31 December 2012

Tommy | Life's Seasons

When my sweet Brayden and I left Washington behind in August I didn't realize that we would be coming back to cool breezes and falling leaves. September brought change. The sun still kissed the Pacific Northwest's beautiful greenery and for that I was grateful but autumn was undoubtably around the corner.

Now, our little family is in its own season of change. Christmas Eve brought us back to California, close to family and friends. While it feels this is now where we belong there is something that still feels foreign. This place is once again our home and while it feels so right I am now realizing that our sweet Tommy was our home in so many ways.

While there are moments in life where it feels like he's the only one that is able to be there in the way I need someone to be, there are still so many where the love and support from wonderful people in our lives has warmed my heart. It has meant so much to me. To give a glimpse to what this has meant, below are the words that I shared on a chilly Washington afternoon with family and friends at Tommy's memorial.

I look forward to sharing photos from that day in the near future. Thank you Jaquilyn for capturing those moments that our son will not remember being present at, yet I will be able to share with him through you lovely images.

Photo | Tacoma's beautiful changing leaves while on a walk with my baby toddler in our neighborhood. I still like to think of little B as my baby but he's just four months shy of two years old and is most definitely a toddler. Our children will never stop being our babies, right?


My Sweet Tommy,

Our darling Brayden and I wouldn't be where we are today if it were not for all the loving people that you have brought into our lives, directly or indirectly. I know that if you were here today, just like me, you'd find it hard to put into words how to let every one of them know what they mean to us. It may appear that our family of three is now a family of two, but sweet Tommy, our family has never been bigger than what it is today. I stand here in tears not only because I miss you and hurt that you're no longer physically here with us but because it touches my heart deeply to feel the immense amount of love and support that I have felt for our son and I. In no way have you left us alone.

My sweet friend Mary is one of those people you have brought into my life. You’d hear me mention the kind navy wife in Virginia that felt like an old friend although we had never met. She put it so well by explaining how heros like you not only have to be brave but also kind. Her kind words to me read, “That bravery means nothing without kindness and kindness means nothing without bravery. There's no point in being super brave and strong if there's nothing to protect -- and to really protect something, you must really love it.  Similarly, you can't really love something unless you are willing to protect it.” Tommy, when our little Brayden hears about the great man his father was and your story I want him to know that his daddy was not only a man with an immense amount of bravery but also kindness.

I'm grateful that your decision to become an Army Ranger brought you to men that became like brothers. Your brothers my sweet Tommy, now also feel like mine more than ever. Jacob and Jonah, two men that were a large part of your life, continue to be such a significant part in ours. The love I see in both their eyes for our son warms my heart in a way I will never be able to explain. They loved you so much Tommy, and our little boy will feel that very same love.

Brayden will know that even after you physically being gone, these great men were there for you. I am forever grateful to know that Jacob stayed by your side through the entire journey from foreign soil to U.S. soil. He was with you every step of the way, even laying down next to you. Since then, he hasn't left our side through Brayden and I's journey and I confidentially can say I know he will continue be there every step of the way.

Jonah has brought me a sense of peace that I didn't know I'd be able to have.  Knowing that the thirty seconds or so after you had been wounded, that he was able to talk to you and let you know he was coming for you, brings me comfort. You knew you were not alone. Your brother was just feet away from you and did all that he could to be by your side as soon as possible. That conversation with Jonah about that night brought me to tears for many reasons. I now know that on that October night you did all that you possibly could to keep your brothers in battle safe. Jonah explained how the calm in your voice brought him strength and focus to continue on with the mission. He told me of how when he’d asked you where you were wounded you replied that it had been in your leg. You kept it from him that you had been wounded in your chest to keep him from immediately coming to you and therefore keeping him out of harms way. Your selflessness was always such an endearing trait of yours.

Sweet Tommy, I wanted to speak today not only to bring you honor in any small way that I can and so others know of the great man you were but also to let them know how wonderful they are for being part of the large family standing right by Brayden and I through our journey.

Thank you for touching my life in a way that I could have never imagined a single person would ever do so. You showed me what unconditional love looks like. You made it known to me that our son and I were your world. I, along with our large family of love and support will make sure that Brayden knows that his father loved him with all his heart. Brayden will always be proud to call you daddy.

Sweetie, we will never forget the husband, father, son, brother, warrior, friend, and hero that gave the ultimate sacrifice for Brayden and I, those he loved, and those he didn’t even know. Nothing will ever change the love you had for all of us. We will always love you and you will forever be with each and every one of us.