Sunday, September 18, 2011

Please Say a Prayer for Tory Today...

was supposed to be her
wedding day.
I know it's going to be a tough one
for her.
We are back from the funeral.
These last 2 weeks have been
the saddest weeks of all my 49 years.
Chris' remains being pulled by horse and cart
through town from the funeral home
to the high school 
where the funeral was going to be.

Tory is the one all in black on the right hand side of the picture.

I cannot begin to tell you how touching and humbling this whole experience was for us.

Chris' family enveloped Tory as their own...
and the whole town embraced her too.

So many people came up to me and said how impressed they were with her
and how that she was part of their town now. She was family.
Chris' father introduced her to everyone as their daughter-in-law...
not Chris' fiance.

Throughout the whole viewing and funeral,
his parents were by her side,
hugging her, holding her up,
and truly showing her what family is all about.

Chris' mom told me that on Monday
when Tory first walked into the viewing room 
and saw Chris,
that she literally fell to the ground weeping and sobbing

The next day was the viewing for everyone else.

When we came in,
it was all I could do myself to hold it together
to see that dear boy
lying there,
gone from us.

Chris' parents
made us come over and sit with them throughout 
the whole viewing and throughout the funeral.
His dad said to us,
"Your family too."

I was amazed at the funeral, when the minister said about
half way through...
 "Now Tory is going to have a few words to say."

I sat there weeping 
as my little girl got up
in front of thousands of people...
walked to the podium
in her grief...
and spoke to the crowd of her love for Chris,
and her devastation of him being taken from her.

From there,
the body was loaded back onto the cart,
and literally thousands of people
walked behind the horse and cart
from the school to the graveyard.

The Patriot Guard were one of the most touching things to witness.
Not only were they there standing all through the funeral,
but also the day of the viewing,
they all stood out there in front of the funeral home
with their flags for hours...
as everyone came in 
to pay their last respects.

Although hard...
this experience has touched me in a way
that nothing else ever has.

Amongst great sorrow,
we witnessed what Small Town America
is really about.

And it is nothing short of awe-inspiring.

Yellow ribbons lined the trees and poles....
hundreds of flags were lining streets, homes, places of business...
banners, posters, handmade signs,
were made
welcoming home their home town hero.

Hotels and bed and breakfasts
put all of us up free of charge for however long
we needed to be there...
served us breakfasts,
and grieved right along with us...

We are now safely home but...
today we are especially feeling our loss...
simply because we were supposed to be having a celebration
of the joining of these two lives.

But we know time will heal...
God will heal...
and life will go on.

I can't thank you enough for all the prayers uttered on our behalf these last two weeks.
I know it was 'prayer' that was holding us all up,
when the sorrow was just to great to bear.

Humbly my friends,
from my heart...
may our great God bless you all for coming through in our time of need.



  1. OH, John'aLee, I'm so sad today for Tory and everyone else who should have been at a wedding. As I read your post and looked at the photos, tears once again filled my eyes. I am glad all of you were treated so well (and that is as it should be). Time will heal, but the hurt will always be there and Chris will always be missed. May God hold all of you close to His heart always and ALL ways!

  2. The tough times often define who we are. May your family continue to find strength and courage in God's love.

  3. John'aLee,
    I have been thinking about you and your family. Today has to be another tough day thinking about what should have been.
    I know you are so proud of Tory and the fact that she could speak at his service. The pictures say so much.
    I am so glad everyone was so thoughtful in his hometown.
    Chris will live on in your hearts forever.
    Praying for you all.

  4. Being a Navy Veteran myself, and married to a retired Navy man, and mom to a Navy son, I could not make it through that post without crying my eyes out. My thoughts have been with you through all of this. My hopes are that the pain of it grows a little less with each day, and the memories of pain will be replaced daily with those of love and happiness as he would wish them to be.

  5. May all of your hearts be held on Angels' wings with tender care as long as needed to help you through this awful sorrow ... sincerest prayers!!

  6. wow....what a wonderful post. you were coming home from your funeral and i was on my way to meet up with my long lost brother's buddies from vietnam for the first time ever. they had a reunion and The Blog Tech and i went to it. i will be writing about it later in the week. i am so sorry for your loss and for tory's as well. please give her my sympathy!

  7. I'm sending lots of hugs to Tory and Chris' family during the incredibly difficult time. I've actually had Tory on my mind all day - yes I did remember that today was suppose to be their day.

  8. Thinking of you all. I don't have the words but please know that you are all in my prayers xx

  9. It is hard to even read about your family's journey. May God shine his Grace upon you in this difficult time.

  10. Our prayers are with you, Tory and Chris's family. Too many families having to go through the loss of their loved ones. My heart goes out to you all.

  11. I am sorry, I might have to come back to this post and read the rest of was just way to difficult!!

  12. Hugs and prayers for you all. Shedding tears for Tori and Chris' family.
    Beckie in Brentwood, TN

  13. How terribly touching...we are far away but thinking of you & Tory. The compassion shown to you all is inspiring.

  14. Chris from "Downunder" ... New Zealand ....

    A prayer and thank you for sharing with all of what has been happening for your respective families in your posts ... you humble us all.

    I wish you all in time some peace with all of this.

    Kia Kaha .... Stay Strong


  15. Just too much of this. I am so sorry for your daughter's loss. How hard to witness.
    Donna S.

  16. Oh my dear girl. I have no words...only prayers.

  17. Prayers for Tory, and you all too. so sad :-[pokey

  18. My thoughts and heart are with you, both families and your sweet girl. This is just heartbreaking.

  19. My sincere condolences JohnaLee. Tory is a remarkably strong young woman, and I am certain Chris is proud. Godspeed. Christel

  20. Oh, my heart breaks for you all! Thoughts and prayers!

  21. my first time here...came via octoberfarm...

    please accept my heartfelt sympathy...and saying a prayer for all of you....

  22. It is hard to even comprehend what you and everyone there is going through. You have touched our hearts and brought an awareness of what war really does to families. We do love and pray for our warriors who are fighting for our freedom every day. Bless all of you who have suffered such a loss.

  23. my friend kary said you are going to put together a quilt. let me know if i can help in any way. did you get my email about chris being an MP? i would love to know which company he was with. my brother was an MP too!

  24. I started to read your post and the tears would not stop....I am so sorry for your daughter and all of you and her fiance's family...what a tragedy...I will keep you all in my prayers...may you all find strength in the Lord..

  25. I will be sending you a couple of blocks... and have scheduled a blog post about your request for tomorrow morning.

    Please know how deeply sorry I am for your terrible lose... you all are in my thoughts and prayers!

  26. I'm sorry I wasn't around to say a prayer on the day. My thoughts are still with you all at this sad time.
    Teresa x

  27. I can't put into words how deeply sad I am for Tory, Chris's family and your family. My boyfriend finished his commitment with the Navy this summer and I cannot wrap my head or heart around being in this position. Sending prayers and I will be sending quilt blocks as well.

  28. Coming over from Donna's. I'm so sorry to hear of your lost...I will be sure to say a prayer for your entire family and I know you must be soooo proud of your daughters strength...what an amazing girl you raised.


  29. Your post was so very touching and so sad. My prayers are with you and Chris' family at this very sad time.