are lots of days when I long to know that chapter of his life, but I also know, it wasn't meant to be.
He was a fine U.S. Marine!  He took his position very seriously and he loved his brothers serving with him.  He had every chance not to deploy again, but the one thing he would say over and over is he couldn't live with himself if anything were to happen to one of his guys.  He felt that loyalty and dedication to them and I wouldn't have him any other way.
He continues to amaze me even after his time on this earth was over.  I learn all the time how kind he was from others and I see the love others have for him continuing even after 4 1/12 years since he has walked this earth.  That makes me so proud it's hard to capture with words.
If Chad were here right now I would wrap my arms around him and tell him how much I love him and how very proud I am of the man he is.  I couldn't be more proud to call him my son.  If heaven wasn't so far away, I would go there right now and tell him that and just love on him.  Then I would want to just sit and catch up.  I have always loved to just soak up anything he wanted to talk to me about.  Most that know him know he was a man of few words, but when he had something to say, he would say it.  I loved our talks and even our quiet times.  It might be chatting over dinner and watching 7th Heaven or it might just be me watching him sleep in the craziest positions known to man.  Regardless what it was, I could never get enough of just having him in my presence.  I sure miss those days and I especially miss the daily phone calls and text messages.
Until we are reunited, son, I will love you and honor you in every way I know how.  You are truly loved and missed deeply.  Love, Momma Bear.  A few memories that you are welcome to share with me.,POS,PSP,REP,PMB,JWL,GEN,PL2,HMB,MMB,HRS,PO2,CAL,CR2,DMB,PRE,CBG,PC4,SLM/s_st=RegReqEu#state=%7B%22pl%22%3A%7B%22uc%22%3A2%2C%22aid%22%3A%2214591800007%22%2C%22vp%22%3A%22g%22%2C%22sb%22%3A5%7D%2C%22ovm%22%3A%7B%22v%22%3A%22s%22%7D%7D

2/1 Echo Co

Iraq 2009

With RoRo in Iraq 2009

Bangor Maine heading to Iraq 2009

Iraq 2009 photo by RoRo

Afghanistan 2010

Bridgeport, CA cold weather training 2010 
California leaving for Afghanistan 2010

Marines playing some football 

With BoBo - his 1st Easter 1989

Easter at Granny's in NC

Easter with Jessica

Easter at Grandmother Croft's 1989 
Easter morning at home

with Zach before the wedding 2009

Wedding Day 9-18-09

Our Family 9-18-09

Wedding Day 9-18-09 (& Trevor's birthday)

with his Best Man - BoBo 9-18-09

with all the "Nuts" & some.  He loved these guys 9-18-09

Most fun picture... 

My precious son 2009.  Always My Heart, Always My Hero, Now My Angel