The Night I Truly Met the US Navy

Joyce Fleming

It was 10:00 a.m. on Monday March 2, 1998, just another normal day at work, at least so I thought. I received an emergency phone call from my youngest brother Arlin. He needed me to come to his house, he had been crying and was very upset. I asked what was wrong, he said just get over there now! I hung up the phone and immediately began to account for my sons. Mike was in Italy in the Navy, Robert had left for work just a couple of hours earlier and Cody, I had dropped off at school before going to work. They were all accounted for, it must be my mom. Something must have happened to her. As I pulled up into the driveway of my brothers house, I saw a car in the driveway I had never seen before, my other brother Mouse was standing at the front door and Arlin was in the front yard. Standing behind Mouse was his wife Dee Dee. Who did that car belong to? As I approached my brother Arlin, I began to say "Don't tell me...." Arlin said he was killed in an automobile accident. I knew who the car belonged to at this time. It was a US Navy vehicle. As I began to survive the worst day of my life, my brothers helped me into the house, there is where I saw them for the first time. Two men dressed in Navy blue suits with all kinds of gold stuff on their uniforms and not a hair out of place. They were very polite and very helpful. As they began to tell me a story I could have lived ten lives without having to hear, my life, my body, my person, my whole being began to change at the very moment. My Michael had been killed in an auto accident and I wasn't there to save him or tell him goodbye. He was just 21 years old. He had been in the Navy One year, One month and One day. I had not seen him since August of 1997, when he came home on leave to be the best man in his brother, Roberts wedding. Although I had received an email from Mike just the day before he died, it seemed so long since I had seen him. It has been almost 3 years now and I remember every single detail of every thing that has taken place since that first day of March 1998. My Michael will never be a husband or father and his niece will never get to hug him. His girlfriend, Amanda and I stay in touch real often, but neither of us are able to spend much time together as the memory of Micheal is so painful for both of us. Amanda is the daughter-in-law I will never have. Each day is a difficult day. So many things set off the tears, a smell, a voice, a news report, a phone call, a song a T.V. show, a movie, a letter from the Navy, the things just go on and on and on. I want everyone to know that when I cry it's not their fault. Many times I can talk about Michael and I do just fine, other times I can't even say his name with out many tears. I have tried to understand what the heck this all is, but have come to the conclusion it is a way of life for me now and if I cry, let me, for the tears will go away soon and I will be normal again, whatever normal is. I will be able to hold a full time job again without difficulties, I will cook again, I will loose the weight I've gain since then, I will not have to take medication just to make it through the day, I will survive this tragic event in my life and will try to help anyone who is interested in figuring out this process we call grief.

I MOM Fleming

In Memory Of Michael Fleming

Joyce Fleming

You can send email to Joyce Fleming at [email protected]

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Anniversary date - 3-1-98
Date of post - 10-26-00

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