While I had only known you for a few years and only actually got to interact with you a handful of those times during those years, your battle with cancer and passing has affected me greater than I thought possible. I’m not sure if it was because you were so young, or because you were a veteran, or because you were the best guy to ever come into Lindsey’s life. Maybe all of that and more.
You were the first person I’ve ever gone to see while sick. I have had grandparents pass away from cancer and could not bring myself to visit them while in the hospital/near the end of their lives. I preferred to shelter myself from those images and instead remember the last times I had seen them when they were healthier.
The Sat. night before you passed I cried a lot. All I kept picturing was Zoey and Kenzie and how unfair it was for them to have to grow up without their dad. I battled myself internally wanting to come see you and being afraid as well. I didn’t know what you would look like nor did I know if I could hold it together and not cry the entire visit. I knew if the roles were reversed though and Jason had been sick that Lindsey would’ve been there to support me and I owed it to her to come see you.
Little did I know that would be the last time I saw you. I knew you were struggling and I doubted your ability to push through until Christmas which saddened me. Still I was shocked when I received the text that evening from Linds that you had passed. I am only grateful in that your suffering did not last for days or weeks on end like my grandparents’ did and that Lindsey and your family was not forced to endure days of watching you struggle further.
I do have the image of the last time I saw you burned into my mind, but I also have the images from Kenzie’s first birthday party when you were doing a bit better as well as all the cookouts and bonfires at my parents’ house. You were the greatest guy for Lindsey and while she complained about you at times at the end of the day the love you had for each other was apparent in all ways. I know you haven’t truly left her or the girls though. While I don’t believe in the traditional Heaven, I do believe you are in the spirit world and have the ability to watch over them and help guide them. I also believe that while we all question why this awful event happened you now have the understanding of it and we all will someday as well.
I wish you had gotten to see and do all that you had wanted in life. It’s not fair that you didn’t especially after you gave so much of yourself for our country and communities. You inspired so many of us along the way though and for that I say thank you. No one should have to battle the way you did for the care you needed and I intend to help Lindsey in her quest to make sure other families, particularly veterans, do not deal with all the red tape that you did. You touched so many of us Freddie, more than I’m sure you ever imagined you would and your memories and legacy will continue. RIP