Last week’s question was: What is one gift your loved one left you? As you will see there were a lot of gifts sent in answer to the question. What I found was that most of all the love shines through each piece. Thanks to all who wrote. Next week’s question came from Mary-Ann at the end of the message. I can’t wait to read the responses that come in to her query.
From Mary T, surviving mother of David:
The one gift my son left me was placed in a box--I call it "my lifetime gift: The box is invisible,to you. But, visible to me, it has: A " heart filled with 36 years of love; it has a phrase "Hey Mom, I Love you mom”; it has a card-expressing his continued and everlasting love for me, throughout our years; it has a Huge Hug, and it has many kisses; it is filled with photographs of years gone by;memories of yester-years from the time he was born; it also has the dreams I've had since he left, waving and smiling telling me "I am ok, love you mom"; and it has a frame with the words he left behind "Mom, you're my Shining Angel". There is another gift he left me, but I cannot see thru my tears. The box is tied up in a pretty ribbon, Red, White, and Blue. This is the "The gift" my son left me
From Bill, surviving father of Brandon:
My son was life within life; he never wasted a moment of it. And loved it with a passion for wondering what was around the next corner. What Brandon left me are the memories. From his days as a baby to his days as a soldier he smiled and found the fun in everything. I have no time for being sad. I'm living life and he's with me smiling away!
From Caryn surviving mother of Nathan:
I now find myself in the situation of helping my parents deal with my mom's Parkinson's disease. As I walk around my parents’ house everywhere you look are pictures of my son, daughter and their children—more than anyone else because they are the oldest grandchildren, and their kids are the oldest great grandkids. My son left me all that love that still fills every room of my mom's world right now.
From Cyndi, survivingmom of Jerryboy:
What has Jerry given me? My most cherished gift is a stuffed pug. Silly, but he was about 18 years old and he bought me this dog for Christmas. I carry it with me everytime we go away and sleep with it every night. It makes me smile and yet cry. He bought it with his own money and I even brought it down to Parris Island. My real pugs won't touch it as if they know it’s special. But my most cherished memory is always going to be his birth. How much I wanted to be a Mom and how desperate I was for him. That day will be with me forever and no one can evertake those memories of how happy and how beautiful he was. His father’s face and the pure joy he brought into our lives. The other day I found the courage to go in his room, it's funny but I still feel like I'm invading his privacy bygoing through his things. But I found his t-shirt from senior day at high school. Found myself smelling it. It smelled like him, I stuffed it in my pillow on my bed. First, I let Bill smell it. He smiled and saw me stuff it in my pillow. I guess if I never had him, I'd never have any of this. So if asked, I wouldn't have changed a thing, except his death. But I will forever cherish every bit of the life I had with him.
From Bob, Lou's Dad:
When Lou was killed he had four boys, the oldest was 6. They had a lot of issues in the beginning, but have grown to be the most polite and caring boys around. When our other daughter-in-law was dying, these boys went to their cousins to comfort them.
From Jean, surviving mother of Pat:
Thank you, each and every one for the responses each week. You are definitely family in an odd way and your responses do help! Life's lessons that I learned from Patrick - Live your life to the fullest and do what makes you happy. He lived his life that way. He always wanted to fight for his country and did so for 11 years. Also during that time he lived his life as fully as possible. He lived and loved fully. The lesson I learned-life is short, live it as each day is your last. Thank You, Pat, for living your life as an example for others.
From Victoria, surviving mom of Christopher:
What was one gift that my son left me? KIA 10/27/09. Finding the Grace of God, andunderstanding that my son and the love between us is forever. And that he had tire insurance (I gave away my car and driving his) when I blew my left tire. Still looking after me!
From Rose, surviving spouse of Troy:
The first gift he taught me was to love unconditionally; he taught me how to love and to be loved. He always reminded me how much he loved me and he always surprised me with flowers, even when there were no occasions. I'm thankful, because he was my husband. Second gift was his good memories that I kept him alive in my heart. He spoiled me with different material gifts that even though some of them are broken I still want to hang on to them. He taught me how to speak English, because English is my second language. Also, he was the one who did everything, so I could finish high school here, but he didn't stop there. He also helped me go to college too. I achieved all of this because of my wonderful husband; he was the best and most perfect husband and father. My husband changed my life since the day I met him and he made sure I that I felt his love every day by telling me he loved me. This was the gift he left me, to love unconditionally, good memories and my knowledge.
From Paula, Surviving Mom of Cory:
This question is an easy answer for me. If my Cory had to leave, he left me a precious gift and his nameis Elijah. He is 1 today and a true gift from God and Cory. This baby was Cory's dream to have a family of his own.
From Leslie, surviving mother of Eugene:
My son, Eugene, was 33 when he suddenly passed away from a pulmonary embolism that we found resulted from a heart attack. There were no clues this happened. He was my boy; my joy. He died Jan 31, 2011. What he left me with was enduring love. My son was not the easiest to raise, yet he always knew no matter what he did my love for him was unconditional as I know he loved me just the same. He found himself quite quickly when he enlisted in the US Navy. He became a man. The first thing he did was to send me a letter of apology for all he put me through growing up andto tell me how much he loved me and how much he appreciated what I tried to do. We spoke every day except when he was out at sea. I think I was just about the first SKYPE mom. No matter where he was we knew exactly when to connect daily. I still feel that love in my heart. And when I am alone at night I swear I feelhim hug me. How I miss him.
From Pam, Joe's mom:
My son Joe was acomedian. He loved to laugh and make others laugh. Abi (his daughter) isthe same way. She is only 3 but loves to do funny stunts or make silly faces tomake others laugh. On the flip side, Joe was also stubborn (a trait he got fromhis father’s side of the family I’m sure. LOL ). If Abi doesn’t want to dosomething, she will dig her heels in and not budge an inch. It’s all I can donot to laugh, because I see Joe doing the same thing. God blessed us with Joefor 26 years and now we have Abi to carry on those blessings. The Nancy Graceshow on HLN is going to feature Joe on Dec. 24th. I was proud to have themhonor his memory especially so close to his "deployment to heaven" date of 11/17. God's peace.
From Frank Dad of Joe"skaky" USN (forever):
My son "shaky" left me with the words 'I LOVE YOU DAD". I put him on a plane to myfather’s house for the remainder of his leave. They were both killed in a car crash two days later. Not their fault. I am lucky, my son told me he loved me. I would give all my tomorrows, just to hear him say those words again. Dad and Joe died together, both sailors, both good, flawed men. They now are safe in the hands of our Lord. As your loved ones are as well. ALL of them. I guess my gift was Love, true, unadulterated, un-filtered, and meant. How lucky am I?
From Donna, mother of Eric:
I always thought that my son was embarrassed of me. I am (well, was) pretty loud, very talkative, fun, full of life, and made the most of every situation. Many times that personalityis embarrassing to a teenager. But, his last visit home, I noticed things had changed. I really just thought he was trying to make me feel better about him deploying for the third time. After listening to all of his battalion talk about him and their antics and his concern for all of them, I realized he had become me. The gift he gave me was not only acceptance of me as a person (not just his mom) but also loving me and liking me so much he wanted to be like me.
From Mary-Ann, surviving mom of Blake:
There are countless gifts our Blake left us. Many come to mind but the one I have pop in my mindthe most is our last day together. He and his wife joined me and his grandmother at her house. We spent the morning visiting, sharing pictures of his childhood, and just truly enjoying one another. One of those rare special times where everything was just perfect. That afternoon Blake, Kate and I went to the caverns.
I remember looking across the room at Blake and thinking the light from the window was making him glow. Now when I look back I can't help but wonder ifthis was some sort of sign of what was to come or just God making sure I had something special to remember my last day with him. That evening I prepared his favorite dinner and we continued to enjoy our time together. When it came tothat time for him to leave, he came back for a second hug. There was a sense of him having completed what he needed to do as he left with that glow about him.
Our question for next week comes from Mary-Ann: Did you have any premonitions of something going to happen? I've had others who have told me that they had had something like that happen before the loss of their loved one. Is that common?