Monday, January 14, 2013

Brooke

Many years ago, Justin & I decided not to have children. This was a disappointment  to my parents (& his) but we were just too busy & made the conscience decision to not have children ourselves.

But my sister did (she's 10 years my junior) .... thank goodness, she took all our pressure away! I remember the day she called me to tell me I was going to be an Aunt. It was late & I was still at the office with only a few people around. Once she gave me the news, I just started squealing (like a happy girl)! The few left on my floor came running but were relieved to find that I was screaming from happiness. I.was.going.to.be.an.aunt!


The birth, the coming Christmases & Birthdays were wonderful. My sister & BIL always brought her to our house 2 days before Thanksgiving & we babysat & would do projects that she loved, & return her on Thanksgiving Day. Her sister came along 4 years later & both of them came to our house for this 'ritual' year after year.

I think this my favorite all time picture of her as a child.

My 2nd all time favorite. Uncle making her laugh. Getting ready for a parade.

The family.

She was so sure of herself!

Cooking crab legs w/Uncle.
We also spent several New Year's Eve with those 2, as my Dad's side of the family always had their family reunion around that time & they would always sleep at our house.

She was insistent on driving at that age.

Then she let her sister drive.
At 6, Brooke insisted she was going to be a nurse when she grew up. I also 'mentioned' that I would take her wherever she wanted to go (within the continental United States) when she turned 16. She announced then, that she wanted to go to NY.

10 years later, 6 months before her 16th birthday, she reminded me of my promise. We agreed on a date & I immediately made reservations for flights & hotels, telling her that she had to find restaurants & other things to do. She did & I made arrangements for it all. We went to NY in 2008 & saw  a couple of plays, bought purses in China Town, ate at wonderful restaurants & shopped to her heart's content. We did all that she wanted, Statue of Liberty, Central Park, Macy's, Greenwich Village, Little Italy, etc.

She was so glad to have seen Lady Liberty!
The last day we were there we stumbled upon a street market. It was windy & rainy & we came upon a vendor at a street market from Venice selling glass jewelry. He looked at her & told  her that she was "just lovely". She gushed about that. No one had ever described her as 'lovely'. Lots of people told her how beautiful, smart, sweet, nice, kind, etc. But, never 'lovely'. She loved that term. I will always cherice the necklace from that day.

She graduated in 2010, as class president.


After graduation, she started planning her wedding & began nursing school & started a job at one of the local hospitals.

At her job, all the full-time nurses wanted her to work with them & all the patients wanted to take her home with them. I know this because my Dad's wife has worked at that same hospital, as a nurse, for over 20 years & was told this same thing about her, over & over again.

She had met her future husband at 15 years years of age, the year before we went to NY. At one point in NY, I asked her if she shouldn't broaden her range & make sure he was THE one. She explained to me, her silly Aunt, that she had made up her mind & that was that. She loved him & his sister & parents & that made all the difference in the world. They loved her & she could tell, just as I knew with Uncle Justin, that it was the right choice. I agreed with her & let it go.

At 20 she got married. She was a beautiful bride, with nothing but love & excitement in her heart for the future.



In the next picture she isn't posing for the camera at all, just looking at the person she loved so much, & knowing that he loved her the same. Oh how happy she was on that day!


On Saturday night the 15th of December they had celebrated Christmas with her husband's Grandmother. It was such a beautiful night, they decided to ride the dirt roads on their ATVs. At one point, her husband missed the turn onto another road & slammed on brakes. Brooke wasn't expecting the sudden stop & hit her on head on what we think was the roll bar of the Ranger she was riding in.

It was just a terrible accident. The next 3 days were a bit of a blur, visitors stopping by to give hugs & bring food. Then the families having to make the funeral arrangements, the viewing & then the funeral itself.

There were 800 people that attended the viewing. Along with my Sister & BIL & Brooke's husband & his family, my 16 year old niece stood there & greeted every.single.one of those people. The funeral was the next day with about 500 or so in attendance. It just proved to all of us, how much people loved & respected her.

Just a note on the funeral ... I had written earlier about southern traditions & that people, no matter where they are headed or how big of a hurry they are in the pull to the side of the road to pay their respects to friends & family when they come upon a funeral procession. I noticed 2 such occurrences during Brooke's procession.

The 1st was the county Sheriff at the first turn just past the church. He was in a suit & tie, instead of his usual uniform, as he had attended the service as a family friend. Even though he wasn't on duty & could have let another officer do that 1st turn, he stepped in & stopped traffic on a US highway to let those in mourning pass, as HIS show of respect.

Along the route various drivers we met along the way stopped to pay their respects ... cement & dump truck drivers, mothers & fathers on their way home, school buses full of children, etc.

But what caught our eye was one young man in particular.

After driving along the US highway for a couple of miles, we turned onto 'the back roads' heading to the cemetery where Brooke was to be laid to rest. We passed a neighborhood that contains houses on 5 - 10 acre lots. Most have swing sets, some have gardens, some animals, etc. Along the way, at the end of one of these driveways by the road, sat a boy 8 - 10 years on his go-cart.

He had stopped riding & shut off his 'vehicle', watching us, until we passed. It was truly touching that this child, without his parents immediate direction, knew to do what he did. It made me cry all the harder, but made me believe that there is hope in our future generation!

The following pictures were taken last December (2011), by Brooke's best friend, as a gift to my sister. These are just 2 of the loveliest photos I have to look back on.

Brooke on the left.


Brooke on the right.
Her sister is again quoting silly things on Twitter along with scripture, which makes me feel that she will go on with her life, as it should be.

I miss Brooke with my whole being, but I do know that she is in heaven awaiting all of us. She was called to heaven the day after that horrible CT massacre. Maybe she was needed to help take care of those precious children? It's definitely what she was called to do... help others.

We stopped by the grave site on our way home the other day. We won't be going there to 'visit' her because she isn't there. It will only be a place to reflect on her life on occasion.

I am still very sad. I am ok when I am around others or working on something. But when I am alone, the tears come back ... mostly on my drives to & from work & during my shower just before bed. I am really trying hard not to think of what might have been. I have to push those thoughts away because there is no need in thinking them because nothing will change the fact that she's gone & certain things will never be.

POEM of LIFE (Author unknown)

Life is but a stopping place,
A pause in what's to be,
A resting place along the road,
To sweet eternity.

We all have different journeys,
Different paths along the way.
We all were meant to learn some things,
But never meant to stay..

Our destination is a place,
Far greater than we know.
For some the journey's quicker,
For some the journey's slow.

And when the journey finally ends,
We'll claim a great reward,
And find an everlasting peace,
Together with the Lord.

Update: I heard my sister laugh, however brief, this past weekend. Also, my younger niece requested that Brooke's husband & one of his best friends go to church w/her on Sunday. She picked them up & they had lunch afterwards. Life does go on, no matter how painful.

22 comments:

  1. DFW,

    Please accept our heartfelt condolences on the loss of Brooke.

    May you take comfort in knowing an angel is watching over you.

    If there is anything I can do for you or your family, please don't hesitate to let me know.

    Your Friend,
    Sandy

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    1. Thank you my dear friend. Yes, she is watching over all of us. We just have to live through this next year & the ones after that.

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  2. DFW - Brooke was waaaay too precious for this world! Our Lord had plans for her right from the beginning...He would share her with us only for a little while but then needed her for bigger things (the timing of her passing can not be a coincidence!!!)

    thank you for sharing such a beautiful, young girl with us when we are all worried about the future. we have no need to worry. there are so many beautiful children out there and they will fix the future for us. i just know it.

    Brooke was a tad too special right from birth...i think that you all knew that. and Our Lord shared her for as long as he could. then He needed her back. and He knows that you will all understand. He knows that you will all be left with a big hole in your hearts...but He knows that you are all strong enough and capable enough and understanding enough to know that when God needs one of His angels...he calls them.

    she is still such a beautiful girl. you will see her again when it is time.

    please try to stop hurting. she would not want that. she wants you to live each day to the fullest, knowing that when the time comes, you and all of her family will be together forever.

    i am sending warm and healing thoughts to you, my friend.

    your friend,
    kymber

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    1. Thank you my sweet kymber. Only you could put into words what I am feeling. She was not only beautiful outside, but inside as well.

      I WILL stop hurting, sometime in the far too distant future, but it will stop, eventually....

      Thank you my friend.

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  3. What a wonderfully amazing tribute to Brooke. Some things just don't make sense, and this is one of them. It's true life goes on, but it's never the same.

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    1. Thank you Leigh. You are right, life will never be the same.

      Note: I'm still having trouble w/Blogger. I can't convince them that you are NOT spam!

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  4. DFW, I am so heartsick to read of your loss. I will keep you and your family in my prayers.

    Blessings,
    Red

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  5. I am sorry for your loss. I think one of the hardest things is to watch life move on without a loved one. Life dose not stop and wait for the grieving it drags us along. She is a very beautiful young woman. Prayer lifted. Blessings!
    Lara

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    1. Lara, I know how much I ache & can only imagine a Mother's grief. God bless you.

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  6. What a moving and sweet tribute to a very, very lovely young woman!! I so wish that I had the words to make everything okay for you, sadly I don't. My heart aches for you and your family and you remain in my prayers.

    I remember the frist time that my daughter and I laughed after we lost Daddy. It felt so strange to laugh again, but I was glad that we had both laughed together. Big hugs to you friend!!!!

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    1. Thank you Melanie. Until blogland, I never knew how good cyber hugs were. I am blessed to be married to a witty man (very dry wit at that) & he's the one that made my sister briefly laugh.

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  7. Oh DFW, How my heart aches for you and your family. How fortunate you were to have such a loving relationship. I hope in time you find peace and always cherish the wonderful memories. Thank you for sharing a most heartfelt and moving tribute.

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    1. Thank you so much Tonya. Those memories will definitely live in my heart forever!

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  8. Tears for you.

    Beautifully written.

    She will always be with you.

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  9. Oh, DFW! I would give you a big hug if I could. She was called home much too early, but I hope you can find solace in knowing that she's now watching over you and you will see her again some day.

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    1. Thanks CP. And, yes I do feel her presence.

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  10. I am just so sorry for you and your family. What a beautiful, special niece. I am so glad that you will always have those special memories of the fun y'all had in New York. I will continue to pray for peace and comfort for you and your family for the days ahead. What a blessing it is when we know where are loved ones are, and know that we will one day be re-unitied.

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  11. Brooke is a lovely girl. I am so sorry for your family's loss of this precious young woman from Earth, but you are absolutely correct. God calls those He needs, and I have absolutely no doubt of this.
    Four years ago now, my youngest son Daniel was talking to us the morning after Thanksgiving. My husband and I were about to tumble out of bed and take him Christmas shopping. Then, Daniel walked into the bathroom and we heard a crash. When I defeated the door lock Daniel, who had no prior known health issues, was in a full cardiac arrest. Despite the best CPR of my lifetime, and being a critical care RN, I never got him back. The sheriff who is also an EMT also got nowhere and the helicopter which came to take him to a major medical center, couldn't restart his heart either.
    Daniel's autopsy was negative. We still don't know exactly how God called him that day. I do know that God can call anytime he wishes, and that these callings do have purpose. I have a bereavement blog called: www.learnedfromdaniel.blogspot.com

    Some of it is inspiring, and some of it is simply my startled bewilderment.
    I send hugs and condolences in this difficult time. We will indeed be reunited !

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    1. Thank you so much Jane. I can't even imagine what you went through. You, my sister & many others are in a 'club' of your own. One that I know you would NEVER want to be a member of. It just isn't fair but we have to trust God. Please, just know that I feel some of your pain.

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