Happy Birthday, Dear Friend

He was gone from this world too soon. My heart still breaks when I think about his passing. OJ, were you ever happy? Were you ever at peace? Today you would have been 31. I never had the opportunity to watch you play. I can only go online and see highlights from your college days, and the Titans.

But, when I search your name, news of your death shows first. I remember when I first heard. I was in Afghanistan. I was heading out on a convoy. Rosie sent me a FB message, so I called my dad from a prepaid cellphone. He confirmed it. I didn’t cry in those days. But, I remember my hands shaking. I had to go, because we were about to roll out. A buddy of mine – my gunner, a good friend of mine to this day, is the only one I told, because I wasn’t okay, and he knew it. We were in the back of the M-RAP together for like 8 or more hours, at least three times a week. He even taught me how to man the gun.. We became good friends. Well, heck, I loved my truck, I even drove sometimes… They treated their medic well, haha…

In any case, thinking of you took my mind off of the fact that I was losing my marriage. Of course, you were already gone. There are times, even now, when I am having a tough time, that you show up in my dreams. I wonder where you are? The Bible says that God won’t put more on us than we can bear. I have a difficult time with your death. I have read that you were laying there, for hours still alive. It breaks my heart. Did you have thoughts? Did you regret it? Did you want to live? Kevin Hines, the guy who jumped off the Golden Gate Bridge and survived said that as soon as he jumped, he regretted it. Of all the people you reached out to, if one tried to stop you, would it have changed your decision? I wish I had been on your list. I know I was in Afghanistan. You had no way of even contacting me. I was married, you wouldn’t have contacted me. I wish you were alive. I am still so sorry about the way you have passed. Your family is still reeling from your passing. July 30th is forever in our hearts. You were so young, so beautiful. My heart is so sad.

Happy Birthday, Dear One! Wherever you may be… I pray you are resting in the arms of Jesus. I pray we will reunite again. I hope to have solace when I think of you. You are forever young in my memories. A legend, I will remember well.

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