Robert, what an amazing young man. Most people knew him for his love of Harleys, but he was so much more. You had planned our meeting, having Billy Perdue knock on the door. He was my pal, and as I hugged him "Merry Christmas', my face met yours - over his shoulder. Those beautiful blue eyes, that held so many words without needing a voice. You were a gentleman, a gentle man in heart, full of pride and respect, and happiness. Serious when needed, and loving - always. And what a pro at mischief!!!
Thank you for being the man that shared everything with me, taught me strength beyond what my wonderful parents gave me, and loved me and everything about me. My parents adored you, and you were the only man my father had confidence in. When I was with you, he smiled and never worried. My Uncle CJ loved you, too; and on a warm summer night in 1969 we talked of you, and he told me how precious Real Love was.
I thank your parents, they were so kind to me. At your viewing, before it started, your mom called out for me to come to the "Family Room". She had a hand full of your photos, and told me of the wedding ring you showed her on your last R&R. It had not been returned with your personal effects, and she cried because she could not give it to me. Then it was her request that I be first to kneel at your coffin. From that point on, I was lost for years.
In 1981, we connected again. I had gone on - knowing you wanted me to be strong. I'd married, had two sons, and found that no man could reach the bar you had set. So when your parents saw me, they welcomed me as a single mom, and embraced mt sons like grandchildren. It was beautiful to see them all smiling.
Your Mom is now with you. When she passed, your Dad and sister, Sandy, invited me to spend time with them at her grave. It was another 'special moment' of closeness for me.
As I write this in 2013, your dad is still here - 95 yrs. old and bright and spunky as ever... and, if not for VietNam, you too would have lived long - with me by your side.
I love you, and I honor your bravery and your sacrifice. But.. Oh, how I miss you. When times are really difficult, I sense you near me and know I will be alright. I would write more, but those deep personal thoughts are just for you and I.
Friends that visit this page, thank you for coming. He's only a thought away, and it makes him smile
With love and honor, Darlene
PS If any fellow Army friends visit, I'd welcome any notes of memories you'd like to share. firstname.lastname@example.org (I check every now & then) Thank you.