2003 was a year of many changes for us. Melissa went to UC, Irvine on an academic scholarship. I started grad school for my Master’s Degree. Kevin started high school. Melissa loved the big city life after growing up in the country. I love country life and I always will. I love space around me and watching the bright stars in the sky that city lights don’t allow. I did most of my grad studies online so I had a lot more freedom now. I was not taking care of children anymore in my home. Kira and Austin was in school now and doing good, although I really missed the daily interaction with them. However, Kevin did not like high school. He liked the social part of it, but not the academics that he continued to struggle in. When he was already 18 and in his senior year of high school he asked me if he passed the GED would I allow him to quit school. I told him that I would as long as he had his GED because in the job market they were comparable. He studied really hard and passed his GED 6 months before he was to graduate.
Melissa loved college, worked part time for UC, Irvine during her junior and senior years, and was hired by UC, Irvine fulltime when she graduated in 2007. She has lived in the Orange County area every since. She loves Southern California, and especially Orange and San Diego Counties. She had two cats that is her babies and no plans of settling down to marriage or a family anytime soon. She reminds me of myself when I was young and her age. I had my cat, no plans of children even though I was married. I see her following in my footsteps a lot except she has had more opportunities than I had and has went a lot further than I did when I was her age. She is in her late twenties and I am very proud of her. Her kitties, Amy and Taylor, keep her busy and supplies her with a lot of joy and affection.
Kevin joined the Air Force National Guard, Fresno, California unit in January 2008. He hated boot camp at first but was very proud of himself upon graduation. He loved the guard. He went from punk rock to military attire almost overnight. That was my Kevin. Always trying something new. Unfortunately, we lost him on January 17, 2010. He was only 21 years old when he died. It has been a great loss for his father, Melissa, our families, his friends, Melissa’s friends, and me. I miss him so much. Losing Kevin is the greatest sorrow and loss I have ever had or grieved. No one should lose their child. I hope my writings to and about Kevin will comfort other parents who have walked in my footsteps.
In September 2011 there was an investigation in the National Guard in regards to something to do with Kevin’s death and the circumstances that followed. It was a crisis time for me to go through that investigation. It was resolved quickly and peacefully and I am thankful for that. It also changed my life, and the life of others effected by it. When the investigation was complete I went to see the Commanding Colonel at the Fresno Guard base to talk to him. He did not know Kevin. He arrived at this base after Kevin’s death. We talked for an hour. I took my song I had written during Desert Storm War in 1991 for our servicemen with me for him to see and hear, along with some poetry I had written for Kevin. Before I left he made me promise him that I would do something with my writings and share them to comfort others who have lost loved ones, especially children, and could not put their feeling into words like I could. He liked the song, but especially the poetry. I promised him that day that I would. So this is why this website came about. I want to share my work to touch people’s hearts and comfort or bless them. I appreciate the writing gift and talent God has given to me and it is time to take it out from under a bush and let my light shine. I hope my writings will bless and comfort you too.
I am still working fulltime at a local high school as the Special Day Class (SDC) Special Education Teacher. I have been richly blessed. My two foster daughters came to me shortly after Kevin’s death. I had met one of them prior to his death, and the circumstances that happened at that time made me believe that God sent these girls my way. They are half sisters who were attending the high school where I work. They came to join my life and family. They are still a part of my life and family. They are my daughters too.
Our first Christmas without Kevin was hard on us. Kevin loved Christmas, loved playing Santa Claus, and we knew it was going to be a sad holiday season for us. Melissa asked if we could go somewhere, anywhere, far away from home for Christmas 2010. So Melissa and I booked a 21 day cruise on the Mediterranean Sea. We were gone a total of 24 days and visit 11 different countries besides the United States. It was a beautiful trip and cruise. Melissa had been to Mexico with friends while she was in college. I have never been to Mexico. I took Kevin and Melissa to Canada before her senior year of high school. We were scouting out colleges for Melissa to attend. Kevin enjoyed the many skateboarding parks along the way. We went throughout California, Oregon, Washington, and into Canada on that trip. We had never been to Europe or overseas. It was a great time for Melissa and I to get away. I am so glad we took that trip. We went to Germany, Spain, Italy, The Vatican, Turkey, Greece, Egypt (5 weeks before exploded into war), Malta, Morocco, The Canary Island, Portugal, back to Spain, back to Germany, and then home to the United States. I took a lot of notes and pictures and hope to share our adventure with you too.
This is the story of my adult life. It does not include my spiritual side, because that is under my testimony and I don’t want to repeat myself more than I need to. To learn more about me, read the other sections under “About Me.” I am happy today, very busy, and working very hard to get as many of my writings and songs on this webpage as possible for you to read, but it will take at least a year before I even make a dent in the piles of writings I have done. So visit my website often to see what is new. I will be video taping for my song videos and adding them as I get them completed. I feel like I am working three fulltime jobs right now and sometimes it is challenging but I am not one to walk away from challenges. I feel a real need to finish this website and post as many writings as I can while I am able to do so.
Thank you for sharing my life in such a special way. I hope to hear from you. Please share my webpage with others if you like it. I would really appreciate it. My Love, Hazel Gay Lee