I did not post on the 23rd, the day of the 2nd anniversary of Doug and Brian’s death. Someone very close to Brian said its almost like we are to celebrate their murders. I can see that side of things. I also see the other side that we are honoring their legacies by remembering them on such a horrific date. I love fall season, but now it is a bittersweet time of the year.
2 years ago yesterday we were burying Doug. A husband. A soulmate. A father. A son. A brother. A best friend. I could go on. Not 1 person in Doug’s life was prepared to bury him that day, I am certain. I still cry when I read the passage below by his dear friend Bryant Hall who ended up reading it at Doug’s funeral because to me it was perfect (as well as what Jeremy Breland wrote and read). And of course with our 17 years together there is so much I could say about him as well. Like when we were out on 1 of his last birthdays with the boys in the car and he insisted on pulling over to help an elderly couple change their tire (not the 1st or even 3rd time he’d helped a stranger change a flat tire). Or when we were on the phone and he was on his way home from work and a car accident happened right in front of him and he told me he needed to pull over to help in any way he could (again not the 1st or even 3rd time he’s tried to help in a car accident that didn’t involve him). Again I could go on. Helping came naturally to him. I can say with certainty we buried an amazing man 2 years ago.
IF I have shared this post of Bryant’s before forgive me but its worth sharing many times:
Jeremy asked us to write what we remember about Doug to be placed in a book for Doug’s boys so they can know how loved their father was. It is a big task and I …will leave things out, but I will try.
I remember meeting Doug in middle school when we were both friends of Jeff Green and Doug had the locker under mine. I remember we were driving in his Nova to go swimming when the brakes went out and we still went swimming. I remember working at fox’s pizza. He made us a special pizza with double crust and double sauce and he dropped it on my CRX and we still ate it. I remember after work we would drive through the high school parking lot to scare the people who were making out. I remember him working at UPS overnight and he would say he couldn’t do anything Sunday night, and we still did things on Sunday night.
I remember he had more best friends than most people have casual acquaintances. I remember his wedding and how excited he was. I remember the door to his house in Pinson was always open. I remember his swimming pool and custom Harley motorcycle. I remember how excited he was to move to Cullman and his massive Dodge truck. I remember he found Tiffany’s old Dream Phone board game and he insisted we sit in the floor and call imaginary boys to find out if they liked us. I remember our trip to Gatlinburg and being snowed in and sitting in the hot tub during a blizzard until the hot tub broke and we were driven back into the cabin. I remember him buying a house in my neighborhood. I remember he cut my grass when he knew I was having a rough time.
I remember how excited he was to be having twin boys. I remember he always had plans for their future, how one was going to be the sports star and the other was going to be the academic. I remember he would drag out the raggedy old inflatable waterslide every warm weekend until we could no longer patch all the holes in it.
I remember the time he was the funniest person I knew. I remember the time he always gave selflessly. I remember the time he told me he loved me on the phone while I was working and made me say it back to him. I remember the time he told me he loved me and he was serious. I remember the time I was so broke I couldn’t fix my car and he came and changed the starter lying in the gutter of Morris Avenue. I remember fishing with him and I remember was always ready to do something new. I remember he loved great music and film. I remember the last time I saw him. I remember we made plans to get together. I remember the next time I will see him, and as always, I am looking forward to it.
There are things I look back on and would have done differently in regards to his funeral. I just was floating in the widow’s fog and wasn’t fully thinking things through. One of his best friends who he loved like family was Jason Hendrix, his best man in our wedding. In my fog I left Jason off as a pall bearer. Without a doubt Doug would have wanted him as one. These are just things we didn’t discuss at our young age so the answers didn’t come easy when the time did come. I can hear a joke that with Jason’s size they wouldn’t have needed anymore pall bearers. I have apologized to Jason and of course he understands, its just not something I can forgive myself for as easily. Other things that happened that I would have done differently…the plan was an open casket for all. But once I saw my Doug, I realized I wanted that to be family only. So the place began to fill up with wonderful people waiting to pay their respects, and I said we could end the family portion early to help crowd control. I slipped out to the ladies room, and when I returned his casket had been closed. No final goodbyes. That was a knife to the chest. In my right mind I would have requested it to be reopened so I could have a brief moment, but in the end I know that wasn’t Doug there. So I try not to be too hard on myself with that. There are other things but that is all that I will type in this post. Of course my keyboard is covered in tears reliving that day 2 years ago. A day that should have never happened. What I do know is Doug is in Heaven reunited with all his lost family members and I also know that he is with me and the boys daily. Many days I receive signs proving it. I have images from the anniversary of his death, but those may go in my next blog post. Until then…
And He said to him, “Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise.” (Luke 23:43)