Writing has always come easy to me.
I was the kid who could sit down the night before a paper was due and easily write an A paper.
But I have been working on this blog entry for a week now and am no closer to nailing it this morning than I was on April 14.
How do I write something that captures the essence of the CJ I have come to know and love?
Let's start with your name.
I'm big on names and took naming my children seriously. I had 3 conditions that had to be met for each of my children's names:
They had to look good when written out.
They had to sound good at graduations.
They had to yell good.
Now, that is a name that meets all my criteria.
But what you managed to pull off that none of my other kids could is that you went by the simple nickname of CJ.
I abhor nicknames. Michael never became a Mike.
Always a Michael(although his sibs got away with a few nicknames).
But CJ fits you like a glove.
You are my CJ.
And your smile...
I always thought that if the electric companies across America could somehow utilize the wattage of your smile, electricity would be free to all.
That smile is engraved on my heart and in my mind forever.
You would have thought my cancer diagnosis would have taught me that there is no tomorrow, but only THIS MOMENT.
I comforted myself with the fact that although I had to miss your deployment party that I would be there with bells on at your Welcome Back CJ Party when you had shaken the Afghanistan dirt off your boots.
I would get my long awaited, much anticipated hug.
But it didn't work out that way.
But it will someday.
When I get to Heaven I will look around until I see a beaming light that outshines the sun and will know where to head for my CJ hug.
And I know you are looking down from the stars at night watching out for us.
I love you as much this morning as when I first came into contact with you.
You had me from that beautiful CJ smile.
You brought out the best in me, CJ, and I will always be grateful.
They say love can build a bridge.
All of your family and friends have built a massive bridge system the last 9 days to each other, giving out hugs, love, prayers, comfort and the best from our hearts.
But that would not have been possible had we not learned from the master bridge builder, which is you.
You united us all with your humor, your smile and your love for people.
That is your legacy, Christopher John.
I can't be with you and yours this weekend in person and it cuts like a knife.
But you, you took care of it like you always do.
You're sending Michael back to me today 2 days earlier than expected from deployment training. We will watch the movie Top Gun and I will make fun of Tom Cruise that you smile brighter and better than he ever could.
I will be there in spirit and holding hands with all who are honoring you this weekend.
And I will be keeping the candles burning.
Godspeed, my second son.
May you find your peace.
And thank you for being in my life.