I know that all the young men that served with Chad left a piece of themselves in Afghanistan and I know they may in some way even struggle with some survivor's guilt. I hope if any of them ever read my blog that they know they should not ever have survivor's guilt. Chad was doing what he wanted to be doing and he made that choice very clear and he loved each and every one of those guys and would have it no other way.
As his mom, I would have given my own life for Chad (as I am sure any parent would do), but that was not in God's plan. There isn't a moment that I take a breath that I don't miss my son, but I do find some peace in knowing he is in God's arms and that he is finally safe.
I also know that I have been blessed with about 100 Marines that will forever be "bonus sons" to me and Tebo. They go out of their way to check in with us on a regular basis and there aren't many people who can say that about their child's friends/brothers. I hear from at least one of them every other week and some times more often and I heard from every one of them on Mother's Day. It's amazing what just a text, phone call, or Face Book message does for a mom when her own son can't reach out. I guess in a way he did, just through them.
I'm not angry that the other guys came home. In fact, completely the opposite. I'm so thankful and happy that they made it home and most of them have re-joined the civilian life and I believe they have all secured jobs or are attending college now. I couldn't be more proud of them all. They are moving forward and living life and that is exactly what I know for a fact that Chad wanted for them.
I do wonder what Chad would be doing right now. He might be in law enforcement somewhere (something he always wanted to do) or starting a family (he would have been an amazing father) or just living the dream somewhere, but instead he will forever be 22 1/2 years old and living in heaven with the angels and never hurting or being afraid again.
So for all my "bonus sons" congratulations for coming home and for your 1 year anniversary back on US Soil and for those that are still serving, you stay safe and know that you always have a cheerleader in me... To all of you, THANK YOU! Thank you for your service, your sacrifices, loving me & Tebo, and most importantly, for loving my son the way you do. You are never far from my thoughts and always in my heart.
Chad, you have always been my heart, always my hero, now you are my angel!
|At Camp Pendleton before boarding the bus to leave for Afghanistan 2010|
|In Afghanistan 2010|
|Chad on the radio in Afghanistan 2010|
|Chad's memorial 5-25-2011... Seth, Zach S, Zach W, Shawn|