My beautiful baby boy, I miss you so bad. It will be six weeks on June 13 since you left me. I remember our last telephone conversation that, from what everybody could gather, was an hour and a half before the accident. I told everybody that you'd just left the mall and were heading back to base. You had been looking for a certain pair of tennis shoes to take with you to Japan,because you knew Japan wouldn't have them. You had said that we'd order them on the internet Friday night when you got out of class and got home. I reminded you that you had to pull duty Friday and you said, "oh, thanks for reminding me, we'll order them Saturday." Like having to pull duty on a Friday night was no big deal ("it's just a job, Momma, it's just a job.") In closing our conversation you said "I love you! I'll talk to you soon." I remember saying "when, Nick, when will I talk to you?" and you just laughed and laughed and said "Soon, Momma, I'll talk to you soon." At times it feels like just yesterday that the Navy came to the house and told me you had passed. At other times it seems like a year since I've heard your voice. I need you so much. Your Navy and civilian friends have been so good. You taught a lot of them how to love and live life. They enjoy telling stories about how you were always ready to go, giving homeless people money, how you'd talk to anybody, and how you didn't judge people by their backgrounds, size, color, or what they believed in. They miss you terribly and cry for you. Your Chief said that you would've been top of your class come graduation on May 31; through his tears, he had many great things to say about you. Your PaPaw said that you lived more in your 19 years than what we ever will. Your MaMaw keeps asking people if they know of a "19-year-old kid that would call their big, fat, ugly Grandma to see if she wanted to go to the movies and the whole time hug on you?" You touched so many people; someone told me "that's what angels do." I had to cry because I realized that I had the love of an angel and I got to live with you. I knew you were special when you fought your way to get into this world. Being an angel, I'm sure you knew that every night before I went to bed that I'd ask for God to watch over you because you were my world. I just can't understand why He took everything I lived for away. There were more people at your service than the funeral home had ever had before. You were/are truly loved. Your sailor buddies couldn't believe that your ex-girlfriends were there. I told them that you always kept in touch with them to see how they were doing. Your six-year-old girlfriend, Heather, doesn't really understand that she won't be able to see you again. Your girlfriend, Holly, has been coming home every time the Navy lets her off the ship. We're reading books about "crossing over" and they seem to help, but sometimes the pain is so unbearable, all we can do is cry. We love you, Nick, and we miss your practical jokes, laugh, and your beautiful smile that I was always afraid you'd wear out because you used it all time. I'm still waiting to hear from you. I love you, baby, and my heart hurts so bad. I truly hope that I'll get to join you soon.
Nick died May 2, 2002, at 2:00 p.m., on Route 207, Aegis Class 020.