The Talon

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Felicia Agnew, Guest Contributor

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The Talon is featuring Freedom teachers and staff in this month-long series of articles written by teachers and staff members.  The first installment is from Felicia Agnew, Technology Support Specialist.  Agnew has been at Freedom since 2004 and writes a personal blog.  This piece on her nephew marks the 10 year anniversary of her nephew’s tragic death.

Felicia Agnew is a Technology Support Specialist at Freedom HS.

Bobby

In June of this year, he would have turned 32. I often wonder what his life would have been like had he not made the series of terrible decisions that took him from us. I suppose he would have had a family at 32, a wife he loved and maybe a child or two. He loved being a Marine, that’s for sure so I imagine he would have still been a proud member of the Corps. Becoming a Marine changed his life. We gave them a troubled and directionless boy and they returned to us a confident respectful young man with a sense of purpose.

Bobby was my nephew. In March of 2009 he was stationed at Camp Lejeune in Jacksonville, North Carolina. One Saturday night he and a friend decided to drive down to a bar just over the South Carolina border to enjoy some rare time off before they shipped off to Afghanistan in a few weeks. Bobby and his friend were both intoxicated when they climbed in to the truck to make the drive back to base. On the way up the highway they engaged in a drag race with another vehicle. His friend who was driving lost control of the vehicle and left the roadway striking a tree and killing them both instantly. The driver was the father of a young daughter. Bobby was my brothers only child.

Our family was devastated by the loss. My son who was 17 at the time was deeply affected by the death of his beloved cousin. Having to tell him that his cousin who was also one of his best friends had died was the hardest thing I have ever done. I will never forget the sight of my son laying face down in the middle of my bed weeping as if his heart would be broken forever.

When something bad happens, you try to look for the lesson, the silver lining, any little scrap of good you can take from it. Unfortunately, there really isn’t anything good you can take from the too soon death of a twenty-two-year-old but what it gave me was the chance to have many meaningful and heartfelt talks with my children about drinking and driving. Our family is very aware of how fragile life is. We hug each other and say I love you with purpose. We know it can all be snatched away in an instant.

We will never forget Bobby. My son wears some of his clothing on a regular basis even though he swims in it. My brother says he still has conversations with the son he so desperately misses. It’s taken a while, but I think I am at the point that when his memory sweeps in it brings smiles instead of tears. We can tell our Bobby stories with laughter and great wishing that he was still here. Losing someone you love might be the hardest thing you will ever have to survive, but you will survive it. Life does go on and that is what our Bobby would want us to do. Live.

-Felicia Agnew

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