My beautiful baby boy turned 32 years old this past September 11th. Garret was living in Utah at the time and unknown to his mama, in a rehab center. His father was aware of my son's drug use since college or before but never shared anything with me! When I was told by my mama, your son died~half of my heart died when I heard those words.
My Sweetest Baby Boy, GARBEAR;
The moment your daddy and I found out that I was pregnant with you, I could hear the trumpets in Heaven blow. My pregnancy with you was, to say the least, troublesome. I spent the first two trimesters in bed. I was allowed to walk back and forth to the bathroom. It was winter and I do not like winter, as it is dreary, cold, and rainy. Yes, I complained a lot but it was worth every moment once I laid eyes on your beautiful face for the first time.
You were the missing link to our small family. Jon-Jon was five and could not wait for you to be born. He was very much into HE-MAN FIGURES and was preparing which ones you would play with. The real truth was he was freaking out because he did not want anyone to touch his precious figures.
Before you were born, your daddy and I invited a gathering of many friends because we were clueless as to what we were going to name you. One of our friends suggested the name Garret. I looked up the meaning of your name and it means; A SERVANT OF GOD! Your father and I fell in love with your name and with great pride, a baby conceived in love was born on September 11, 1985. We named you Garret Poole Kilgore. Your brother Jonathan’s name meant a gift from God. How perfect!
You were perfect, healthy, a whopping eight pounds and fourteen ounces. I remember the first time Budrow, your grandfather laid eyes on you. Though I was drugged to the max, I saw a glow of pure love swell in his eyes. He had another grandson! Then he saw the port-wine stain on your hand. Budrow ran out of the room to find a nurse, a doctor, someone he could speak to about having laser done on your hand. STAT! And you always said; I was overly protective? HA! We had a wonderful family and I was very lucky to have two in-laws that were truly like my real mama and daddy. I miss both of them so much!
Your daddy and I were not about to allow laser surgery to be performed on your hand at one day old. We never had to do anything to your little hand because as you grew, the port wine stain disappeared. God took care of that!
One day when you were about six weeks old, we got into our minivan, bought for the added baby. We were picking Jonathan up from St. Frances School, and my friend, Teresa Palladino saw you and said; In her country, the Philippines, it is believed that any person born with a mark like yours was a sign of greatness, a leader, a person that would make the world a better place. Though I knew this, I felt it was another sign of confirmation that you were placed on this earth for greatness, to make a difference in our fallen world.
Because of the layout of the home we lived in prior to the one on Cold Harbor, and I was recovering from a C-section, you stayed in our bedroom until you were six months old. The picture where you are in your baby bed sitting up was taken in our room. You were always an early riser and the moment your dad and I heard you stir, we very quietly covered ourselves with the sheet. Praying that you would go back to sleep and we could have just one more hour of rest. We would lay there, trying not to laugh, or breath but you were very wise and knew those two idiots were your parents hiding.
Since Monday, October 16, 2017, when your grandmother, Gil called me to let me know that your life on earth had ended, my life changed forever. Presently, I find that I never realized how many tears could flow from my eyes. I cannot think, I cannot breathe, I am believing that there is no such thing as stages of grief when parents lose a child.
From the moment I heard the news, all I could focus on was the book you loved so much; “THE RUNAWAY BUNNY”, I do not know if you placed that thought into my mind or God. Every night up into your teens, you had me read that book to you. “Ferdinand” was your second favorite. You were Ferdinand, as you would rather smell the flowers, find a place where you had complete shalom. You were never a fighter, you always had a smile as everyone who knew you experienced your infectious laughter, which was identical to your Uncle Curt’s laughter. I have journalled every day of your life, as I have your brothers.
I remember when you would come home from school, almost every day before you did your homework, you would go into the pantry and make potions. You would mix spices, add baking soda, vinegar, whatever you could find to complete your mission. You would spend hours doing this. I believe your interest in potions came from when we worked on your brother’s school project where we had to make a volcano and you were so excited when we mixed the two magical ingredients that caused the lava flow.
Then you were off to play with your best friends, Blake and Morgan, Andy, Brett, the list go on and on. We were blessed to have so many boys your age on our street on Cold Harbor Drive.
Your daddy and I knew by the time you were three-years-old that you would be in the filming industry. You had an imagination that blew us away. You were always putting on skits. In kindergarten, your class had an assignment where all of you were to come to school with something to do with 100. Your idea, LAST MINUTE, was that you wanted 100 pennies glued to your T-shirt. Thank God for glue guns, as I hurried to glue 100 pennies to your shirt right before carpool. I finished in time to take a picture of you, all smiles, standing on the front porch, ready for your big day.
Which leads me to your entrepreneurship abilities at the age of three.
You would set-up a lemonade stand in the front yard. No one would come, as we lived on a cul-de-sac and as I sat on the front steps watching you, I could see the wheels turning in your head. You grabbed your little wagon, put your supplies in the wagon, and with my permission, you went door to door, selling your lemonade for 50 cents per cup. They were the very small cups you and your brother had in your bathroom for rinsing after you brushed your teeth.
Who could resist you? No one! If memory serves me, that first day, you came home with a total of $15.00. That opened a whole new world for you. You continued your quest with how do I make more money? Every time I went to the feed store downtown to buy supplies for my horses, you were the first one in the car. You had discovered that they sold the kind of candy that you and your friends loved, in bulk, at a reasonable price.
At that time, you were nine-years-old, Santa had brought you a dune buggy. OMG, that caused me to have so much stress, though you wore a helmet, shoulder pads, shin guards, elbow pads, I still worried. I was an overprotective mama!
It was the beginning of summer, you were insistent that I take you to the feed store so you could buy candy and sell it so you would have money to spend when we went to Sarasota to visit your grandparents.
Off we went, all the way downtown and we arrived, you bought an assortment of various kinds of candy. When we got home, you threw everything on the kitchen table and began to sort everything. You asked me for lunch bags, markers, and a stapler. At that point, I thought it would be a promising idea to teach you about how to truly run a business. I charged you for the bags, the markers, and the staples.
That ended up in a temper tantrum. How could a mama charge her baby boy? It was so overwhelming, I just let it slide and as you settled down, you prepared your bags and when you were finished, off you went to sell your wares. Again, door to door but this time you had wheels. In two days, you made over $100. This cycle continued for years but what really made me insane was all the trips I had to make to the bank for you. First, you wanted a $100 bill, then, you wanted 100 dollars in quarters, then 100 dollars in pennies. This went on forever but Garret, if I could go back in time, I would do it all over again. BUT I CAN NOT!
Because Jonathan was involved in so many outside sports, your car seat had become your crib. The song we used to sing all the time was; “ON THE ROAD AGAIN.” Garret never wanted to be anywhere but in my arms. I soon learned how to clean, wash dishes, vacuum with one arm. As long as he was moving, he was happy.
As Garret started school and was old enough to spend the night with his friends, we had a problem. He was ok if someone spent the night with us but he was not going to leave our home. I knew that I had to do something to push him into a new way of thinking.
Garret was in fourth grade and knowing the school had a mandatory week camping trip as part of their curriculum in 5th grade, I had to do something quickly. Against his will, I signed him up for one week of day camp the end of 4th grade. We met the bus at the church and as all the mothers and his friends watched the scene Garret made, I calmly got him out of the car and walked towards the bus. One of the camp counselors was a linebacker on the football team. I finally got Garret in the bus, in the seat, kissed him and said I will see you this afternoon. I started walking out of the bus, all of a sudden, I heard what sounded like a body hitting the floor of the bus and a bolt of lightning pass me and jump into the very back of the car.
The linebacker was down and by the time I got to the car, Garret was in the very back seat, tying the seatbelts around his legs and arms. Screaming at the top of his lungs; “I AM NOT GOING!” We followed the bus to the campsite. When we arrived, Garret submitted and stayed the day and mama was waiting for him to arrive back to the church. I truly saw a smile on his face while he was in the bus but that smile quickly disappeared once he saw me.
As the memories flood my brain, my heart, I could continue with stories about you until my eyes close and my heart stops beating.
Garret, you made a difference in this cruel world. I have received hundreds of emails from people I never knew, letting me know how you helped change their lives for the better. These emails give me comfort in knowing that your father and I did a pretty good job!
It breaks my heart when I heard you were found on your knees, kneeling at the side of your bed. Your head laying on your mattress.
I have to believe that you were speaking to OUR LORD AND SAVIOR.
As your mama, I am still suffering from the empty nest syndrome and will until we meet again.
Garbear, you have, my heart, my mind, my everything! If there was ever a young man loved as much as you, they had all they needed. YOU HAD IT ALL!
YOU ARE LOVED, YOU WILL BE MISSED!~AS FOR YOUR MAMA, I WILL CONTINUE TO READ THE RUN-AWAY BUNNY, UNTIL WE MEET AGAIN.
SWEET SHALOM MY ANGEL!