Sunday, June 21, 2009

Aaron Williams (December 7, 1972 - June 22, 2007)

"To Where You Are"'


Who can say for certain
Maybe you're still here
I feel you all around me
Your memory, so clear

Deep in the stillness
I can hear you speak
You're still an inspiration
Can it be
That you are mine
Forever love and you are watching over me from up above

Fly me up to where you are
Beyond the distant star
I wish upon tonight
To see you smile
If only for awhile to know you're there
A breath away not far
To where you are

Are you gently sleeping
Here inside my dream
And isn't faith believing
All power can't be seen

As my heart holds you
Just one beat away
I cherish all you gave me everyday
Cause you are my
Forever love
Watching me from up above

And I believe
That angels breathe
And that love will live on
and never leave

Fly me up
To where you are
Beyond the distant star
I wish upon tonight
To see you smile
If only for awhile
To know you're there
A breath away not far
To where you are

I know you're there
A breath away not far
To where you are

~Josh Groban


Today is the two year anniversary of the home going of my hero, Aaron Williams. Some of you may know his story, but others of you may not yet know it, so I will at least attempt to explain the type of man he was and what he means/meant to me.
Aaron was born December 7, 1972, I think he was the 4th of 9 children, but don't hold me to that! All of his life he was a jokester! He loved to make people laugh and feel comfortable around him. Aaron was one of the few people who had no enemies!! He was a friend to everyone.
I'm not quite sure of his entire timeline, but I do know that he joined the Marines (sometime when I was pretty little), and HE LOVED HIS COUNTRY! My favorite thing in the world used to be to tease Aaron about being a "Jar Head" in which he would always reply "I'd rather be a jar head than a squid like your dad!"
My mom is Aaron's dad's secretary, I remember the day that the office got the discharge papers from the military for Aaron. I can remember wondering who was going to have to hand those papers to Aaron, I wasn't there when that happened, but I can only imagine the look on Aaron's face when he was given those papers. I know that was one of the hardest things for him over the entire duration of his sickness.
In 2004, shortly after completing special forces training in the Air Force, Aaron was diagnosed with a brain tumor, and told that he had 6 months to live! Thankfully, God gave him to us for 3 more years. Those were years full of sorrow and tears, but also full of laughter and joy.
Throughout those 3 years Aaron had his ups and downs. He had to have surgery and something went wrong when they put his scull back together so his head was sunken in! That didn't bother Aaron, he used to make jokes about his head. He often would forget things, yet another thing that didn't drag him "down in the dumps" he made jokes about that too.
There was never a time when you were with Aaron that you weren't laughing. I have so many memories stored up inside that would take forever to write.
Probably one of my favorites is a phone call I got from him about a month before he died. He was driving to his home in PA after spending several times in IN with his family. I had asked him when I saw him at church the day before to stop by the office on his way out of town to say good bye, he had assured me that he would. Well, he forgot. I really wasn't surprised, or hurt because I knew that most of his short term memory was gone. Several hours later, I was at home when I got a phone call. It was this guy who had a strong Kentucky accent claiming that he had just moved to the Warsaw area and he had a teenage son who went to school with some friend of mine and this son had a huge crush on me and he wanted to take piano lessons from me. I was freaked out! I had NEVER had anything like that happen to me in my life. We spoke for about 5 minutes about how I taught piano lessons and what I required, etc. I finally got him off the phone and immediately called Mom. She calmed me down, and then said not to worry about it. A few minutes later my phone rang again. It was Aaron, laughing hysterically! He had made that whole thing up and had figured that I would figure out his fake accent like I always had before. He had seriously called to say that he had forgotten to say goodbye, so he was calling to say bye. That was the last time I had a coherent conversation with Aaron. From that time on he went down hill REALLY fast, it was about a month after that that he died.
The following month or so was very difficult on Aaron. It included a trip to Mexico, grasping at last straws, hoping that maybe something would work. Finally it was obvious that he was not going to make it. So he came back to Indiana to die.
I remember going to see him soon after he came back. I went into his parents home, and was SHOCKED!! Aaron had always been a strong, physically fit, healthy, big Marine, in fact that is why doctors think he lived as long as he did, because he kept himself healthy. Anyways, he was sitting on a recliner, and he looked awful! He was pale, and weak, and his memory was shot. He didn't even remember a lot of his family members. My family walked in together, Aaron thought my dad was one of his brothers, but other than that he remembered the rest of our names. We spent a few minutes talking, then he some how remembered the whole piano lesson thing! That was amazing, even his family was surprised that he remembered that story. The two of us went back and forth about it for a few minutes, before deciding that I would bring a keyboard in and teach him how to play! :P On the outside I was laughing with Aaron, but on the inside my heart was breaking. I finally had to leave so I gave him a hug (which was the last hug I ever got from him) and went for a walk, I hated seeing him that way!
I think that was on a Friday or Saturday. The following Wednesday we got a phone call from his mom, Aaron wanted to see my family. We went over, and he was in bed, which is where he had been for several days. By this time, he couldn't talk, and he kept his eyes closed for the most part. The only response he would give to someone was to open his eyes, or briefly squeeze a hand. When I walked in the room, death was almost a tangible feeling. My family each took a turn holding Aaron's hand and talking to him for a few minutes. My turn was last. I walked to his side and gently picked up his hand, it was so pale and weak, and clammy. I just stood there for a few minutes, the realization that this was probably the last time I would ever see him on this earth alive was sinking in, and my tears flowed. I told him who I was and he slightly squeezed my hand. After just standing there for a few minutes, I told him that he was my hero and that he was my favorite Jar Head and he always would be, he opened his eyes and squeezed my hand. That squeeze continued for almost 5 minutes, and there was no way I was letting go! That was the last time I saw him alive.
At approximately 12:30 AM on June 22, 2007 Aaron Andrew Williams went home to be with his Lord. He had fought a good fight, he had touched so many lives, and now it was time for him to go home. In his short life, Aaron touched more people than most people who live to 90 touch. He was amazing!
At his funeral so many people came who loved Aaron. Some had met him, others had not, but all were drawn together because in some way Aaron had shown them love, and in return all loved him. I really don't remember much about the viewing and funeral. I do know that he was the first and only dead person that I've ever touched. :) The funeral procession from the church to the cemetery was almost a mile long!
Aaron's life brought so much glory to God, and when it was time for him to go, there was no fear in his heart about dying. He was very peaceful. The tears that I shed were not that he was going to Heaven, but that he was in so much pain, and also that I would be losing a dear, dear friend, and my hero.
I feel so blessed that I knew Aaron for the first 16 years of my life. His memory will live on in my heart forever!

8 comments:

Rosebud said...

That was very touching. I don't think you'd told me quite that much before. It seems like he was a really great guy.

Jason A. Hunsicker said...

Wow Hannah. He sounded like he was just an awesome person to be friends with. Most Marines I have met have not been that friendly and funny...he must have been very special.

bug said...

He was the best and i miss him soooo much!
I wish everyone knew him...he inspired so many people, including me to do so many things...

Jason A. Hunsicker said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jason A. Hunsicker said...

Sorry for writing again, but I had never heard this song, so I had to look it up on youtube. Wow, what a great song!

bug said...

the first time i heard it i thought of Aaron, and everytime i listen to it i cry.

Elizabeth J. said...

That was a very touching tribute-I'm sure he meant a lot to you.

Anderson family said...

Wow Hannah, it seems like he was a great guy. The post was wonderful. :)

Bethany