A Special Message from Debbie Lee
Through the ages we have celebrated the birthdays of famous people who have impacted our history. Our national calendars are marked with George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Dr Martin Luther King, Benjamin Franklin, and Christopher Columbus birthdays. The dates of our calendar are based on the birth of Jesus Christ.
As a mother, those birthdays that are most memorable to us are those of our children. The days that we labored and suffered intense pain to help the precious gift of a child pass from life in the womb to life in our arms. We never forget those special days and they are always highlighted on our calendars. Whether it is the first birthday or 40th birthday we celebrate each one, knowing the gift of life that God blessed us with.
I was blessed with two sons and one daughter and even though they share the same mother and father and grew up in the same home they are uniquely different. Even though they are adults now, my calendar is still marked with their special dates, and I celebrate who they are, what they have contributed to making this world a better place, and that God chose me to be their mom.
One of the difficult things for a parent who loses a child, is dealing with the birthday after they have died. I remember not long after Marc was killed, I was filling out a form and it asked “How many children do you have?” My heart sank and I didn’t know what the right answer was. I had to think about that. Today I can tell you “I have 3 children, one just beat me to Heaven.”
As you process through grief you learn ways to cope and handle the difficult days. Since today would have been Marc’s 36th birthday, I naturally think of how much I miss that young man. I remember the day he was born at 5:20pm. My mind wanders to the memories of bringing him home to his excited 3 year old brother and 2 year old sister. Marc at age 5, when he rode his bike down a hill, into a cement wall and was knocked unconscious because the brakes had failed. Seeing him in that hospital bed with his stuffed lion next to him and watching him wake up and him asking what had happened.
I can still hear his exhausted, raspy voice when he called to tell me he had made it through BUDs (Navy SEAL School). I can still see his smirky grin after he graduated and earned the honor of being a Navy SEAL. He was so proud, as were all of his family.
I remember his final hug as he left after he came to visit me just before he deployed. I remember my final goodbye at Fort Rosecrans Nat’l Cemetery as I fell and hugged the casket realizing I would never feel his embrace, see his smile, hear his voice and laughter. As I said before I have learned ways to cope through the grief.
You can’t ignore grief, you must process through it and accept it. Everything we do we have choices to make and this year on his birthday I choose to remember and honor Marc and the way he lived his life. I will be visiting Fort Rosecrans and will have a birthday dinner with my “adopted boys”, Marc’s teammates who are in the area, we will have cake. After all, it is still Marc’s birthday.
The majority of my day will be spent accepting Marc’s challenge in his last letter home to do random acts of kindness. He ended that letter with “to my family and friends do me a favor, pass on the kindness, the love, the precious gift of human life.” I will be finding members of the military and buying meals, coffee, handing out gift cards, flowers and then giving them a copy of Marc’s last letter home, a thank you card, and Marc’s hero card.
Each time I do this it brings so much joy knowing I am honoring Marc and giving others a glimpse into the heart of this amazing hero, my son, my mighty warrior.
My challenge to each of you is to do the same, help me celebrate Marc’s 36th Birthday by doing random acts of kindness today and giving that someone a copy of Marc’s last letter home. Take pictures to document what random acts of kindness you did, then send them to us at firstname.lastname@example.org or post them on our Facebook page or Twitter.
God loaned me Marc for 28 years and he has been deployed to Heaven for a new mission. Marc believed Jesus Christ was his Lord and Savior and there is no doubt that we know Marc is there today. I also believe and know I will one day be in Heaven when God calls me home but until then…… by God’s strength, with Marc’s joy, passion and love for life I stay in the battle for our troops and the families of the fallen. I choose to thank God for all the gifts and blessings he has given to me.
Okay now wipe the tears, print Marc’s letter and let’s go change the world!!
HOOYAH MARC LEE!!! I love you forever, Happy 36th birthday in Heaven!