Sunday, December 9, 2012

Article #10: "Letter To Heaven..."

The Christmas season has arrived! Colorful lights outline homes, decorated trees twinkle in picture windows and favorite Christmas carols play on the radio! I love this time of the year. My mother had journeyed down to her basement to bring up the plastic storage containers marked, “Christmas D├ęcor” along with the nine foot pre-lit Christmas tree. Rummaging through boxes of miscellaneous items still needing to be sorted through from the move, she stumbled upon a shoebox filled with letters. I had just finished up dishes from the evening’s meal when I received my mother’s phone call asking me to come right away. She explained to me over the phone that she had been looking for my Christmas stocking, and she found something that I needed to see immediately. Less than fifteen minutes later I was sitting on the edge of my mother’s bed when she handed me the bundle of envelopes. I sat overwhelmed as I realized what the envelopes were: letters to my mother from my brother when he was away at boot camp in South Carolina in September of 2001. As I began to flip through the envelopes, I hesitated. There, in my hands among the envelopes, written in my brother's handwriting was a letter addressed to me. I looked at my mother. She began to cry, "I found it within the stack. It must have gotten lost, but now, it is yours." I carefully pulled the letter from the others, and I opened it.

Dear Butt-C, (a term of endearment between my brother and me)

Hey, what's up! It's 1:50 am on Sat. morning, I'm in boots & camouflage working "guard duty"...this stinks!

I just wanted to write & tell you that I do miss you and that I am SORRY for the way I've been the last year or so...I've been a walking PBS special.

I hope we can mend our troubles. How is your family doing?'re not pregnant again...are you? HA!!!

Oh, you ask "how's boot camp?"’s TOUGH!

Anyway, write back if you can!

Your brother Cal

PS. I love you.

I cannot begin to tell you what filled my thoughts, my mind, my heart. You see, my brother enlisted in the US Army in May of 2001. He was sent to Fort Jackson, South Carolina for boot camp and was later stationed in Junction City, Kansas at Ft. Riley. Before enlisting, Cal had been tangled in a nasty web of bad decisions. The Army was his "escape,” his fresh start.

I held the letter my brother wrote to me eleven years ago, and after reading it a dozen times, I grabbed a piece of my good stationary, and I began to write:

Dear Cal,

Let me begin by telling you how very proud I am of you! You were an amazing father to your two precious babies. You could light up a room and make everyone laugh, not just any laugh, but a gut-wrenching, deep belly laugh. Your smile was crooked, but could bring out the joy in all of us. Your love for our mother was unique, strong, real, and still lives within her heart even though it is broken. Your heart was as big as Texas, and the love you held for ALL of your family...well, we can still feel it today!

Everyone has made mistakes Cal, including me. Without our mistakes, we wouldn't be able to grow, to learn, to share our testimony with others. Your mistakes do not define who you were, Cal.

You are so loved, and even as you wait patiently above, we still love you, here from earth. This outpouring of love for you was greatly represented at your service, where over 1,500 people, dear brother, came to honor YOU. It was YOUR day, a day I feel that you never had but much deserved; and sadly, it became a day that none of us expected, nor how we had planned "your" day to be.

I miss much that it literally hurts my heart. But I also envy you, the love you must feel from our Heavenly Father, the warmth that envelops you, and the unending happiness you must feel above.

Know that I am here, representing your memory, loving on your babies...adamant that they remember you and know how deeply and completely you loved them and always will.

Forever missing you,

Your sister “Butt-C”

PS. I love you, too.

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