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 

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