By Marsha M. Brown
It’s been just over two months now; since my one true love and ‘Sweetie Pie’ Billy went to be with the Lord…nearly eight weeks since my life changed forever.
By most standards, I think I’m doing fairly well. I’ve issued more Dare County Veteran I. D. Card(s); I’ve again started planning our church’s annual November craft show; I’ve gone back to our Sunday morning worship services; I’ve enjoyed visits and meals with family and friends and I’ve resumed my real estate sales career. I’ve also…spent the last week sorting through some of Billy’s clothes and personal items for things I know he would want me to share with our children, loved ones and the people he cared about.
It goes without saying that with each piece of clothing I unfold and refold I remember how handsome he was wearing it; like the black button up dress shirt he wore to church and his countless veteran related T-shirts; his jeans; his countless caps boasting everything from Vietnam Veteran to V.F.W. to NASCAR to Crystal River, Florida where he loved his manatees.
Every item reminds me of Billy…how blessed I was to have been his wife…how good a man he was…and then I break down and cry all over again. The tears swell up in my eyes and fall heavy to the front of my shirt…one after the other…sometimes they soak up the napkin or tissue I keep nearby. I miss him so very much.
When I sit in the living room in my favorite chair, I stare at his big brown recliner and I grieve his absence. Everything around the room reminds me of him; the pictures we bought together; the Prayer Shawl that dear friends brought after we knew Billy was sick; the clear flower vase that our friend Beth had brought full of flowers to cheer up the room; the harness for ‘Pepper’ his 8.5 lb Yorkie and inseparable side kick…then my eyes shift into the dining room where his beautiful red, white and blue urn embellished with gold sits beside the picture of him in his U. S. Army uniform and the folded triangle shaped wooden U. S. Flag box that was handed to me at the close of his memorial service.
I love my veteran husband so much. I miss his voice, his laugh, his tears over everything patriotic, his verbalization of pride in fellow veteran ‘brothers and sisters’ and his frequent expressions of true love of country.
God has given me peace about where Billy is…I know that Heaven is a joyous place and void of sorrow…that gives me comfort each and every day. I am a believer in Jesus Christ, salvation and God’s grace, forgiveness and everlasting love. At times waves of missing him, his voice and his embrace come over me and like a good veteran friend told me the other day…”sometimes time makes it better and sometimes it makes it worse” and she was right. I’m doing the best I can…like all widows and widowers…I am not really alone…but on occasion you can be in a crowded room and without the one you love beside you it has a tendency to feel that way.
I also find comfort in knowing you all are out there caring about how I feel or missing Billy too…so thank you. I can’t thank you enough for all that you have done for Billy before he passed and me and our kids. I’m grateful and touched. Very sincerely, I thank you. Thank you too for all the wonderful things YOU do to help our veterans, to honor them and to celebrate their service.
Our protection, our security and our well being depends on our military first and foremost. Think of our military personnel…ALL BRANCHES…think of them often and pray for our troops…pray for our leaders and politicians…they all need prayer…without exception. Remember the sacrifice of all our brave Americans who have given so much for all of us. Remember their bravery and deliberate acts of kindness shown one to another. We are a people and a country who sticks together as Billy would say, “Always and forever!”
God bless the young people who join our Armed Forces today, I’m so proud of them. And God bless our senior veterans, our WWII and Korean War veterans…and our Vietnam veterans…thank you all. America is great because we, as Americans make it so. Our veteran’s courage, stamina and unwavering faith is the glue that holds us together.
A ton of events will be coming up in the next two months that will embrace our veterans…PLEASE, PLEASE come out and support them! Speaking of which, another avid veteran supporter, Lisa Brickhouse Davis, organizer of the ”Dare2Care OBX Shred Fest” will be honoring the 4,000+ Dare County (and all veterans) Saturday, October 1st in Nag Head – Soundside Event Site from 2pm to 9pm, so please look for the posters and follow up on the event. The Dare County Veterans Advisory Council has been invited to participate and be on hand to issue Dare County Veteran I. D. Card(s). In essence and according to Lisa, the event will help “bring awareness, support, healing and encouragement to our area veterans”. She also stressed that “music programs with an emphasis on those suffering from PTSD and TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury).
Lisa has worked very hard to put this event together but for now, mark your calendars and plan to bring your family for the sake of our veterans and special needs community members!
Remember our Veterans Advisory Council meeting is held every 4th Thursday of each month, Dare County Administrative Building, 954 Marshall C. Collins Dr., Manteo (in the middle building of the complex facing the Dare County Justice Center). The meeting begins at 3PM and all are invited to attend.
If you know a veteran who has recently moved to the area, please ask them to call me: cell (252) 202-2058. I want to tell them how blessed they are to live in Dare County where their fellow vets, our churches, neighbors and businesses appreciate and embrace them.
Until next time…be happy, be safe and be proud. We press forward in the face of adversity…we are tough…we are strong…and we have the U. S. Army, U. S. Navy, U. S. Marine Corps, U. S. Air Force and U. S. Coast Guard to back us up.
Thank God and thank all of you veterans! Be good and love each other. Stay tuned.