Sunday, April 13, 2014

The Most Special of all Olympics

Every April, my son Garrison, participates in the greater Fort Worth spring track meet for Special Olympics. He participates in a running event, (this year it was the 100 meter dash and the relay race) and some type of tossing event (this year it was the javelin toss). It's something we, as a family, look forward to every single year and when it is over, we are all so sad.  It all begins with a fabulous opening ceremonies on Friday night where they do the torch run, have cheerleaders perform, honor athletes, have guest speakers and our families most favorite part, the dance they have on the football field! It is so awesome to see hundreds of athletes, all with different types of special needs, out on that field getting down to the music that the DJ plays! It is the one and only time you will see Garrison dance! He LOVES this part. We have so many awesome memories of this event and especially of Buddy out there dancing with me and the kids! This weekend marked the second time we attended since Buddy's death. To be honest, there were tears shed before we get there because we want Buddy with us so desperately. We miss having him dance with us, yell with us, and when Garrison wins gold, cry with us.

Some of the very last pictures we have of Buddy, were taken exactly 2 months before he was killed, at this event. Now, last year, I felt Buddy's presence so strongly. I knew without a doubt he was there. The kids and I have all had countless experiences where we felt Buddy near. We have been left with zero doubt that he walks with us, watches over us, cries with us, laughs with us (and I am sure AT us), dances with us and even sleeps next to us.  But I am here to say, the experience I had this weekend blew all of that out of the water.  I have had some VERY spiritual experiences with Buddy since his passing. Some I have shared, and some I have not, for those are just for him and I to share. Buddy was not a fan of sharing spiritual experiences with others. In fact, I'll never forget the conversation we had in regards to that one time. He believed that sharing an experience with others may diminish the experience itself. And he's right. It can. However, I have shared so much with my readers, more than I should perhaps, but I feel strongly that I need to share this one in particular.  Maybe it's because this blog is my journal and I want my kids to have it and always remember it. Maybe it's because ya'll have become family to me. Maybe it's because my story may help someone. I don't know why but I do know I am supposed to share it. So I hope each of you will read it with as much love and respect as I am writing it with. 

(Buddy and Garrison walking and talking at his track meet in 2012. Exactly 2 months to the day before he was killed.)

For the first time ever, Garrison participated in the relay race on Friday afternoon. In this race, there are 4 runners who each run a portion of the track while carrying a medal baton. When they reach the next runner, they pass the baton and then that athlete can begin their portion of the run. Garrison was the last runner for his team. The girls and I were nervous wrecks. My heart was pounding so hard. Garrison does not do well at all if he doesn't win! It's a nightmare trying to convince him that silver and bronze are still awesome. There is no convincing him! Even though I know he cant, nor will he, win every event, I always pray so hard that he will, just so we don't have to face the aftermath of him "losing". 

Garrisons teammate, and best friend, Chris was the athlete who would be passing Garrison the baton. I found that alone so heartwarming and precious. I see Chris hand Garrison the baton and the girls and I start screaming to Garrison to run!! We were jumping up and down and yelling like lunatics! He was winning by a mile! As he drew closer to passing in front of us, I knew Buddy was there. He was running next to him. I didn't see him with my actual eyes, but with my spiritual eyes. He was running with his boy. He was going to cross that finish line with him. And he did. I couldn't stop crying. It was too incredible. It was too spiritual. It was something I have never in my life experienced before.

As Garrison was walking with his helper to the medal stand, he saw me and grabbed me and hugged me so tightly. He said "I did it mom!" Tears were flowing like crazy! I wanted to ask him if he saw his dad running next to him but I didn't. That was answered later in the car when we were leaving. He was looking out the car window and I heard him say "Did you see that dad? I did it!" He knew his dad was running with him. 

Seeing these 4 special boys up on that medal stand, getting their gold medals was just so incredible. They smiled so big and even kissed them! They had just conquered something so huge! Something they had been practicing for several weeks! I cannot express how proud I am of not just Garrison but the other boys as well. It is such an honor to be there and watch each athlete participate! The smiles on their faces, the way the come up to anyone and everyone and show off their medals, the way they hug you, the way they burst with pride at their is truly life changing!

 (The Alliance All-Stars gold medal relay team!)

I am grateful for the opportunity to be a part of such an amazing thing as Special Olympics. I am grateful for the experiences that my family has every single year!

Here is what I know....

Buddy is near. I know this. Whenever I say "I wish Buddy was here to see this" people always say "he sees everything" and I agree. He does. BUT...When I am saying that, I am saying that I want him physically here to share things with us. It is very different. I long to have him PHYSICALLY here to touch, hold, laugh with, cry with, kiss, dance with, watch softball games with, watch Garrisons events with...I want him here. I know that happened for a very brief moment on Friday. He was HERE! His smile matched the smile on Garrison's face as they crossed that finish line together. He was there to share that moment with his first born, his only son, the young man who impacted his earthly life so much every single day. 

I know Buddy misses us so desperatly. I know he understands differently than we do. He sees the whole picture but that doesn't stop him from missing us. I know we have a loving God who knows what we need and when we need it. I needed to know I wasn't alone. I need to know I wasn't forgotten and neither are my children. I know I was blessed with a rare find! I was blessed with a man who was unlike any other. I do not know how I got so lucky but I am so glad I did. My kids and I talk often about how blessed we were to have such an amazing man as my husband and their dad. I know everyone thinks they have the best. And for them, I am sure they do, but we got the cream of the crop!

So Buddy, thank you. Thank you for continuing to be the most supportive father and husband imaginable even from heaven. We miss you so much! We love you with all that we are. We will continue to work hard here while you work hard there! Please stay close.We got this!


kimberly hatfield said...

Way to go Garrison and Buddy!!! said...

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