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Not Goodbye…..Until we meet again.

Today is going to be a hard day for me my friends. Three years ago we lost my nephew. He was one of the most special people I have ever had the honor of knowing and loving. He was born with SMA – a severe form of Muscular Dystrophy.

He taught me so much and I won’t forget the lessons from either one. I will teach my children the lessons. Cherish your loved ones, time is precious, don’t get impatient – for this too shall pass, you are stronger than you thought you ever could be, breaking down doesn’t mean broken; but mostly how to love without boundaries.

Those and so many more. I grieve today for the memory of that day. But I grieve the hardest for the little angel who left. Both were senseless, both touched my life in a profound way. A day doesn’t pass when I don’t see those laughing brown eyes and that freckled face reflected in the eyes of my children. Today I grieve. I will never forget.

I miss him with a fierce ache this morning. But I sent my kids off to school and his mother can only cry today in remembrance of the days she did the same. And so it is with humble gratitude that I remember him today and his mother and father as well as our family.

RIP my sweet angel, take care of everyone until we meet again.

 

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For about eight years this day has meant to me what it means now to all Americans. A day of remembrance for the greatest sorrow my generation and those behind me have born witness to. A day when the Nation’s heart broke as one, where our anger and disbelief flared as one, we bled together and shed tears as one. A day when we all stood shoulder to shoulder, division lines gone. It has changed our lives forever.

A year ago today, this day took on a whole new meaning. Hearts broke and tears shed for a great grief once again that could not be contained. For on this day the Lord took my nephew Garrett Allen Buthe, who had turned 10 the week before, into his loving arms and welcomed him home. I could not be at his side though I wanted to badly. We left when my son was 5 1/2 and peanut was just 2 1/2. I had promised my son we would be back to visit, and then four and a half long years had passed and life had gotten away from me, I hadn’t visited like I wish I had. I think they only made it back there once. I inadvertently broke a promise to my son and we both know it. I was able to attend his funeral thanks to the great generosity of a woman I didn’t know, but consider a friend now. She knew Garrett, had been one of his paras in school, and everyone who met him and knew him, couldn’t help but love him. It was the least she could do she said.

I remember this day so clearly….

They were very nearly brothers. Born into a close family and born with a mere 8 month difference in their age. Their fathers were brothers and they grew up as close cousins. I have such fond memories of them all. There was not a single bit of difference between any of them and they all loved each other mightily as children are so capable of doing. Want to play tag? Sure thing. Garrett tears out on his ‘hog’ and Ean and Alexandria join in on their bikes. See, not a bit of trouble. Down Uncle Cory and Aunt Lana’s driveway. The three of them were glorious together.

Ean, baby Alex, and GAB
 Watching them tear into Christmas presents together, or playing at Grandma and Grandpa’s house. Going up to the cabin with the family for the weekend in Fall River, where they would swim, and jet ski and boat. Where we would watch fireworks and celebrate the Fourth of July. We would lay on rugs and blankets in the living room of the cabin and watch movies and nap together. And there were always card games. Those days are filled with love and laughter. True they held their own trouble and stresses but there are things I would give anything to have back for even just a day. I will never again hear the sweet melody of the three voices raised in laughter together over something silly. There are things you miss so much and they are the little things that tear holes in your soul and let you feel the lonely wind whistle through.
His parents were and still are fabulous. Not a day went by that they didn’t make every wish or dream of his come true. In his short life he accomplished so much. From bagging a deer with his daddy, to scuba diving, to his Muscular Dystrophy involvement and the sweet love of his mother; there wasn’t anything I can see that Garrett ever lacked in his life. They filled it with all the love and excitement a child could desire. With more patience and endurance than I feel like I could do – they worked every day with him. Every Halloween came with an amazing, well thought out costume to include his ‘hog’. They would all head out together to collect the sweet treats in their grandparent’s sub-division. They parented in a way I wish I could always do. In a way that I will always admire and strive to emulate. And we all love with a desperation born of the knowledge that life is so fleeting and unfair at times.
Ten years ago, I dropped my baby off at the sitter and went into my college classes for the day. I was in school for Journalism at the time and we were in the first class of the day, which happened to be Reporting 101. We heard the commotion as it began, the professor stepped out and got some basic information. The whole class was begging to be let out to go into our press room. Then we laid the argument down that if something of great importance was happening, better than sitting in class reading a book, would be to be out there doing what it was we were meant to do, report. Finally after what seemed like forever we were out and staring at the T.V. The first tower had been hit, and the great dark plume of smoke froze our hearts in our chests. Not a sound was going on in the room. We all stood, eyes locked on the screen, hearts in our throats.
When the second tower was hit, the great torrent of tears poured out as we learned what our fellow brothers and sisters were going through. We watched the fire burn so hot that many chose to leap from the burning towers. We watched their bodies fall. And we cried, we raged, we demanded retribution from the ones who had struck at our souls. On our own soil. Then even more horrible than before, we witnessed the collapses of the towers and when we thought we couldn’t be more shocked or grief stricken, again the tears flowed unchecked down our faces.
The thought crossed my mind that people who were alive for the JFK assassination or the Challenger explosion had stood as a Nation united and grieved. Still somehow I guess I never thought something like that would happen in my lifetime, and you hope not in your children’s either. Yet here it was, that moment for our generation and theirs. We stood united again in grief and confusion trying to sort the pain. The professor in charge of the Journalism program called us to attention and said. This is your moment, you can’t stand here and do nothing. You are journalists, get yourselves together and get out there and get the news.
So we mopped our faces, sucked it up and did. But we also grieved. I sat at a bench watching a group pray around me and the flagpole. I felt a solidarity with them, though I did not physically join them. I thought of a good friend, who I knew was a fireman in New York. He had been an engine chaser when he was a kid, then a volunteer fireman when he was old enough. I knew he was there. And I prayed for him as well as all touched this day. We brought back the news. It was my honor to collaborate with a fantastic editor of The Lantern on the feature article. We cranked it out through tears and sweat. It was a one headline day, a triumph in the journalistic sense, and yet there was no joy in it. For one word was all that was needed to speak the depth of this atrocity.
My son was too young to know at the time, just barely approaching 2. But he was overwrought by it this year, when they talked about it in school for the 10th anniversary. I spoke quietly to him about it, while I held him on my lap, his head close to my heart; and I ached. A decade has passed. A year has passed. It still hurts with a burn that won’t stop. I won’t forget the lessons from either one. I will teach my children the lessons. Cherish your loved ones, time is precious, don’t get impatient – for this too shall pass, you are stronger than you thought you ever could be, breaking down doesn’t mean broken. Those and so many more. I grieve today for the memory of that day. But I grieve the hardest for the little angel who left. Both were senseless, both touched my life in a profound way. A day doesn’t pass when I don’t see those laughing brown eyes and that freckled face reflected in the eyes of my children. Today I grieve. I will never forget.
In Loving Memory
Where were you? I hope you are safe and blessed my friends.