Greetings Street Survivors ! We have been meeting on these pages for a few years now and shared a lot of different perspectives and training tips. Some of you have even written in and shared personal experiences with me, which I appreciate. The series we presented on Experts in the Field helped us pick the brains of very knowledgeable experts in the law enforcement, military and civilian arenas. The last few days, I’ve been thinking a lot about the experts in our lives before we became adults responsible for our own actions and personal defense, namely our parents. Some of you were blessed to have both parents, however many of us only had one parent growing up to learn from. In my case my Dad died when he was just 23 years old after only being married to my Mom for about 3 years, who at the time was 6 months pregnant with my brother. Imagine the fear and depression a young widow would go through during such a tragedy. Mom continued to battle back with her young family, protecting and preparing us for life every way she possibly could. Eventually re-marrying and having 5 more children she continued to teach us throughout our lives. My Mom, Gencie M. Gray, who was both Mom and Dad to me, passed away this week at the age of 81. Her laughter, wit and independence on full display right till the end.
Mom had a real servant heart and worked as a volunteer for the blind, assisted the elderly at the end stages of their lives, juggled 7 children with meals, laundry demands, medical issues, dragged us all to church, and stretched a dollar from here to the moon. I’ve never met a stronger person, even during my years in Special Forces.
Mom loved gardening, beautiful flowers, all animals, living in the Green Mountains of Vermont with the lakes and rivers, snowstorms and white Christmas’s. She laughed hard and often at us and herself, never taking life too seriously, but always demonstrating unconditional love. Mom was incredibly gifted with knitting, crocheting and sewing making hats, gloves and other necessary items oftentimes donating them to Samaritan’s Purse and other similar ministries. As a lifelong Christian woman, Mom had her work cut out keeping the 7 of us in line, but her efforts were fruitful and multiplied many times over through her children. Mom had suffered the loss of two sons both at the young age of 53 just a few years apart with the most recent being in March of this year. No parent wants to outlive their children, but Mom kept their memories alive and spoke of them often.
As a family we were so thankful to have had Thanksgiving this year with Mom surrounded by 3 of her children, 3 of her grandchildren and 2 of her great grandchildren here in SC with lots of laughter and photo ops. It was a special time that we will cherish always.