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Sunday, December 19

If I knew


If I knew it would be the last time
That I'd see you fall asleep,
I would tuck you in more tightly
and pray the Lord, your soul to keep.

If I knew it would be the last time
that I see you walk out the door,
I would give you a hug and kiss
and call you back for one more.

If I knew it would be the last time
I'd hear your voice lifted up in praise,
I would video tape each action and word,
so I could play them back day after day.

If I knew it would be the last time,
I could spare an extra minute
to stop and say "I love you,"
instead of assuming you would KNOW I do.

If I knew it would be the last time
I would be there to share your day,
Well I'm sure you'll have so many more,
so I can let just this one slip away.

For surely there's always tomorrow
to make up for an oversight,
and we always get a second chance
to make everything just right.

There will always be another day
to say "I love you,"
And certainly there's another chance
to say our "Anything I can do?"

But just in case I might be wrong,
and today is all! I get,
I'd like to say how much I love you
and I hope we never forget.

Tomorrow is not promised to anyone,
young or old alike,
And today may be the last chance
you get to hold your loved one tight.

So if you're waiting for tomorrow,
why not do it today?
For if tomorrow never comes,
you'll surely regret the day,

That you didn't take that extra time
for a smile, a hug, or a kiss
and you were too busy to grant someone,
what turned out to be their one last wish.

So hold your loved ones close today,
and whisper in their ear,
Tell them how much you love them
and that you'll always hold them dear

Take time to say "I'm sorry,"
"Please forgive me," "Thank you," or "It's okay."
And if tomorrow never comes,
you'll have no regrets about today.

Sunday, September 26

We are like peas and carrots Jennaaaay!

Go Jenn... it's your birthday!
Go Jenn... it's your birthday!


Happy Birthday Jenn... I wuv you!

Tricia I see you lurking way down there in the bottom corner!
Jenn

I was looking up your dress.
Hey, you aren't wearing any underwear!
heheh
Tricia

I'm not even wearing a dress!
Jenn

Cover yourself!
Bad kitty!
Tricia

ok but I refuse to wear undies!
Jenn

Well if you're not wearing undies, then I'm not wearing undies either!

*takes off undies
*throws them at Jenn

I'm free!!!!
Tricia

Wooohooo the liberation!
Jenn

Hey is there a draft in here?
My ass is getting cold
Tricia

Oh sorry I will shut the air conditioner off!
Jenn

Stop looking up my skirt!
Okay, you can.
I don't really mind.
Tricia

Skirts we are suppose to be wearing skirts Tricia! Damnit woman why didn't you tell me before I thought by "cover yourself" you meant with my hands!

Shit I can't find a skirt to go with these boots!
Jenn

Here you can have mine!
*takes off skirt throws it at Jenn
Whoo Hoooooo
Nakey time!
Tricia

Thanks Tricia only a true friend would give you the skirt right off of her ass!
Jenn


And her undies too!
You owe me BIG TIME!
Tricia



You promised me more pictures give' em up!

I love playing blogtag with Jenn.
She is one of the best things to happen to me in years.
Jenn and Vader have literally saved me from myself and been the best friends I have been needing for years.

Most memorable conversations between Jenn and I.


I'm first.... wooohooo
I'm RiffRaff,
but then, you already knew that!

I'm first woohooooooo!!!
*does a cartwheel...trips over chair*
shit that hurt!
Tricia |

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TRICIA WATCH OUT FOR THE CHA...too late I tried to warn you!!!
Jenn |

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I chipped a nail
OMG

Stupid chair!
*kicks chair*
Ouch shit!
Tricia |

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I am throwing that damn chair out the freaking window! It is nothing but trouble!
Jenn |

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And I'm going to help you throw it out the window!
Then go to the hospital,
I think I broke my toe!

Where the hell is Justin when you need your toe licked.
Tricia |

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Damn Chair, Damn men, nothing is dependable anymore! I wil drive you to the hospital, cause we can't count on anyone else showing up!
Jenn |

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Go to bed... you're loud and you're keeping me awake!
Tricia |

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I wrapped my toe in tin foil so the aliens can't send me messages through it.
Tricia |

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Hey, you still awake?
Kicks Jenn (with good toe)
Tricia |

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goodnight Tricia I will try to keep it down!
Jenn |
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oh and good call on the tin foil!
Jenn |
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You better, I still have one good arm... and I'll use it missy!!!
Tricia |
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ok I am typing very quiet now!
Jenn |
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I want to make the word list next time...heheh
tricia |
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I think Tricia would make a good word list!
Jenn |

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Me too
tricia |
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Yes, but my lists are random. Her list would be something like:

collin
smack
with
tire
chain

Collin
_ _ _


I wub your pics...now where are the one's of us on the pool table?
Tricia |

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Tricia,
I just forwarded them to Collin he is going to do a whole website just for them that is if he can quit playing with his chinchilla long enough!
Jenn |
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WHY STROKE IT WHEN YOU CAN RAM IT
Jenn said that heheh...


Tricia,
I love you!
Jenn |
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Jenn,
I love you too!

just wanted to say that... yeah I'm goofy!
Tricia |

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Tricia,
You may be goofy, but you keep me sane!
Jenn |
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just hanging out for a while!
Checkin' out your undies
hmmmm... can't seem to find any...
Tricia |

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Tricia,
You know you can't find them, I don't know why you keep looking!
Jenn |

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And of course our FORUM conversations are practically INFAMOUS!
Jenn Tricia

JENN:
Collin,
How in the world am I suppose to tell my thingy from everyone elses thingy, there are far to many thingys flapping around!

Tricia:
Jenn,
we will all recognize your thingy when it's flapping around in here.

Jenn:
Tricia your up late.
is the kitty better, that should get some laughs.

Tricia
I killed the kitty *taps playing in background*

At least until tomorrow!


Jenn
I meant the garfield cat, but that was funny Tricia! I changed the icon to the cat.


Tricia
Oh...
*sheepish*
I'm kinda sensitive about my recent kitty abuse.
But I WAS wearing undies the whole time.


Jenn
Tricia,
You know what? I find with the whole underwear thing is that when you need to get them off quickly you get them just around your ankles and end up tripping on them, hitting your head, and going to the emergency room.

Jenn
Tricia,
It has been far to quiet in here for way to long. I say we seize control away from Collin and livin' it back up in this little place. WAY TO QUIET people, and I desperately need something to make me laugh at this point in life!!!

Tricia
It's Collins fault. He never posts ANYTHING anymore!

Bastard! Stupid chinchilla hugging bastard!

Jenn
Yeah, he wants us to think he has a life now. How can you have a forum, a blog, and a life? It just can't be done! Not possible!
Collin we need to be entertained babe! Tricia and I grow weary of all the silence here!

Collin
You are right. It's not possible. *sigh* So I guess I have to give something up...

But I can't. So I guess I will have to learn to not sleep and do the impossible!

(grumbling while breaking out the juggling balls)...

doot-doot-dodee-dodee-doot-doot-doodah!

Tricia
Collin,
put your balls away and post.

God, I gotta tell him everything!

Derek, the smells still here... is he still spilling beans?

Jenn
Tricia,
He actually listened and posted! I think he typed one handed though so he didn't have to let go of his balls.



Go ask a grow up why women like harleys! There is more to it then your young mind could understand.
Jenn

Harleys are for men with little weenies.
Oh, let me PROVE I'm a man. I have this big ole Harley. I ride it up and down my street everyday to show the world I have a big...uh Harley.
Tricia

K Jenn,
thems fightin words...and in case you forgot in my redneck law book I now have the right to commit 'simple battery' on your ass.
Lets go sister!
Put your dukes up chicken shit!
Tricia

Sorry Tricia,
it is apparent you have never been on a Harley! The feel of one between your legs, the vibration, rattling your entire body, shaking you. Then you lean forward just a little bit and it hits that spot, yeah you know the one, ooohhh yeah baby Harleys are awesome, they can do things men are not even aware of.
Jenn

Jenn,
I've had better sex with the little carousel horse outside the Walmart...you just lean forward and let it vibrate between your legs, then you lean back into it... ooooh yeah....ooooh, I'm a cowboy.
Course then some little shit four year old starts crying that the mean lady won't let him have a turn on the horsey!
Why don't they put those things in the ladies room anyway! I need my privacy!
Dammit!
Tricia

OH Tricia,
Yeah that would almost be as good as the Harley! I think your onto something we should go into business, installing them in bathrooms across America! Or maybe we should just get us some cowboys!
Jenn

Ride 'em cowgirl!
Tricia

Yeeehaww
Jenn


I’m a cowboy, on a carousel horse I ride

I’m wanted dead or alive

I’m a cowboy, I got Walmart on my side

I’m wanted dead or alive

Tricia



Happy Birthday Jenn... I wuv you!

Saturday, August 28

FLUGTAG RAMSTEIN AIR FORCE BASE GERMANY



Italian Flyers, the Frecce Tricolori Crash during
the Ramstein Air Base Airshow


Remember...
• 70 Killed
• 450 Injured
• Thousands witness tragedy
• Countless heros
Those of us who witness tragedy often wonder why we were spared and so many others were not.

Maybe...we are left behind to make sure others remember...and to make sure we never forget.

On August 28, (1988) more than 300,000 people gathered at Ramstein US Air Force Base near Frankfurt, West Germany. They had come to watch performances by aerobatic teams, the annual Flug Tag Air Show.
Seven planes were doing a maneuver in the shape of a heart when three of them clipped each others wings.

The result was the worst disaster in Air Show History.

The planes clipped each other.


Two of the planes crashed on the runway. One went hurtling towards the crowd.


As the plane struck the ground it began to catapult into the crowd.
Most people did not even have a chance to run... They just stood staring as the ball of metal and jet fuel headed straight at them.


I was also there that day.
I was stationed at Landstuhl.

I had my four month old son in a stroller and I had taken the day to spend time with my German girlfriends.
This was the first time that they had been on post.

I remember having a bad feeling that day.
Someone made a comment behind me... "One of these planes is going to end up crashing". That statement from a fellow soldier somewhere in the crowd garnered a roll of muttered agreement through the crowd.

We were standing very close to the ice cream van.
I remember thinking that people were being very nice to let us up front with our baby in the stroller.

As the French team flew overhead I had a terrible ominous feeling.
I had to crane my neck as they flew from the air field, over our heads and out of sight behind us.

When the Italian team began to fly so near, I got butterflies in my stomach. I usually would ignore those feelings as just being paranoid and force myself to stay and not 'be stupid'.

I turned to my best friend Christiana. "I don't think they are supposed to fly right over the crowd". I said to her.
"If they had an accident we would not be able to get out of here".

I knew I was not just being paranoid when I looked at Christiana.
Christiana looked at me like she was really scared. "We wouldn't be able to get the stroller out of here. Somebody would trample it", she said.

At that point she removed my son Joshua from the stroller and held him as we turned and started walking towards the barracks. We had a friend who's barrack's were right off of the flight line and, although we knew that we would not be allowed to go into the barracks, especially with the baby, we still headed that way.

I figured my friend would have some idea where we could go to wait for the next bus back to post.

My husband Troy (we weren't married yet) was working that day at the emergency room at LARMC so I could not get a ride from him.

I remember everything like slow motion from that point.
I remember it was so pretty out there.
Just a beautiful day.

My other friends had run off to flirt with GI's and do the things that 20 year old German girls do when they are finally let loose with a bunch of Air Force guys.
I asked Christiana if we should go look for them.
"No, let's just get to the barracks and we'll let the guys go find them.

We got to the front door of the barracks. As I reached my hand down and grabbed the front door, the planes hit. There was screaming.
I still had my hand on the door as the plane hit the crowd. I will never forget that feeling. My entire body was shaking from the blast. It felt like an earthquake. The building was groaning and every glass window was shaking so hard that I thought for sure they would break.

I screamed at Christiana. There wasn't any blast noise really. More like something had hit and sucked all the air away for a minute. I had the sensation that there was ringing in my ears, but I couldn't hear it.
Just intense pressure.

I was yelling as loud as I could to get inside and Christiana couldn't hear me. I felt like my eardrums were going to burst.

We made it inside the door and we were screaming that there was an earthquake. Airmen came running from all over the building, somebody grabbed me and asked if I was Okay.
"The planes just crashed", he said.
"No, I think it's an earthquake"! Sounds crazy now, but somewhere in my mind I knew it COULDN'T be the planes. A plane crash would be loud and this was just heat and pressure.

We found my friend as he was leaving his room to run outside. He grabbed my son and said, "you have to go they called a mass-cal (mass casualty) at LARMC”.

I worked on 1 Delta at LARMC. That is the psyche ward. What the hell good was I going to be in a mass casualty situation?

My friends took Josh and said they would take him back to my girlfriend's house. I had to get on a bus. The Emergency Commander on Ramstein got a bus to carry all soldiers back to LARMC.

When I arrived at the emergency room it was already full of gurneys. It was nearly silent.
I have never witnessed anything like it.

There was a little blond haired girl laying on a gurney, she could not have been more than five. Her burns were so severe that she wasn't even crying. Her eyelids were burned off and she was staring at me and her chest was heaving up and down struggling for breath. The only sound from her was a gurgling as she tried to breath. I don't know if she lived, my husband worked on her, but refuses to discuss it.

At this point I remember almost passing out. My husband came up behind me. "Go see 'So and So' (sorry, can't remember her name), she is in charge of setting up beds”.

I was taken upstairs to an empty ward. The guys were bringing in empty beds and we began putting linen on them.
Some guys were bringing in some other material for burn patients to lay on, they explained to me that this would stop them from sticking to the sheets.

I wish I could remember more... or not.
I don't know... it is like a movie I saw, but kept closing my eye's through the scary parts.
I know what happened, but I can't remember it.

I know it lasted all day, but I can only remember a few scenes here and there.

I don't remember riding in the ambulance. I don't know how I got back to Ramstein. I must have ridden in SOMETHING... yet nothing comes to memory.

I went back to Ramstein and our psych department set up an information center for the people who were waiting to hear news about missing loved ones.

It was in some type of auditorium. It was packed full of crying families. I spoke a little German and I was taking names to compare with the ones coming in from the hospital. I was there a long time, but again, I cannot remember more than one or two things.
I remember sitting with a German grandma and grandpa who were looking for their daughter and granddaughter. I remember sitting and rubbing her back while she was crying and clinging onto me.
I remember at some point passing out Kool-aid in dixie cups.

If I met someone who had gone through a traumatic experience like that and couldn't remember what happened, I would tell them to see a psychiatrist. I, however, don't want to think about it.

This is the first time I've ever written about that day. I was much more traumatized than I realized. I am crying as I write this.

I received a 'Letter of Commendation' from the Air Force Commander for helping set up the Information Center.

My husband, who saved countless lives in the ER that day, did not.

My friend from the barracks was given the task of walking the flight line and picking up body parts the next day, but he did not receive a 'Commendation' either.

I have never read that 'Commendation'. I have seen it only once since we left Germany. I found it when we were in the process of moving... I don't know where it is now.

I don't want to see it. It is just a reminder of how utterly useless I felt on that awful day.

There were many more deserving than I, and if I could give that 'Commendation' to anyone I would have given it to my husband... he was truly a hero that day.

We also lost a good helicopter pilot that day, Lt. Strader, in his UH60 Blackhawk, was there for medical evacuations. One of the planes that crashed on the runway actually came down on the Blackhawk. Lt. Strader was inside of it.
God Bless you and yours.

There are memorial sites devoted to the survivors of Flugtag.
They allow people to narrate their own story of their experience on that day.
I recommend that if you have been effected by this disaster you check out the sites and add your story.
It is a way to get out the terrible memories of that day with others who went through it.

My banner and anime came from
flugtag

I read the stories of others present that day and added my own to Rocket Jones


Ramstein: 70 Tote bei Flugschau - Flugtag auf dem US-Luftwaffenstützpunkt in Ramstein. Bei strahlendem Wetter drängen sich an diesem Sommertag 300.000 Zuschauer. Es ist der 28. August 1988. Um 15.45 die Katastrophe: Die italienische Kunstflugstaffel "Frecce Tricolori" setzt zu ihrem letzten, besonders spektakulärem Manöver an, dem "durchstoßendem Herz". Dabei fliegt eine einzelne Maschine durch einen Pulk von anderen Maschinen und nähert sich diesen bis auf wenige Meter. So soll es sein - aber an diesem Tag misslingt das waghalsige Kunststück. Einer der Unglücksjets rast als Feuerball auf die Zuschauer. Insgesamt müssen an diesem Tag 70 Menschen sterben, unter ihnen auch viele Kinder und Frauen.

Updated 28 August 2006

A Flugtag Perspective


I was a nineteen year old new medic when the infamous day occured.

I was going to work at the fire station in Vogleweh when my team leader wanted me to stay at Landstuhl to work at the hospital till 1500. It was a calm day, nothing much going on until the earth rumbling sonic boom hit.

I remember saying that it was a plane breaking the sound barrier or something, nothing bad could happen right?

We got the phone call to get everyone in for the mass cal right away. My teamleader called the barracks and sent a medic over in a PTV to bring in people to work. I stayed in the ER waiting for the first wave of injured to arrive.

Our 66 passenger mercedes bus was already there and filled quickly. It was the first and only time that I had seen this many patients at one moment.

Time froze as the bus showed up with many patients still smoldering, tourniquets on limbs, moaning and groaning, smoke still so thick it was hard to see what was happening.

The first thing that struck me was the smell of burning flesh and the amount of kids and German nationals on the bus.

My job, with all of this going on, was to assess who to take care of first. Everyone seemed like an emergent patient to me, but in a split second we had to take live or die now patients first and leave the expectants to die.

This was a new sensation for me; someone's loved one, child, father ,mother etc. could die as a result of going out and watching an air show and having fun together.

I wanted to save everyone... Now!
My senior medic took over and told me that we can't save everyone but to focus on the one's that can truly be saved versus letting my emotions dictate who gets saved.

I remember thinking airway, breathing, circulation... the abc's of the medical field. Sucking Chest wound emergent now, O2 ,chest tube, IV, amputee tourniquete stable but start IV for blood loss.

Put fires out fluid, fluid, fluid...I learned a lot that day.

In retrospect, I did not realize the enormity of the situation because I was engrossed in the moment. We ran out of supplies, the war crates were opened and used up.... then it happened.
The NATO trucks started comming in with all kinds of supplies and we had to translate the packages to make sure what we were giving was correct. All kinds of helicopters were landing on our open helipad area from different NATO countries as well.

The hospital filled up and we stabilized the new patients and took them back to the different helicopters for transport to surrounding hospitals. I was amazed later to find out that we treated about 400 patients and only around 70 died.

Please don't misunderstand me, I think that loosing one life is a big price to pay... given the circumstance we did one hell of a job... From the flight line triage and treatment to the hospital level care and transport in all areas in between.

I am truly proud to say that I did my best with everyone else involved to save all that could be saved...My unit at the 2nd general hospital in Landstuhl did not receive any awards that day for exceptional treatment under such dire circumstances, but that does not diminish the collective acts of exceptional people rising to the occasion...I was only nineteen at the time, and saw more suffering and death in that short 2-3 hour time frame than most will see in a lifetime.

Having to make the decisions about who gets treated and who goes to our waiting room with an expectant tag still haunts me, but I am here to say that I'll never forget those people that I treated and I hope they are all well...

Thursday, June 24

He would have turned 28 today

It’s been six months since our brother Pat was taken from us.




We went to the cemetery today. It’s the first time I’ve been there since we buried him two days after Christmas. My step dad decided to wait to bury him until 2 days after Christmas, instead of before Christmas, because of the kids.

How can you wait to have a funeral?

I don’t know…

A lot of people in shock, trying to make decisions about something as tragic as burying a loved one, while trying not to traumatize the children.

You ask yourself the crazy question… what is more important a wonderful funeral or a wonderful Christmas? The children win. The children must win.

One question stands out now. One of the kids, not one of my own, one of the younger ones, was asking me if I thought that Santa Claus knew who killed him.

My response was “I don’t know sweetie; but Jesus knows and Jesus came here and took Pat with him. Pat’s spending Christmas with Jesus and the Angels”.

This has been a year of firsts for my family.
Our first New Years Party without Pat.
Our first Easter and Father’s Day without him.
Every holiday we are faced with the same question…
How do we do this?

We can’t celebrate like normal people anymore… now we spend holidays trying not to say or do anything that will bring up the thought that Pat’s not here. Although we all feel his absence no matter what we do.

A couple of things that I need to say, just for myself.

First off, I may remove this post… it won’t be the first time.
I have removed every post that I’ve written about Pat on this blog, usually within two days of writing it. The constant reminder of his absence is painful… and of course, I am worried that a family member may unsuspectingly stumble across one of my posts about him and get dragged down into the unfathomable depths that occur anytime we come across anything that reminds us of Pat, when we have not had a chance to prepare for it.

Second,
To Pat;
I miss you.

I miss riding back and forth to work with you.

I miss when you would come to my house to eat. You used to say “You ever seen a fat man turn down a steak dinner”? I remember you shaking your head and looking all serious and saying to me “Trish, do you have any idea how hard it is to stay fat in America”?

I miss the way you used to mimic me… yeah sounds weird now, cause it used to piss me off… well, really you were very good at doing me ‘driving’ and that used to crack me up. I just used to get exasperated with you when we needed to work and you wanted to play with me instead… yeah, big regrets there… I should have played more.

I remember all the times you told me how good I would be at sales.

I remember when we worked at MCI and I would call you after a bad day and you would stay on the phone with me for hours giving me pep talks.

I miss how excited you used to get when you came in from the studio with the new music you had recorded… and you took my advice on the background vocals for the Jack and Diane remix… I was flush with pride when I heard it for the first time.

I remember when I did your voice mail message and you told me that all of your friends were asking ‘who is that white girl on your voice mail”? And you were cracking up telling me that you told them all that I was your secretary. Ha-Ha… we laughed our a$$e$ off about that one.

And when you got the tickets to go to the Grammy’s and I was going to go as your chauffeur… remember that cute little outfit I was gonna wear with the chauffeur’s hat? Wish we had gone now.

And the time you told me that I needed to help you with that video shoot? You had me rolling on the floor, dancing around the room, doing that impression of ‘Tricia and her b00bs’ in a video. Oh God, I’m laughing now just thinking about it.

I’m sorry about the fights we used to get into… didn’t seem like such a big deal then. We were sure there was plenty of time to kiss and make up… even if I always did have to call you and apologize first or you wouldn’t speak to me for days.

I’m sorry about the argument we had over the website. Little did you know, though I did try to tell you, I didn’t want the pressure and I was interested in seeing your guy’s work.

All in all I should’ve been a better big sister… I missed a lot of opportunities to be a better big sister.

I just miss you so much. I don’t take the back roads from work anymore. Driving by the entrance to your apartment complex makes me break down in tears.

I think about you every day.

I planted a desert rose and a windmill on your grave today.
The windmill was a birthday present from the kids.

We were going to have a ‘Q’ in your honor tonight, yes with a steak for you, but after the cemetery, I just couldn’t get myself motivated to fight the rain storm that had set in. It’s a rainy night in Georgia, feels like it’s rainin’ all over the world.

We all pray every day for God to work through the investigators in your case... to allow them to see with God's eyes the things that they need to solve your murder.
We also pray every day that God will work his way into the heart of your killer and he (they) will find the faith they need to come forward and admit their wrong and we pray that we may someday, find it in our hearts to forgive them for causing our loss.

Peace up A town