February 6, 2015 -
Obituaries » A. J.
“A.J.” Our Angel Baby
A.J. would have celebrated his third birthday on Tuesday, Feb. 6. His tragic drowning last summer left all in a state of devastation. The following letter written by his foster father, Scott Hawkins, was read at A.J.’s memorial service.
I remember the first night I met A.J. DCF had called and said they were bringing over a six-month old little boy. It was late when they walked through the door with a very tired and scared little man. For whatever reason, the lady holding him walked across the room and handed him to me. I felt the connection in an instant and I know he did also. From that moment forward, I became A.J.’s dad and he became my best little friend.
A.J. started with us before he could even crawl. I can still see him dragging himself across our floor as he got himself where he wanted to go, when he wanted to go there. I was able to watch him grow into a fearless two-and-a-half year old that always wanted to go where he wanted to go.
Everyone who knew A.J. knows that he has the strongest personality you ever met. He had a temper like you wouldn’t believe. He was the most stubborn kid I have ever met. When he decided something it was darn near impossible to convince him of anything else. For A.J., it was his way or not at all!
But A.J. loved just as fiercely. Whether I was getting home from work, or picking him up from Turtle Island, the second he spotted me, with a scream of “Daddy!” he would run to me as fast as he could. He loved his hugs, he loved his kisses, followed by “La you Daddy,” and off he would go. He loved to cuddle when he was tired and just watch to world move around him. His favorite time of day was bedtime. Every single night he was held and rocked to sleep by his mom, and he adored that time with her.
For those of you who know me, you know that I have seen a lot in this world. I have seen and done things that no man should ever have to do. I am intimately familiar with Death. War has been my everlasting companion for many years. I believed that after surviving these things, nothing could get to me or hurt me more.
I was wrong.
I cannot even begin to describe or explain the immense pain that I feel inside of me. It is all powerful; bearing down on me with such force that I literally cannot breathe at times. I can be OK for moments and then in an instant I am reduced to a sobbing mess. I would gladly suffer a thousands more Afghanistans if my A.J. could come back to us.
I don’t know how, or if I will ever, recover from this loss. It is not something I can see now. I will miss our Sunday morning trips to Burger King (A.J. absolutely loved BK hash browns); I will miss him taking off my hat, throwing it on the floor and then laughing like crazy. I will miss singing our song to him. I will miss a thousand things about A.J.
I hope to God that wherever A.J. is, that he is happy and that he still gets to spend some time with us. He was loved here, with everything we had. Until I see you again buddy, I want you to know it was an honor to be your daddy. We love you so, so much.