Today you would have turned 30 years old. It is so hard to believe that time has passed so quickly without you. What makes it so difficult, is that you will forever remain 20 in my mind, in dad’s mind, and in so many other hearts and minds. We will never know what you would have looked like, what questions you would have asked, or how you would have handled parenting.
What we do know is what kind of person you were and what kind of person you would become. You were truly “that guy.” You would have approached every celebration, every problem, every life event with that contagious smile and enthusiasm. You were and would have continued to be a man of courage, faith, and conviction. You would have protected your new family with your life, as you did with your brothers in arms. Dad and I would have continued to be amazed and proud of the way you approached your life.
What is it like without you here? Despite knowing exactly where you are and that we will be reunited again, there is a huge gap where you once stood. Life here can never be the same without you. Our universe, Stephanie’s universe, your friends’ universe all shifted slightly the day we were notified of your death. Heaven certainly gained a soldier of the Lord, but we lost a piece of our hearts and only God’s promise of the hope in Heaven has gotten us this far.
We miss you, Rhys and will continue to miss you until that glorious day when we are reunited. In the meantime, we will honor your memory by sharing your short life with everyone we meet. We will love on your daughter, London whenever we can. We will rest in knowing that you are safely united with the Lord in a new body, and that you are free from the fear, pain and tears that accompany our temporary life in this world.
“I will both lie down in peace, and sleep; For You alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.”
Happy, happy birthday Rhys!
I am not sure why we often hear the same message several times without it having any significant personal meaning and then all of a sudden, a light bulb moment comes over us. My recent light bulb moment came while I was running up a hill in my most recent attempt to reestablish my cardio-fitness regime. The success of that goal aside, I must count the effort a success simply because of the light bulb moment.
While chugging up the hill I was reminded of Biblical instructions to “run the race” in life and “finish strong.” Having run a few marathons in the (distant) past, I always thought, “well right, that makes sense” but I never felt any personal application other than in the context of running. But those phrases, combined with the message at church about taking a breath, saying a prayer, and plunging forward in sharing the Gospel resulted in somewhat of an epiphany for me. (more…)
One of the recent events to which Michael and I went was the homecoming celebration of the 216th Engineering Battalion, an Army National Guard unit returning from a deployment to Afghanistan. They were gone for 338 days, as one family member’s sign indicated. This was a unit of which our organization, Gold Star Dads of America, sponsored 10 families for Christmas.
This was a joyous occasion. The extended families and supporters of those soldiers deployed came out to Los Alamitos in full force to welcome these heroes home. I wanted to feel their joy and happiness. It was a great thing to witness. (more…)
Rhys, I miss you more than you can ever know (until I get to Heaven to tell you).
You know, I thought that after 7 years, I would not feel so sad during the month of May. But the month sort of sneaks up on me so quietly that some days I wonder just why it is I cried about some non-event.
I think I have finished most of my weeping for the month but I just looked at videos of you again and remembered how much I miss your voice, your laugh, your face.
I know that you are experiencing the total joy of Heaven but I am still heartbroken. I was remembering walking you in your stroller in our neighborhood in Anaheim when you were very little. I used to sing Jesus loves you all the way down the street and back, especially at Christmas when all the neighborhood had lights up. I like to think that that is when Jesus took hold of your heart and never let go. And when He took your heart, He took ours as well
I know where you are Rhys, but my heart longs to be there with you. I can clearly see what your purpose was here on earth but still wonder about why I am still here. I wonder what task God has in store for me before I too, can move to the more glorious address at which you reside.
I thank you Rhys for showing me and your Dad the way to Jesus. We not only experienced the joy of you in our lives, but we can now claim a place in Heaven with you because of you. We truly serve a gracious and forgiving God. Dad and I love you Rhys. Remembering you in our hearts forever.
Always serving, always faithful – Sgt. Rhys Klasno KIA May 13, 2007 Haditha, Iraq