Happy Birthday, Charlie and Grandma Nellie! The Lord knows how much I love and miss you both! Thank You, Lord, for the assurance that I know they are safe and happy with You on their special day and every day! ❤
Grandma Nellie Mae was my Dad’s mom. We saw her sparingly, but she was nice. My dad didn’t really grow up with her either because he was just 5 when his dad died, and Nellie was suffering from mental illness and could not take care of him and his 14 siblings. So his older brother from the 1st marriage, who was 30 something years older, raised him. He struggled with bitterness toward her for a great while but was still glad to see her. It would not be till years later that we learned Charlie (my baby brother) was born on her birthday! She died while we were kids.
A picture we have of her as a nurse looks so much like her daughter Beulah (our aunt) that sometimes there is a playful debate over whether it’s actually Nellie or Beulah.
Charlie was my baby brother. Yes I said was. We were 10 months apart. My mom literally had him 46 days before my first birthday. He was my 1st birthday present. 😉
Below is a picture on the left when he was just 3 years old at the state fair that used to come to our local Speedway but now comes to the Agriculture Center.
In the picture on the right I was barely 12 so Charlie is 11. He’s standing on the car getting ready to lunge and hug my mom. Nathan has a hold of his leg because they wrestled all the time. We had just moved to Hickory.
Below in the left picture Charlie is in the middle of cutting up with his friends. Charlie was blessed with a multitude of friends, a handful of close guy friends, but Homey (in blue) was Charlie’s best friend.
The picture below on the right shows where he loved to be… on a roof! He was a roofer like dad. He could carry 3 bundles of shingles up a roof, but it made my dad so uncomfortable. He preferred he only carry 2… lol. (So you know, most roofers struggle to carry 1 bundle.) Charlie was very strong, yet had a very tender heart.
He also had a dream to be in law enforcement. When he met his wife, she encouraged him to follow his dreams. They were divorced after his BLET (Basic Law Enforcement Training) graduation, but before he became a deputy. Here are a couple of pictures the day he got his uniform and handcuffs. He was so excited that he wanted to show off the uniform and use the handcuffs… which he did on my son Anthoni.
Charlie’s birthday is the hardest for me to mention because his loss has been the hardest for me. In 2007, my mom’s sister had died and we were at her viewing when they took us into a backroom of the funeral home to let us know that Charlie was shot and killed in my mom’s home. He was 37. It is so hard that I am writing this the day after his birthday. Sometimes it is too hard for me to talk about people I love and miss on their special days until afterwards, or not at all. It’s so personal, and I am horrible with dealing with my emotions. I have been even more shut off since Charlie’s death. Writing poetry is where I can do that because poetry allows for symbolic and vague meanings, yet allows a writer to express what they want to reluctantly say behind safe words. I learned to do that with writing at a very young age.
I miss Charlie so much it hurts more than I can say. It literally takes my breath if I think too much on it. It was such a cruel and senseless death. But as I leave you with more pictures of his smile and personality, I leave you with the same words that Christ left me.
“But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.
For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
Wherefore comfort one another with these words.”
– 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 KJV
My baby brother is in a much better place. I would never be so cruel as to bring him back to this cold and vile world just so I could hug him but then make him have to suffer the troubles of this world, know sickness and pain again, heartache, and to worry about him every time I hear of terrorism, airplane crashes, train derailments, or the rampant deaths from flu, and the never ending growing list of friends and family dying slow painful deaths of cancer and so many other illnesses that suck the life out of people.
And if there is anyone who understands the pain of my loss but the joy of Charlie’s gain it is my Savior Jesus Christ. Jesus not only felt the loss of his dear friend Lazarus who was resurrected, but Jesus also had a dearly beloved cousin who was needlessly murdered as a party favor for a seductress, because of the influence of a heartless woman, and because of a coward who could not control his lust, and was more concerned about being a laughing stock by those who witnessed pride get the better of a weak man. John the Baptist was decapitated and had his head served on a platter during a birthday party. No one paid for his crime… YET!
Christ will have his day of justice. And so will my brother. For now, John and Charlie, and even Jesus, are now at home with our heavenly Father. No one will ever harm them again! Nor make jokes of their deaths! And because Christ STILL chose to die for us regardless of His own grief and pain, I can pray for my enemies as well. That’s just ONE more of the tender acts of mercy and grace Jesus did because of how much He loves you and me!
PRAISE GOD FOR A SAVIOR WHO LOVES…
MORE THAN WE CAN EVER UNDERSTAND! ❤
THAT IS A BIRTHDAY PRESENT WORTH CELEBRATING!