Monday, August 31, 2015

Don't apologize

If you see a picture of my son and want to know anything about him, please know you can ask.  I love talking about him.  He is a huge part, the biggest part, of my life.

I had a situation today where someone saw a picture of Chad on my computer and asked about him, not knowing the story.  When he learned the story, he apologized profusely for asking.  I kept reassuring him it was ok, that I don't ever mind talking about him.  I don't think he believed me, but I tried to tell him anyway.

Something I hope people learn or know about talking to a parent that has lost a child is that we want to talk about our babies.  We love them and we miss them terribly, but you mentioning them or asking about them doesn't make us more sad or miss them more, it's quite honestly the opposite.

Chad was such a huge part of me that I feel odd when I don't talk about him.  If you know me, you probably know Chad.  You also know that the one thing I have loved to talk about the most, is him.

He may not be on this earth any longer, but he is still very much a part of me and who I am.  I identify myself as Chad's mom to most people.  Never speaking about him to others does not make it hurt less, it actually makes my heart more sad.  He was here and he was very important.  Not speaking about him doesn't make that just go away.

You can be assured of this, with me anyway...  If you want to talk to me about Chad or ask me anything about him, I will be happy to talk to you about him.  I love to talk about my son and I'm so proud of him.  Never feel bad for asking me about him if you see a picture or hear anything about him.  It will never upset me to answer questions about him or talk about him.

There are no perfect words to tell a parent who has lost a child so don't try.  I speak for myself, but I don't expect you to have the perfect words.  There are none.  I just expect you to be you and if you have a question or want to share something with me, I welcome that.

Please do not feel sorry for me.  I had more than a lot of people have.  I had a son that was a hero and who made me proud and I had the privilege of watching him get married and be in love.  I had him for 22 years and that is more than some parents get.  So please, do not feel sorry for me.

There are parents out there watching their children struggle and suffer from things they have experienced in combat and come home to continue fighting a war that no one else understands and there is nothing they can do to help their child.  I can't imagine the agony they must feel watching this and not knowing what they can do to help and honestly, they can't help and that has to be a horrible way to live.

I know where my son is.  I know he is guarding the gates of heaven and I will see him again one day... For that, I am grateful.

So if you know someone that has lost a child, know that speaking of that child doesn't not cause them more pain, it most likely is a healing to talk about him/her.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Have you ever wondered?

There has been so much going on in the news and for the most part it's negative, sad, or bad.  There are a few exceptions to that as it is with anything, but what seems to get the most focus is the negative, sad, or bad.

That has had me thinking a little more lately about how that relates to our own lives.  Do I focus too much on the negative, sad, and bad things in life and less time on the positive, happy, and uplifting?  Do I spend as much time encouraging and lifting others up as I do complaining about something or even feeling sorry for myself?

Stop and think about this is you will.  When you are having a conversation either on the phone or in person with someone, are you giving them your complete undivided attention and making them feel like what they have to say is important enough for you to listen?  If you aren't you should know, that has a very negative impact on the receiver's end.  It could be as something as small as they are just checking in with you to say hey or see how you are doing or they need someone to just listen and encourage them and if you aren't interested enough to maybe pause what you are doing at the moment to really listen, what is that telling the person who is trying to have a conversation with you?

I'm sure I've done this and shame on me for that, but I know it's been done to me numerous times and it is frustrating.  There have actually been times when I have called someone because I'm having a moment that I feel like I'm really going to fall apart and before I could even share those feelings I can already see that the other person is so disconnected to what I'm saying that I just choose to let it go and deal with it on my own.  I truly hope I can make sure I don't do that to anyone else.  It sucks to be quite honest.
Here is another thing that I think about often.  What about if you just do not pause for a moment while driving and understand that the person that may have just cut you off or is driving slower than you would like them to is having a really bad day and by not pausing and only reacting, because you happen to be inconvenienced or frustrated, you might just make their already bad day even worse.  Now, if you flip that around and pause a moment to think, WOW, maybe they didn't really see me or I wonder if they even realize how slow they are going and just be polite, can you imagine for a moment that any act of kindness or not reacting negatively at all might just help someone get through a really crappy day.

I can say this with all certainty.  I have never set out in my car with the intention to just piss other drivers off.  I don't intentionally cut someone off or try to drive too slow in the wrong lane.  I make every effort to be a courteous driver, however, when my mind is on Chad or I'm feeling a little sad or blue that day I may not be as observant while driving as I should be (yes, that would probably be a good day not to drive, but unfortunately, we don't always get that privilege to just not go), but I certainly do not do it intentionally.  I would like to think that over all the majority of people are not intentionally trying to piss you off or make your drive more frustrating or difficult for you.

Then I had to stop and think about these two poor journalist that were shot and killed yesterday in Virginia and my heart just breaks.  Those poor families that suddenly lost someone they loved very much and a community was shaken and probably their faith in others shaken up because one person decided he could choose who lived and who did not.  I've read, like most people probably have, the "reasons" for him snapping and doing the awful things he did and I don't buy it.  Stop blaming everyone and everything else for you just being a selfish or terrible person.  That shooting at that church (in my opinion) is not what caused this person to snap.  Whether he is gay or not or regardless the color of his skin, that does not excuse or explain what he did yesterday.  That is ridiculous.  Even in his own death he is wanting to blame others for his life and/or choices he made.  Sorry, but that's just not right.  Those two people he killed and the one he injured had nothing to do with what he "claims" is his reasons behind his actions.  Ridiculous! 
I guess what I'm trying to say is this world is bad enough with all the craziness out there and all the innocent lives being lost far too soon so why not stop and do some little something positive either around others or for someone to make their day, week, month, life a little better or at the very least, less terrible than it might be at the time.  Take time to listen to people, especially the ones you love, and invest just a little time in them and in your relationships. 

Monday, August 24, 2015

One thousand six hundred ninety six

WOW!  I swear it feels like last night some days and other days it feels like forever since I've heard your voice or kissed your forehead.  As of today it has been 1,696 days without you on this earth.  I have to be honest, I hate it just as much today as I did December 1, 2010.  Nothing has changed for me with my heart except the ache gets harder and harder to deal with and the pretending that everything is ok just to make it through a work day gets harder and harder at times.  There are so many days I would just like to stay in the house and see no one outside those walls, but that is not an option for me and I'm not sure it ever will be.  That makes me sad too, because it makes me so emotionally and physically tired to put on the "face" every day and face this world like people expect. 

I miss every little thing about you.  I miss what we were yet to experience with you.  I miss what you could be doing now. 

I would love to see you with your friends' babies and how great you would have been with them.  I have a feeling you would have been able to get baby Hudson to come to you when she won't go to anyone else other than Tyler and Desi most of the time.  She would have loved you, Chad.  You would love to see Bentley and you would love him.  He is the cutest thing ever.  I've not spent much time around Bobby's little Luke, but oh my gosh, his curly hair is just like yours was.  Talk about curly hair, baby Chad's hair is just like yours too!  I haven't gotten to meet him or Riley yet, but one day I will and I can't wait.  RoRo and Zach are such good daddies.  All your buddies with babies are such good daddies.  I knew they all would be, but seeing it just warms my heart and I know you would have enjoyed every minute with them all. 

I know you would have been an amazing father.  I long to know what that would be like to see you with your own child.  I know I can't live life in "what if's", but it's really hard to do that when you were taken far too soon. 

I try to make sense of it on a regular basis and I can't.  Regardless how hard I try to understand that everything happens for a reason, I can find no reason for losing you too soon.  I know it isn't for me to truly understand and obviously I didn't get to weigh in on that decision, but it's really hard not to try and make some sense of it.  I just can't no matter how hard I try, and son, I do try hard.

I don't know how long the Lord will allow me to live on this earth, but I will be counting down the days until I finally get to hold you again and kiss your forehead and tell you how much I love you and how proud I have always been of you.  A mom couldn't ask for a better son.  You were definitely my angel on earth and now in heaven. 

Thursday, August 20, 2015

When all you want to do is scream

I don't know about you or everyone else, but for me, there are just days that all I want to do is scream.  I've had several of those days lately and I can't pin point exactly what is causing that feeling, but I do know that I feel like I need to scream and can't and that in turn makes me want to cry and I can't.  So what in the world do you do when you find yourself in this situation? 

For me, I need some quiet and alone time, but I'm having a hard time even finding that lately.  I pray quietly to myself constantly throughout the day in hopes that at least I can calm myself until I can find a time and place to either scream or cry or both, but lately even that has become hard to do and really believe my own prayer.  I know, that probably sounds crazy and to most Christians I probably just admitted something I shouldn't admit, but it is truly how I feel at this very moment.

I'm sad, hurt, mad, overwhelmed, frustrated, tired, scared, and almost any other feeling or emotion you can conger up.  All those feelings and emotions rolled up into one all at the same time make me feel like I am going to go right outside my mind.

I don't know what you do with all these feelings trying to make their presence known at one time.  I know what I'm doing at this moment isn't helping. 

If I have talked to you or not talked to you or have seemed "off" lately, now you know why.  It doesn't excuse me if I have been short or snippy with you, it just explains that there is a lot going on in my head and heart lately that I cannot control or stop.  I do not like it anymore than anyone else that may be witnessing my actions or reactions with all this going on in the inside, but as a wise man once said, it is what it is right now.  If I could turn it off like a switch, trust me, that switch would have already been turned off.

There really aren't "special" dates with Chad coming up right away, but honestly, my feelings and emotions around missing my son and a huge part of my heart don't necessarily follow the calendar.  They basically are right there at the surface 24/7, but some days I do a better job of keeping those feelings and emotions at bay and other days, well, not so much.  I just happen to be having a couple of weeks feeling like this and it is starting to wear on me in ways I do not like and I don't know how to stop this snowball affect I have going on in my head right now.

I do have "special" dates with Jessica coming up and those times of the year are never easy and maybe that coupled with Chad is causing things to seem more exaggerated than they normally would be, but I'm not even sure it's just that either. 

To be quite honest with myself and anyone else that would care to read, I don't know if I will ever be anything more than what I am at this moment.  I'm never going to have this hole in my heart repaired.  That can't happen.  I'm never not going to miss my son or ache for him.  I'm never going to get used to him not being here or watching him continue to grow and have children of his own one day.  That just won't happen.  What I had hoped was that in almost 5 years of this so called "new normal" would be a little easier to navigate, but that doesn't seem to be the case at all.  In fact, it feels like over the last few weeks I've taken steps (big steps) backwards.  That wasn't in my plan or at all what I expected.  I don't know what I truly expected as none of us set out and plan how we would carry on when we lose a loved one and especially a child, but in my head I guess I just thought I could manage these feelings a little better by now.  Well, guess what, I guess I've had the reality check that once again I'm not in control and there is apparently never going to be a signal that somehow taps me on the shoulder and gives me a heads up that I'm about to feel like I'm losing all control of my feelings and emotions this week so get prepared.  Turns out, life just isn't that nice to us. 

So, if you are reading this and I've seemed "off" to you or hurt your feelings or seemed like I don't care as much as I did or you thought I should I do apologize, but I can't promise when this will get better or change for me right now.  All I can do is try again tomorrow to do a better job of managing these feelings and emotions and hope that I succeed better tomorrow than I did today.  That is the most and best I can offer at this moment. 

When life feels unmanagable

Even with everything in my life changed nearly 5 years ago and I suddenly found myself with no control over life or what happens I still somehow found a way to manage.  However, lately, life has felt completely unmanageable!  Nothing feels like it is going the way it should, relationships feel strained and work, well, work is more of a burden these days than it should be.
I don't feel like anything is working or flowing as it should.  I don't know why and I certainly do not know how to gain control or "normalcy" again.  What is happening?

Maybe I need a vacation or even a change in my job.  The change in my job comment is almost comical at this point as that is all my job has done over the last 9 months or so, but when I say change now, I mean a completely different job all together.  I'm not one that likes to change jobs and I do enjoy the job that I do.  I just don't enjoy some of the recent changes and continued changes that are going on.  One example is being reprimanded more than once for showing too much emotion in meetings and pushing back too much.  Here is the issue I have with that statement.  The same time I'm being told I'm not showing a "poker face" and pushing too hard or being too aggressive I'm also told I need to keep pushing back and that my emotion or passion for my job is probably what people like the most.  Ok, then what do you want?  You can't have both! 

Here is what I fear will end up happening if this continues.  I will shut down.  I already feel what little spark I have left in me is starting to diminish and once it is completely extinguished I'm not sure I will get it back.  If that is what they want they are close to getting it and I am certain they won't like that either.  It feels sometimes like there is no pleasing people, but they should probably be careful what they ask for, because they may already have the best part of me now and if that is gone I'm not sure what they will get.

Then in respects to relationships... I can't really put my finger on one specific thing, but I know things to be more of an effort than it's ever been before.  I don't know what is wrong.  I'm sure it is all me, but I honestly don't have any way of knowing how to fix or change it.  I'm truly at a loss with this one.  Relationships has always been effortless for me.  Maybe I'm being too sensitive for some reason or maybe I am misunderstanding everyone.  Who knows.  I just know that I feel more sad and frustrated than I have ever felt before and try as I may, I can't seem to get out of this place I am in.

Life for me needs to either slow down or take a different path.  There is little to no motivation going on with me right now and just when I think I'm starting to feel it come back something happens or is said that brings me right back to this place. 

I am sure this too shall pass, but until it does, it sucks!

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Show no emotion

If I'm told one more time not to show emotion in my job I may just go Redneck crazy!  I don't necessarily call it "emotion".  I call it "passion" to do a good job and taking pride in the job that I do.  There is always a place and time to play nice and speak "fluffy" words and there is another time you can show passion in your job and for the job you do.
When did having passion for doing a good job become a bad thing?  Well, apparently I missed the memo that said to check my passion and drive at the door before walking into work.
I guess from now on I will need to take a deep breath before exiting the car in the mornings and leave all feelings there and just be a robot throughout the day, but don't come back to me and act like I don't care or I have given up.  You can't have it both ways.  I either be me and have passion and drive at my job or I don't.  You don't get both! 
For as long as I am obligated to work I will do my best to leave emotion out.  Heck, I have to leave how my heart really feels out of everything else anyway if I'm around people why not leave this out too.  Ok, check, you've got it!  DONE!


When did it become ok for people to treat other people like they don't matter and they don't have feelings?  Weren't most people taught to treat others like you would like to be treated?  I know for me and my family, that's what we were raised with.
I get really tired of feeling like others have a right to do as they please with no regard to how that may or may not inconvenience others.  I just do not get it and I guess I never will. 
I challenge everyone to stop and think about how either you deliver information or react to information.  I am the first person to admit that I'm not always the best at reacting when people do or say something hurtful or with little regard for me or my time, but I try my best, but I swear, there are those people out there that just don't think about anything or anyone but themselves.  How do you live with that?  How do you really think you have the right to be that way towards other people?
I guess we live in a very selfish world and that makes me sad.  I guess I could just live that way as well, but to me that is very hard to do.  I try to be as considerate of others as I possibly can and I do try very hard to never intentionally be rude or disrespectful to others, but I swear it feels like others go through this world thinking they are above having to do that and can just do what they want and if things aren't convenient for them they let everyone around them know that's how they feel.  Really?  Who or what gives you the right to live your life that way?  To add to that confusion I have with this, what really makes me crazy is there are many of those same people that talking about God and church and being Christians and yet you think this attitude and behavior is ok.  That is definitely the one thing I will never understand and for those around you that are not Christians, think of the witness or lack there of you are sending their way.
It seems simple to me.  This world would be a better place and lives would be a bit happier if we all just treated others with respect and were considerate of others.  Can't we just get back to that?

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

America today

Something that weighs heavy on my heart these days is the fact that our country seems to have priorities and focus on the wrong things.  Just look at what our media deems important news.  They deem it important, because apparently the American people have somehow shown those are the things they are interested in. 
Rather than spot lighting a man who in his 60's determined he would be happier and "more himself" if he changed his identity and body to that of a woman. Not only does he get his own TV show, but he is spotlighted as a hero and courageous.  Even going as far as being honored with such an award on the Espies. 
What about our American heroes who come home wounded physically and mentally and still managed to do great things in their communities and for our country?  What about those people who are terminally ill, but still manage to fight and do for others?  What about parents and loved ones that lost someone in the war (a war by the way that is continuing) and continue to give back and honor and show tribute to those that continued to sacrifice so much?
We had the honor of watching and Tebo even played with the Wounded Warrior Amputee Softball Team in the Annual Tyson Softball Tournament this past weekend.  You should check these heroes out at and just see what they refuse to allow their injuries and loss of limbs keep them from living a full and productive life. 
Also, if you have never visited the site Honor The Fallen I encourage you to do so at  It should truly make you sad to know that there are so many even on this wall of honor. 
According to Post 911:
  • During the Iraq War, 4,475 U.S. service members were killed and 32,220 were wounded; in Afghanistan, 2,165 have been killed and 18,230 wounded through Feb. 5, 2013.
  • Among service members deployed in these conflicts, 103,792 were diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) over the period 2002 to December 2012. Over that same period, 253,330 service members were diagnosed with a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) of some kind.
  • As a result of battle injuries in the Iraq War, 991 service members received wounds that required amputations; 797 lost major limbs, such as a leg. In Afghanistan, 724 have had to undergo amputations, with 696 losing a major limb.
  • If these statistics aren't enough to continue to be on the minds of Americans to include our media then we as Americans should not be surprised at the downfall and corruption we are seeing in America today.
    I'm saddened at the things our country has chosen to find news worthy and important enough to start all these causes and not to mention the riots some deem important enough to fight for. 
    We continue to lose American military men and women every day fighting a war that feels so many have forgotten.  We need to get back to the basics America!  We need a President that stands on the values this country was first founded on and we need to be outraged at the things going on in our country! 
    If this war in these other countries is never going to end among their own people then maybe we need to consider bringing our men and women home to the states and deploy them to these cities and states where people would like to focus more on our police officers that are trying to enforce the law rather than trying to make these criminals look like the victim and in some cases heroes themselves.  Here is the cold hard fact, these criminals wouldn't be shot or handled roughly if they weren't breaking the law and potentially putting our law enforcement in harms way.  Besides, if these people who want to riot and destroy the very towns/cities they live in because of race, then why aren't they doing the same thing when the tables are turned and it is a white criminal that has either been killed or physically hurt when police are trying to take them in?  Where is the fairness in all of that?  If we as Americans want justice for one it should be justice for all and be done in the same fairness and equality for all.  That is not happening.
    In my own personal opinion (right or wrong), we have a lot of people out there number one with too much time on their hands, so get busy doing good work for yourselves or someone else.  Secondly, fight for something real!  If criminals don't want to be mistreated (in their opinion) or take the chance of being shot at then stop breaking the law and running from police!  That is a very simple fix for that.  For those that find it necessary to riot and bring attention to all this "lives matter" mess, then make sure you are including ALL Lives!  You are part of the problem when you make it seem ok that these people who are breaking the law to just cry fowl and suddenly they are now the victim and we have law enforcement with their hands tied to truly do their job.
    Or here is another thought, put as much of your passion into making sure that our active service members still fighting for you to have the right to do the things you do either lawful or not.  Remember, if it weren't for them out there risking life and limbs for all of us you wouldn't be allowed to do the things that you do.
    We as a country are forgetting the important things in life and that to me is far worse than what our media and people in this country that tend to have nothing better to do than fight a fight that is not theirs to even fight.
    Please Lord, heal this country and change the hearts of all Americans.

    Friday, August 14, 2015

    Remembering things that mean something to me

    Everyone remembers the ones they love in special ways.  I'm no different.  I think of Chad only when I'm breathing and I remember anything and everything that makes me think of him.  Some are the good things, funny things, and even the gross things.  All those things are what made up my wonderful son and gave me more purpose in life than I thought was possible.

    Just thinking back on some of those things I remember so well this week and thought I would jot them down so when the ages of time creep in on me, I won't forget.

    I remember a very energetic little boy with curls that went on for days.  Always barefoot and usually with a "Sassy" in his mouth.  He spoke very few words, but had a smile like an angel.  I remember him climbing into the dryer to hide and then climbing into the refrigerator and onto one of the shelves and just sat down.  He climbed on top of the refrigerator once.

    I remember him pretending to be Pippie Long Stocking and holding on to the rails above my garden tub with his feet on my wall then leaping into the air saying he could fly just to land on his little feet spraining both ankles. 

    I remember him following a dog down the street while we were working in the yard only to find the local policeman driving him back home. 

    I remember him singing his little heart out to Allen Jackson's song "Wanted".  Praying for a snake he thought BoBo ran over on the way home from church for over a year. 

    I remember he and Jessica playing countless hours together and how much he loved her always.  I remember him singing to the top of his lungs at her funeral the song she loved by Celine Dion "Because You Loved Me".

    I remember the way he would sleep in the oddest positions in his oversized chair.  How he didn't look like a question mark when he stood up was beyond me.  How he could sleep sitting in the car seat with his head on his lap and how Tebo's girls teased him and pestered him all the way to New Mexico for Thanksgiving one year while he may have spoken 2 words total.

    I remember him asking for a fry daddy for Christmas one year from BoBo & Nana so he could deep fry squirrel for his buddies.  I remember coming home to find little naked squirrels in my kitchen sink.

    I remember his weak stomach.  How could he be so strong and tough to become a Marine and yet not be able to smell boil eggs without gagging.  How if he just thought about someone else throwing up that he would throw up.  Oh, and when he would throw up how he would yell, "Momma" and as I touched his back he would yell "don't touch me" and then immediately yell, "Momma" again. 

    I remember his dreams and what he always wanted to do.  He was going to be a police officer at some point and I believe had he made it home and once he left the Marine Corps that is what he would have done. 

    I remember his love and passion for sports and especially college football (TN Vols) and Peyton Manning. 

    I remember how he would fret and worry about BoBo and would always make me promise I would make sure he was ok so he would always be around for him.  Ironic when I think of that now.

    I remember how he would hug me and how tight he would hold on when he just needed a little comfort. I remember that crooked smile and those eyes.  Oh how those eyes would twinkle when he smiled and laughed. 

    I remember him breaking his hand to defend a girl's honor.  That broken hand cost him his job, but he would have done it all over again given the same situation.

    I remember his loyalty to family and friends.  I love this about him.  I love how once you were in with him, you were in, but don't ever cross him, because he could be done too.

    I love his faithfulness to his convictions.  He was definitely a loyal and faithful person.

    I remember what a great son I already thought he was, but then being yet more amazed at the fine young man/Marine he turned into. 

    There are so many things that I remember on a regular basis and I'm grateful for every memory.  I'm grateful for the times we had date night every week and how he faithfully gave me that night.  Those are all memories I will cherish always.