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Leaving flowers seems inadequate

{Welcome to my new and sort of improved blog. I had a need for change, so I chose an unpretentious blogger template. I am happy with it for now.}

There are some pieces of my lifetime that are burned into my mind and thoughts forever. Maybe not each detail, because my memory capacity is a bit pathetic; but rather, the feelings and emotions of certain times are seared into my brain. I might encounter a sight, a scent, or a sound; then, close my eyes and be transported back to a place and time, a few days, a week…a collection of memories. Last week, I took a trip that I will remember forever. Nothing huge or earth shattering happened, but it was a sweet and special time spent with dear, lifelong friends.

I flew out of Oklahoma City on Tuesday, October 26, and landed in Jacksonville, FL. As I stepped off the plane, I felt the hot, heavy air surround me. Even at the end of October, Florida and Georgia were engulfed in an oppressive heat wave. My friend Nathan picked me up from the airport, and from there we drove over an hour to his home in Georgia. Nathan had just recently returned, October 4th, from yet another deployment to Iraq. The date of his return happily coincided with his wife Betsy’s birthday. I’m sure the Georgia heat didn’t phase him when he arrived at home, after his many months spent in the Middle East.

I have known Nathan and Betsy for most of my life. During our early teen years, we formed a tight and enduring friendship after meeting at a church youth conference. We are actually part of a group of friends…fondly referred to amongst ourselves as Our Group. {There’s a photo of Our Group under my About Me section.}

The first couple of days of my trip were spent relaxing in Georgia. Just catching up with each other; staying up late talking; and, best of all, sleeping in late in the mornings. Except for Betsy, who watches a couple of babies for some friends during the day. {Sorry, Betsy, for keeping you up late, even though you had to be up early.} I didn’t even take any pictures while in Georgia, which shows you how truly lazy and relaxed I was.

The plan was to leave Thursday evening and drive through the night to Washington, DC, where Nathan would be running the Marine Corps Marathon on October 31. Yep, halloween morning. {Don’t worry, I’ll do a post on that.}

We hit the road Thursday evening, and made a brief stop in Savannah {one of my favorite cities in the US}. After a spur of the moment change of plans, we ended up stopping again later to spend the night at Fort Bragg, NC. My brother Jack’s name is on a memorial wall there. He was killed September 29, 2009, while on a mission as a Green Beret in the Philippines.

I bought some white lilies to leave for him at the memorial wall. I texted a photo of the wall with the flowers to my family, and my mom pointed out in her reply that it was 13 months to the day from when Jack was killed.

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My family has been extremely blessed by getting to meet and spend time with Jack’s brothers from his Special Forces team and their families. Several of them are now at Fort Bragg, and I was fortunate in getting to catch up with a couple of them during our brief stop there.

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I can’t really articulate how meaningful it was for me to be there at the wall with Nate and Betsy.

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One of the biggest things that has brought me comfort since losing Jack, is just seeing and hearing people remember him…to know he is not forgotten, and that he made an impact and a difference here on this earth.

This is just the beginning of the photos I have to share from the trip! Next up, DC.

Check back in a bit.

~abi~

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tinaNovember 5, 2010 - 9:57 pm

Beautiful post Abi! XXOOXX

ScottNovember 5, 2010 - 10:13 pm

Breathtaking photos. Love your new blog. You are an amazing person, Abi!

Sherie

MichaelNovember 6, 2010 - 7:09 am

Abi, you have got to be the most beautiful person that I know, inside and out. How you articulate your love for family, the dedication and loyalty to those around, truly leaves me speechless. An amazing, amazing person you are. And what is most confusing, is how you seem to accomplish all this so effortlessly.

Love you so much,

Mike.

imagineamelodyNovember 6, 2010 - 6:19 pm

I cried through most of this post. I feel the same about moments embedded into my mind forever. This life of yours is beautiful, and I love seeing it all from your veiw point through your pictures! Love you and your family

Jamie Leigh

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