Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Those Moments You Don't Forget

We all have those moments that we don’t forget. We know exactly where we were and exactly what we were doing and exactly whom we were with.

I remember the exact building I was walking into when my mom called and said, “Grandma Billie has fallen and she’s at the hospital. You might want to plan to come home soon to visit.” I remember just a couple of hours later walking out of the same building—the biology building at UGA—sitting on a bench when I heard my mom say, “she didn’t make it Kristin.”

I remember the exact living room and the people surrounding me when I received word that my dear friend Katie had passed away, and only at the age of 20.

I remember standing in the Atlanta airport checking my voicemail coming back from Honduras and hearing a hysterical youth on the other end-to discover my dear friend Ashlee, 19, had died in a car wreck.

I’m pretty sure my mom remembers exactly where she was when I called from Honduras to tell her we had been in a horrible accident. I can guarantee you that 25 sets of parents know exactly where they were when they received the phone call from my mom relaying the information.

And Friday, August 7th added another one of those moments. It was mid afternoon and the Comcast lady finally showed up to collect our equipment that we had from the apartment. They were supposed to come between 8-11 and it was 3:45. I was outside for a while talking with her and when I walked back in, I picked up my phone and saw that I had missed a couple of calls. I knew immediately from the list of missed calls, to the order that they had come in, something was wrong. I have to confess; I sat down on the couch and didn’t return any phone calls right away. I knew the moment I called back, my life as I knew it, wouldn’t be the same. I wanted one more moment of normalcy. I know this is selfish, but I just sat there. Finally about 15 minutes passed and I returned the phone calls in the order that I had received them. The info I heard on the other line was, “Kristin, Matt died. He was killed in Afghanistan this morning.” I will never forget exactly where I was standing when I heard it for the first time.

There really aren’t words to express what we are all feeling right now. I, along with most, I’m assuming, walked around for the rest of the day in a state of shock, just saying over and over again, “this can’t be happening.” I waited till Robert got home from work and we headed out about midnight for Richmond Hill. We had the opportunity to visit with the family on Saturday and I still can’t believe this is real.

Matt and I went to high school together. Him and I weren’t exactly best friends, but his family and I were very close. His two younger sisters came through the RHUMC Youth Group while I was the Youth Minister and they are both very very dear to my heart. I have also become pretty close to Ms. Lisa, Matt’s mom, over the years. I have to say, I love that woman. As I visited with the family and looked into their precious eyes, I looked at Ms. Lisa and thought, wow, this woman really trusted me. I took her oldest daughter to Guatemala and her youngest to Costa Rica. I listened to Ms. Lisa quote Ephesians 6 to me and realized she’s clinging to Him. Still trusting Him.

I have so much more I could say and have been trying to formulate words for the past few days, but I am going to go ahead and close with this,

To quote the newspapers, “Capt. Freeman was assigned to Aircraft Group 36, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, III Marine Expeditionary Force in Okinawa, Japan. He had volunteered for ground duty to help train the Afghan military and was killed while supporting combat operations in the Kapisa Province. Freeman was a 1998 graduate of Richmond Hill High School and a 2002 graduate of the US Naval Academy.”

Matt, you are dearly loved and dearly missed. You are our hero. Thank you for making the ultimate sacrifice for us and for our country. We will never forget you.

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