Monday, September 20, 2010

pain and sadness fills our hearts...

This past Saturday night I got a phone call from Ben's old platoon sgt informing me that one of Ben's good buddies had passed away. Ben met Aaron in the early days of both of their Army careers. They have always been in contact with each other and while they have stayed in contact they have been separated by their jobs. Recently before our accident Ben had been in touch with Aaron about going through a selection process in NC. Aaron was telling him things he needed to know, tips and so on. Then our accident occured. I was in touch with Aaron via the phone a few times giving him updates on Ben's condition. We were invited to Aaron's wedding in March but we were unable to attend. Ben always had HIGH esteem for Aaron and could not say a bad thing about him. They built a ton of memories together by teaming up, working out, doing boy stuff and building each other up in Christ. Both Aaron and Ben had the fact that they were in the Army together and also shared a deep love for the Lord!
I had to tell Ben this horrid news. I told him simply that Grider had died in Afganistan and Ben said with much sadness in his face, "OH NO!" Oh my heart was breaking and has been. The tears were flowing and Ben and I were able to comfort each other.
Later we were able to talk about it a little bit more. Ben decided on his own that he wants to dedicate the rest of his recovery and rehab to Aaron. So, we have agreed together that when things get hard for us that we will not only continue to rely upon the Lord and each other but that we would continue to work hard for Grider, knowing that he would NEVER want Ben to surrender and give up! Both Ben and Grider learned together and very fast that SURRENDER IS NOT A RANGER WORD!

In an e-mail that I received recently from a girl that lost the love of her life and was also a good friend of Ben's she wrote, "Sometimes Katie I feel such assurance of God's hand in all of this. I feel that even though it hurts every single day that Jason is dead, that I can see so much beauty in the life I have been given. I feel so grateful that I was able to know, love and be loved by such an amazing man. I trust in God's, 'good, pleasing and perfect will'. But there are other days when the heaviness of my pain and the pain of others around me almost seem to paralyze me. It also breaks my heart again and again when I look at the pictures of the men they loved and have lost. There's this way to think through things that keeps the emotional toll at a distance. I think the more grief and real pain you experience, the better you are at 'managing' it. But that management is only an illusion. Little things shatter through our carefully planned defenses. Little things and big things. Things like another dead soldier and another heartbroken woman...." So honestly and beautifully put...what my heart would be saying right now too!
It makes me so grateful that Jesus chose to spare both of our lives! I value life and since that day have thanked Jesus every day for it. I get to hold my man, love on him and be near him...even if he is not yet healed 100% yet. These ladies that have lost their loves don't get that!

Please pray for this young bride, daughter and Aaron's family! They will need to experience the peace that surpasses all understanding! If you see a man in uniform, thank them, if you know someone who serves, thank them! You don't want to live with the regret of never saying thank you to those who are giving you freedom every single day!
Aaron, you are our hero! We know that you are in heaven and you are at peace! You will never be forgotten and will always be apart of our lives and in our hearts!! We love you!

Brighton, IL (KSDK) -- A soldier from Brighton, Illinois died while in the Kunduz province in Afghanistan on his 30th birthday.
The Department of Defense said Sgt. 1st Class Ronald A. Grider was hit by machine gun fire on September 18.
Sgt. Grider was assigned to the U.S. Army Special Operations Command at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. He is survived by his wife, Brittany Grider, daughter Katie-Anne Grider, and parents Ron and Rita Grider. Sgt. Grider was born in Alton, on September 18, 1980. He graduated from Civic Memorial High School in Bethalto in 1998.
He enlisted in the U.S. Army as an Infantryman on August 18, 1998.
After completing Infantry One Station Unit Training and Basic Airborne School, Sgt. Grider was assigned to Charlie Company, 2nd Battalion, 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment, Fort Bragg, N.C. where he served for three years as a grenadier and a rifleman.
In the spring of 2000, he attended 82nd Airborne Division Pre-Ranger Course, subsequently attending and graduating from Ranger School in May 2000.
Sgt. Grider was assigned as a scout team leader in March 2002 to Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 2nd Bn., 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment, and served in this capacity for seven months before being reassigned to Fort Benning, Georgia.
In October 2002, Sgt. Grider was assigned as a rifle team leader to Co. A, 1st Bn., 75th Ranger Regiment, transitioning to squad leader in October 2004. While assigned to Alpha Company, Sgt. Grider deployed once to Afghanistan for Operation Enduring Freedom and three times to Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Sgt. Grider was assigned in November 2005 as a special operations team member, United States Army Special Operations Command (Airborne), Fort Bragg, N.C. For five years he performed this duty, deploying four times to Operation Iraqi Freedom and once more to Afghanistan for Operation Enduring Freedom.
Sgt. Grider's awards include two Bronze Star Medals, Meritorious Service Medal, Army Commendation Medal with Valor Device, three Army Commendation Medals , five Army Achievement Medal, Army Good Conduct Medal (fourth award), National Defense Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal with two Bronze Service Stars, the Iraq Campaign Medal with six Bronze Service Stars, the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Noncommissioned Officer Professional Development Ribbon with numeral three, Army Service Ribbon, Ranger Tab, Sapper Tab, Combat Infantryman Badge, Expert Infantryman Badge, Military Free Fall Parachutist Badge, Master Parachutist Badge, and five Overseas Service Bars and the Valorous Unit Award.
Sgt. Grider was posthumously awarded his third Bronze Star Medal and the Purple Heart.


Candice said...

That is so sad. What a beautiful family. My heart and prayers go out to his loved ones!

I am glad you and Ben are able to use Grider as a source of inspiration.

Candice Pair said...

That is so awful. I have a little girl, and it breaks my heart to think of that preciou little girl losing her daddy...and of course the mother losing her husband. It really makes you stop and think about how precious our time here on earth is.

Anonymous said...

Katie, My heart is crying for Aaron's sweet family. Please pass on my prayers and blessings to them. I am proud of Ben's wanting to do the rest of his recovery in honor of Aaron memory. He is going to succeed BIG TIME!!!!! Please give each other a hug for me, Much love, Marion

Brenda said...


Erin said...

I am so sorry to hear this. We lost a soldier friend, who was going to be a daddy last September. It just doesn't seem right. I am thankful for a loving Father.

Kristin said...

This is so sad :( I will be praying

Leanne said...

Katie, what an honoring, beautiful tribute. I'm sure his life was richer by having Ben as his friend. Thanks for letting us get to know him and for the honor to pray for this family.

Heather said...

Thank you for your sweet post Katie. I need an every day reminder of how blessed I am to my soldier home safe, when so many other young women have gone through such tragedy. Wanted to share a short but special story with you- My husband, Alex was at a yankees game this past weekend, he got special field passes. There was a girl there with her baby and her parents- she mentioned her husband had passed away in May, alex asked what branch he served in- and she replied- RANGER. Alex felt so connected with her and long story short, was able to pull some strings and get her husband's hat autographed by his favorite player. I just feel like this Ranger family is connected in such a powerful way- from heaven to earth! I feel like her 'ranger in the sky' wanted alex to be there that day and connect with his wife. Praying for you and Ben, and also the families and wives you wrote about in this post.