Death at the front door: Part I

May 25, 2014

Seven and a half years later and I can still feel this.

Mssc54's Weblog

It had been one of those Mondays so my wife and I went up to bed around nine that night. 

Our daughter and son-in-law had moved back in with us the previous May when his National Guard unit was activated to deploy to Afghanistan.  They had married a little over a year before and moved to Buddy’s small home town of Poteau, Oklahoma so Alexis could get to know his family before he deployed.  It was always in the plans for her to stay with us while he was gone.

Our evening had been pretty uneventful.  Except that Lex mentioned (around six) that she hadn’t heard from Buddy yet and was wondering what was going on.  He would usually call her ever day.   On this particular day he was supposed to call her to let her know which of the pictures he liked best. 

You see Buddy had come home for…

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My Angel Story

February 17, 2014

Mssc54's Weblog

June 1999

 

My father was an abusive alcoholic, who was out of town 4-5 nights a week.  He used to just beat the tar out of me, so much so that my mom would have to “pull him off” of me. I was second in the birth order with 4 sisters and my brother came along when I was 13.

 

He (my dad) used to take me to his girl friend’s (secretary’s) house and I would have to wait out in the car.  I can still see her standing on the steps with that blond hair up in a bun and that yellow dress on, holding the screen door open for my dad.

 

When I turned 13 we had “the talk”.  My dad told me that if I ever had the chance to “get” a girl, I should do it, that I may be able to get…

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My Angel Story (via Mssc54’s Weblog)

September 28, 2010

My Angel Story June 1999   My father was an abusive alcoholic, who was out of town 4-5 nights a week.  He used to just beat the tar out of me, so much so that my mom would have to "pull him off" of me. I was second in the birth order with 4 sisters and my brother came along when I was 13.   He (my dad) used to take me to his girl friend’s (secretary's) house and I would have to wait out in the car.  I can still see her standing on the steps with that blond hair … Read More

via Mssc54's Weblog


Fatherless or Not?

November 23, 2008

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Sunday was a bitter sweet celebration for us.  Little Cooper turned two years old.  On the one hand it’s difficult to believe that it’s been two years since his birth… and also twenty-one months since his daddy while serving as an Army Combat Medic was killed by that Taliban Sniper.

If you haven’t yet read about Buddy here it is https://mssc54.wordpress.com/our-american-hero/  also, these are most of the things on the internet about him: https://mssc54.wordpress.com/buddy/

Early on in our “journey” things were dark and difficult.  Grief is a very strange thing.  This grief is completely different from any other I have experienced.

You see, most people don’t know that Buddy never met his father… not once.  He was so determined to be the daddy to little Cooper that he never had.  We are so glad that he was home for two weeks leave when baby Cooper was born.  Those two weeks are precious to all of us.  Buddy was kinda selfish with his little son.  It was difficult for most anyone else to get some “face time” with new born Cooper.  Buddy was feeding him, changing his diapers, getting up in the night (letting his bride rest) all of it.  One of my favorite pictures is of Buddy burping Cooper with an empty baby bottle on the coffee table in the foreground.

Initially, I was comsumed with hatred for “those Muslims terrorists”.  Honestly I allowed myself to fall in to that trap of hating all Muslims. 

I won’t go so far as to say that I am probably like “most” people but I’m probably like a lot of people.  I have to be on guard not to lump all people of a certain “group” (be it religious, race, ect.) into the same steriotypicle thought process.

Not all Muslims have hijacked their faith into a violant blood thirsty belief.  Not all whites have the loathsum beliefs as the skin-heads or the KKK.  Not all black men are drug abusing, gun toting thugs.

However, I will admit, I do still have to purposely… intentionally have to check my motive when I interact with these groups of individuals.  The problem I have is knowing where to draw the line on my and my family’s safety and being so tolerant and accepting that I put my family at risk.

In the end I have to rely on one thing.  Believe it or not I have to trust in my relationship with the Trinity.  As I “seek ye first the Kingdom of God” I MUST BELIEVE AND TRUST THAT HE IS FAITHFUL TOO NEVER LEAVE ME NOR FORSAKE ME!!

I can hear the thoughts of some of you.  Asking, “How can you say that when your God allowed your SIL, your twenty-three year old daughter’s husband, your three month old grandson’s daddy get killed.”

Admittedly, initially, this question has been very difficult for me to wrap my mind around.  It didn’t happen over night (or even a few weeks) but eventually I was “awakened” to the fact that God is God and man is man.  Man is inherently corrupt and violant in nature.  God is merciful, loving and all knowing.

God knew Buddy was going to be killed.  God knew that Alexis was going to be widowed at the age of twenty-three and left to raise their baby as a single mom.  God knew that baby Cooper was not going to have his biological daddy to raise him.

God also knew wha a remarkable family we are.  He knew that inspite of this tragic event we would look beyond the grief, that we would (ultimately) look to Him for our comfort and guidance.  God knew that this would draw us even closer, that this would force us to acknowledge the inner strength we each have and what amazing love and strenght we have as a family.  God knew that Alexis and little Cooper would buy a house in the same neighborhood as we live in.  God knew that we would be able to “input” into Cooper’s life regularly. 

God knew what tremendous heart ache, pain, anguish and yes even doubt this would bring into our lives.  However, He also knew when we (eventually) came out of the fog of our individual and collective depression and grief that we would be a beacon of light for each other.  But most of all our Lord knew (and stil knows) that we will rely on Him to guide us down the path of healing, health, love and acceptance.

Yes my precious little two year old grand son is without his biological father but he does have all of us but most importantly little Cooper has the most important father.  His Eternal Father, the One Who created him will never leave him nor forsake him!

Be blessed in the knowledge that no matter the tragedy, no matter the heart break, no matter the challenge, none of us are alone in that for the Savior has sent to us the Helper, the Comforter.


Killed in Action – Our American Hero

September 5, 2008

100_0599I’ve been trying to figure how to post the photo of our entire family taken three months before Buddy (on left holding baby Cooper) was killed in Afghanistan.

If you don’t know his story you can look at my previous posts on “Death at the front door” (Parts 1 thru 3)

Our Family Photo100_05991

Have you ever wondered why it is when anyone dies it is always said of them “They were a good person”.  Well if you Google “Sgt Buddy James Hughie” you will see  his official story and know that he really was more than a “good person”.

What you will see in the official accounts of our American Hero’s death is that he “left his position of cover” to render aid to wounded soldiers.

What you won’t see in the official accounts is the reason Buddy left his position of safety.  I personally spoke with two different army officers under two separate commands who were there that day.  In fact one of the officers was in the other up-armored Humvee that recovered Buddy’s body after he was killed by a Taliban sniper.

Buddy and two other soldiers, while traveling in an up-armored Humvee,  were embedded with the Afghan Army Nationals on a patrol one morning.  There were two Humvees on that patrol.  The one Buddy and the others were in was at the head of the column with the ANAs.   The other Humvee was that of the 10th Mountain Division in the middle of the column.  That Humvee was the one with all of the communication antennas on it.  Which in military terms means “Hey, we are the target.  If you knock us out nobody will be able to communicate.”  The ambush began by a rocket propelled grenade being fired at the “communication platform”.  At that point all hell broke loose.  The ANAs dismounted their vehicles (they travel around in Ford Rangers) and went up the mountain after the Taliban insurgents.  Upon seeing wounded ANAs Buddy (being the medic) left the safety of the Humvee and covered 300 meters of open ground to get to the wounded soldiers.  He was killed by a single shot just above the flack jacket in the arm pit.  The trajectory of the projectile was from up high to down low.  The bullet pierced Buddy’s heart killing him instantly.  Buddy was credited with saving two ANAs before making the ultimate sacrifice.

According to my “off the record” sources… remember from two different army officers, in two different units, at two separate times… the reason Buddy got out of the Humvee and decided he had to cover those 300 meters, under constant fire, to get to those wounded ANA soldiers is that the other two American soldiers that were in the Humvee with Buddy REFUSED TO ENGAGE THE ENEMY!  That’s right they “chickened out” to put it nicely.

I asked the officer in Buddy’s command what happened to the Sgt in charge of the Humvee that refused to engage the enemy.  He told me that he was sent back to his unit.  I asked if there had been any disciplinary action and he had the nerve to say to me “Well Mr. C, you know… he has to live with that for the rest of his life”.  Wow, no kidding.   He has to live with the fact that he is home every day snuggling up with his wife, playing with his children and living his life.  You know what Lt. WE HAVE TO LIVE WITH IT EVERY DAY FOR THE REST OF OUR LIVES TOO!!!

So what is going to happen the next time these guys come under fire and freeze up?  What happens to the next husband and father?  How many more widows will it take before this guy is held accountable?

Of course I haven’t told my daughter about this… she thinks they are all her friend.  And since I am not Buddy’s “next of kin” I can not be granted access to any official reports.

It seems to me that what Buddy did in the face of death deserves more than two Bronze Star with Valor medals and a Purple Heart medal.  Buddy could have turned back.  He could have crawled back into that up-armored Humvee… toO safety.  After all he only had three months until he would rotate home to his wife and 3 month old baby son.  Seems to me he earned more than that.  But that’s just me not understanding how the army does things.

It’s been nearly nineteen months since my 23 year old daughter was widowed and little Cooper’s daddy was killed.  On one level it seems like just last night.  On another, it seems so, so long ago.  We miss Buddy terribly.


My Angel Story

August 26, 2008

June 1999

 

My father was an abusive alcoholic, who was out of town 4-5 nights a week.  He used to just beat the tar out of me, so much so that my mom would have to “pull him off” of me. I was second in the birth order with 4 sisters and my brother came along when I was 13.

 

He (my dad) used to take me to his girl friend’s (secretary’s) house and I would have to wait out in the car.  I can still see her standing on the steps with that blond hair up in a bun and that yellow dress on, holding the screen door open for my dad.

 

When I turned 13 we had “the talk”.  My dad told me that if I ever had the chance to “get” a girl, I should do it, that I may be able to get that same girl later but that would just be one more “piece”.

 

When I turned 17 I joined the US Navy.

 

As dad got older he “mellowed”. When I would go home to visit I would see pictures of him at family functions or church functions etc.  From the pics he looked like a pretty good guy.  My siblings, their spouses & grandkids would always tell me how he has changed.  But I just knew the man I knew, not the man my dad eventually became.

 

Now, fast forward to 9yrs ago.  I got a call that said my dad was near death, that I had better come.  It was a little over a 600 mile drive and during that drive I just kept asking the Lord to give me one more audience with my dad so I could speak to him about his relationship with the Savior.  I told the Lord that I never got to spend any time with my dad as I was growing up, too let me speak to him about his salvation so we could be together in eternity.

 

Dad was in the hospital with IVs in each arm, oxygen in his nose, a catheter and a bunch of other wires coming from under his gown.  You could just sense the spirit of death in the room. Dad had had a lung removed years before and the lung he had left had emphysema.

 

The next night it was my turn to stay with dad.  Around 10pm I felt a “prompting” to stand at the foot of my dad’s bed and pray over him in the Spirit.  After about 30mts I had another Impression.  “Where’s the praise?  You never praise Me.”  I spoke back to that “Impression”, forgive me Lord, I will praise You for everything you bring to my mind now.  The first thing out of my mouth was “I thank You, O Lord, for divinely placing me in this family in the birth order which You placed me.”  I don’t recall all I prayed after that but after about 30mts more it was like a light switch was switched in the room and the spirit of death was broken.  My dad’s eyes fluttered open and he says “Hi son” (small grin on his face).  Hey dad, are you thirsty, (put the straw in his mouth).  How about some cantaloupe?  Yeh. I went to the frig in his room and got the cantaloupe that the family had brought.  Since dad didn’t have any teeth the cantaloupe was soft enough and he enjoyed it.  He had been pretty much “out of it” for the previous two days and hadn’t eaten a thing.

 

My devoutly Catholic mom comes in the next morning. I related the nights experiences to her and asked her; “He looks better, huh?”  Well, I guess the medication is finally working, she replied.  I thought after over a week, you’re giving the medication credit?!

 

So then the doctors role around and mom and the docs call me out into the hallway and basically say, looks like your dad is going to make it you might as well head on home.

 

But at this point I am still intimidated by my dad…even on his death-bed.  Finally, I sat on the edge of his bed ( alone with him) and took his hand and said, “Dad, I just can’t leave without knowing if you’ve made a commitment to Jesus or not.”  He squeezed my hand so hard that it hurt just a bit and says to me “Son I made that commitment long ago”.

 

As soon as he said that another “voice” spoke to me.  “You see how your dad lived his life, there’s no way you will ever see him in heaven.”  Immediately my response was, “The Bible says that the spirit never dies. All the way home me and the “voice” are arguing about my dad’s eternal home.  I just kept saying “the spirit never dies”

 

After being home a couple of days my wife asks me to take some clothing up to the Goodwill drop sight. Now, mind you, I am still “arguing” with that “voice”.  So I get to the Goodwill and ask the old lady where the clothes go.  In the back she replied. As I was going by her desk I noticed she had a red-letter edition bible open to the book of Matthew.  I ask her what she is reading and she says she is reading the Good Book.  I can see that but what are you studying I asked her.  Me and a couple of other ladies have a ministry where we cast out demon spirits she says.  So here’s my chance to unload, I thought.  I say to her, let me tell you about my week last week.  Well, let me tell you something, she says.  I had a really difficult week let me tell you about it I insisted.  She says very calmly “The Lord wants me to tell you something right now.”  I said “Sister, I don’t want to get in the way of that, what is it?”  She says, “The Lord wants me to tell you that the spirit never dies.”  OMG, my knees buckled and I just started weeping!

 

We chatted a bit longer and I found out that that was her first day working for Goodwill.  I looked for her the next day but she wasn’t there…and hasn’t been back since. 

 

The Bible says to be careful because we never know when we may be entertaining angels.  For a complete stranger to speak verbatim what I had been “arguing” with the enemy about for nearly a week is no coincidence.

 

I believe that the Lord sent one of His angels to comfort me in my hour of need.

 

I know what I know. I know the experiences I have had and that cannot be diminished.


Daddy

August 22, 2008

One of my favorite pictures of Buddy with babby Cooper.

Three months and four days after this picture Sgt. Buddy James Hughie was shot and killed by a Taliban sniper while (as an army medic) rendering aid to two wounded Afghani Army National soldiers.

Greater love hath no man than to lay down his life for him.