Story Telling


No doubt I have been an inconsistent blogger in the last month or two. I went from posting once every Sunday for a few years to taking quite a few Sundays off. I am not sure what it means except to say that I don’t have much to write about grief these days. Maybe I am at that point in my life when I have little to contribute to the conversation…like I have shared all I can and don’t have much else. For those who are new to their grief you won’t understand what I am saying, but some day you will and that is a good thing.


The truth is that grief has a beginning, but no end. We transition from one place to another, adjust, learn to live with it, but it’s always there. No getting over it in 6 months, a year or two, but embracing it and accepting that we loved someone so much that we are willing to keep the pain alive in order to keep them fresh in our minds. It’s a tough gig, but it would be way worse to forget.


Let’s talk about them and remember them always. Tell another story about him or her. “William” stories make me laugh and cringe and usually cry, but it’s his story and your story and I want to know. I want to know. So grateful for this one.


Hey Mrs. Keys, I just wanted to let you know tonight I was thinking about Will and I also wanted to let you know how thankful I am he was with us Afghanistan. I always knew if something happened to me or a brother of mine Will had the ability to save everyone. I have never met or had a Doc like him. We took a good amount of fire one day slash Ambush on a OP we where staying at helping another company because they where short handed. Your son grab his rifle and ran so fast with nothing on him accept shorts and his rifle and was returning fire before anyone he was barefoot. We said DOC stop but we continued to supreme the enemy and gave them hell but had to tell Will to back off because if we got hot we needed him. I miss him so much he always made me feel if something happen to me he was going to save my life because he was that great. I just thought you should know. Will’s blood was a warrior and I’m thankful I got to meet him and I will see him other side one day. He helped so many freaking people over there and gave me stitches to me knee. Your son was amazing. I will always honor him.”


~Afghanistan photos by Will Keys

28 thoughts on “Story Telling

  1. Wow, what a great story. If you have more keep them coming. A question: my coworker’s daughter just died during childbirth. The baby survived. As you know, this is rare in 21st century USA so you can imagine the shock. I’m not sure what to say to her when she comes back to work. Suggestion?

    • What a heart-breaking incident for this family, Lou. First and foremost you say how sorry you are for the loss of her daughter and offer her time and a place to be in her sadness if she needs it….sometimes out of the blue one just becomes so overwhelmed and she may need time away from her desk. Ask her her daughter’s name and that is it for now.

  2. Lisa, what a beautiful letter that William’s friend wrote and sent to you. I’m sure you keep it close and read it over and over. Thank you for sharing your journey with us … ❤️

    • Just received that note last week. It’s like getting a hug and a kiss from above. It helps with the healing, I believe, and a treasure to know him through others’ experiences. Before he left for Afghanistan I begged him not to be a hero, but that boy never listened to me….. 🙂 I am just so proud of him I could explode sometimes ❤

  3. I agree that there isn’t a time limit on grief. I miss my nephew so much during the holidays, his birthday and especially one of his road trips. The road trips caused for long talks with lots of laughter. While he served overseas not knowing was the worst part but he made it back with lots of scars. I’m so glad he had your William as a brother while in combat and back in the states. I think of you and your family often.

    • They were an amazing, brave pair, Brenton and William. They found their calling in life and were the best of the best. It continues to be a bit of a mystery why they were taken that night and I think that makes it all the more difficult for us. Your family is always in my thoughts. ❤

    • Don’t be sad today. Be proud that such brave young men are willing to defend your freedom. When I hear these stories about my son my heart just swells with his courage and his love and light.

  4. William showered himself in honor. What courage and humility! Others came first. Never thought of himself. No cowering in fear for him. He was a warrior with the heart of a saint. No greater virtuous life than his.
    Brother JJ

  5. Oh my goodness. What a story. I know you know how much he was liked and respected but hearing it from these tough as nails guys really hits home. Simply one of a kind.

    • Yes it is a great story and affirms what we have always known about him. Like Jimmy said ” a warrior and a saint”

  6. I wasn’t surprised by that letter at all!
    William always made everyone feel safe and loved.
    William was as “special” as they come and he will always hold a very special place in
    my heart. Uncle Charlie also was so proud of him……but you already know that!

  7. What a beautiful gift that story is. What an incredible son you have. I’m glad you are arriving in that “better place” where things aren’t as raw. At Gig’s wedding, after the Parents’ dances, the DJ’s first song was Jack and Diane, it took me about 3 seconds to realize it. It was one of Jeffrey’s favorites, Gig was laughing at my reaction as he had planned it secretly and I got up again and danced with him and we laughed and smiled enjoying the moment that few had any idea about. Wishing you more laughs than tears my friend. ❤️

    • How thoughtful of Gig to know this song and dance would make you happy…..those details of how to include a lost loved one at a wedding are extremely special and obviously Gig misses his brother and knew how to express that…such love

  8. You have so, so much to contribute and many lives to touch through your own and William’s.

  9. Reading this young mans account of your William is so touching. It’s such a blessing to know how much William was respected and admired by his peers and it speaks volumes about his character and strength. His short life was well lived!

    • Yes—a friend once described him as a great but short book……wish I could have a sequel. Your daughter is about to interact with the warriors and saints and my guess become one, too ❤ as she takes care of the sick and the wounded…grateful for her courage

  10. I loved the beautiful note you received that made you again feel the pride that you’ve already felt to have such a brave and wonderful son. I am so happy that your grief journey is at the point that it is too.
    As you might recall, I lost my daughter Amy last December 18th to a accidental drug overdose. There is no honor in that departure and I am still suffering the pain of her sudden loss. This past Sunday we went to see the headstone that was casted for her gravesite that we had bought for her. As I stood there with my 82 year old Mom holding her hand, the tears just flowed. The headstone was beautiful and I had all her favorite things on it. My husband Steve and my son Steven and my sweet granddaughter Morgan (her daughter) all stood there in silence just staring at it. Morgan finally planted some flowers for her Mom after Steve dug a hole to put them in and again we all looked on in silence. Finally my son Steven remarked how his sister would love the sun that was shining down on her and the beauty that abounds around her gravesite and especially the flowers that Morgan planted for her. We all agreed and gave hugs and walked around a bit before we returned to our cars to go back home. It was another day that was needed to take place as we all try to come to terms with the fact that my daughter Amy is no longer on this Earth with us. Thanks for giving me a place to write what I was feeling that day Lisa. ❤

    • Your Amy is a well loved young woman and mom; there is great honor in that. It takes courage to write and share your feelings. Your heart is always welcome here as you help others realize they are not alone. Visiting a gravesite is an especially important tradition in healing. How wonderful that your family gathered around Amy together. You are holding each other up. Much love to you.

  11. An email from a Connecticut neighbor just warmed my heart…My first thought was “Oh Lisa,I know it’s heartbreaking,but try to let it go so your heart an heal”.
    Then I read the letter.It is unbelievable.
    He was a living breathing hero willing to die to protect his buddies and all of us.

    Then I thought further and realized that I can’t forget the day he came to visit us because Ann was unable to go to his homecoming party,just a short walk up the street.
    Those hands that handed Ann a plate of his mother’s cookies were the same hands that fired a weapon at a merciless enemy he faced and we read about.
    He and his mother sat on our couch to talk as though he was home from college on break..
    We remember when he was born.
    He wasn’t too busy to show kindness love and respect to those “older neighbors”down the street.
    I will never again question why mourning never ends.
    It shouldn’t.

  12. A beautiful tribute to a wonderful, giving, sacrificing son! I can only echo the other comments and accolades of the other commenters – ditto and AMEN. Bless you and your family Lisa!

    • As most parents will admit, there were times when William and I batted heads over a variety of things (the mom knows best attitude sometimes got the best of me), but even memories of those difficult times allow me to see the best of him…..being the person he was it makes it all the more difficult….to not see him reach further and be even more…a husband and a dad…..I know you feel the same for your dear son.

  13. Such a wonderful tribute….. Makes a mom proud, while I am in awe! I’m sure this is one of many, many stories of his honor, sacrifice and character. xoxo

    • I have a treasure box full of stories, cards, letters that I have saved, but it is these pop-up moments from one who finds me on FB that I find so wonderful…that in a moment he is on someone’s mind and they write down their thoughts to share. I really love that about his people.

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