Tears of Sorrow

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Lloyd Guessford, died June 7, 1944 on the shores of Normandy, France

Lloyd Guessford, died June 7, 1944 on the shores of Normandy, France

Lloyd carefully pulled the tattered letter from his wallet. Faded, smudged, and creased, the letter was difficult to read, but that mattered not to the young man for he had already memorized the loving words. He treasured each letter he received from his wife, especially since the arrival of his daughter, Barbara Ann, on January 21–over 16 months ago. His lips curled slightly upward as he reread the message:

Dear Lloyd,

Your daughter is growing so fast. How I wish you could see her! She is learning new words every day. She loves to look at pictures, and she now says “Da!” when I show her your picture. She keeps me busy as she likes to climb and gets into everything.

I had this picture taken especially for you! Barbara is wearing her new dress she got for her first birthday. Fella Studio did an excellent job capturing her blue eyes. They do so remind me of you.

Both of us are fine, but we miss you dearly. I tell little Barbara Ann all about you, and she can’t wait to meet her daddy.

I know this letter is short, but I wanted you to get this picture as soon as possible. I will write more later.

With my deepest love,

Connie

Lloyd smiled as he once again gazed at his only daughter. His wife was right. Barbara had his blue eyes, but she had his wife’s brunette hair. Oh, how Lloyd loved his beautiful brown‑eyed wife, and oh how he missed her!

Would Barbara recognize him from his picture? How would she react when she saw her daddy for the first time? Would she reach out for him, or would she turn shyly away?

Lloyd sighed as he carefully folded the letter and placed the picture back into his wallet. How he hated this war! He wanted to be back with his lovely wife and daughter.He wanted to be back with his lovely wife and daughter—a daughter who was growing up without him, a daughter he hadn’t even met.  Hopefully, the war would soon be over, and then he would enjoy getting to know his daughter.


But Lloyd never got that opportunity. Lloyd Theodore Guessford died on June 7, 1944, during D‑Day operations in Normandy, France. He left behind a young wife and a daughter, not quite 17 months old.


Connie tried to muffle her sobs as she rocked her young daughter who had finally fallen asleep. The young wife and mother struggled to be brave for her daughter’s sake. Yet, Barbara was perceptive beyond her young years. She knew something was wrong and she clung desperately to her mother while awake and resisted going to sleep.

Gently, Connie laid her young daughter in her crib. “Oh, my little Barbara Ann! How sorry I am that you will never meet your daddy. He was such a wonderful man!”

Tears flowed down her face as she tenderly placed a kiss on the sleeping child’s soft brown hair. “Whatever will we do without our dear Lloyd?”

She did not leave her daughter’s room but collapsed back into the rocking chair, as she had nearly every night since the awful tragedy. “Oh, Lloyd, why did you have to die? Why? I need you so much! Barbara needs you!”

Connie let her mind wander back to the last time she had seen her beloved. She vividly remembered those final precious moments before Lloyd boarded the train that took him away forever. She had clung desperately to her husband as though she could prevent his leaving. Somehow, she had feared the war would take him away for more than just a couple years, despite his reassuring promises.

“Connie, I’ll be back before you know it. Be brave for me‑‑and that little baby,” he said winking as he patted her slightly swollen abdomen.

As much as she tried, Connie could not hold back the tears as she watched the train pull away. She was a brave young woman after that, and no one saw her cry. Only her damp pillowcase at night betrayed her emotions.

Time passed, but that lingering fear that somehow the war would separate her from her beloved, never departed. Even before the confirmed report of her husband’s death, Connie knew that something dreadful had happened.

Suddenly, her life was empty, except for little Barbara who gave Connie hope that life would go on. Barbara was her last living link to Lloyd, and somehow, she and Barbara would make it.


 

Author’s note

This fictionalized true story was written in November 2000. I never had the privilege of meeting Lloyd Guessford, although I’ve seen pictures of him and Connie and have read the newspaper account of his death. Yet this man has become an important part of my life since I married his oldest grandson in 1991.

Though dead, Lloyd lives on in his daughter Barbara, his two grandsons, and his three great‑grandsons and four great‑granddaughters. Without this man, whom I never met, I would not have a wonderful set of in‑laws, a terrific husband, two nieces, nor five precious children.

I am thankful for the many Lloyd Guessfords who fought to maintain this country’s freedom and for the many who willingly sacrificed their lives for that cause.

My husband Maynard Keller also wrote about his grandfather in Lest We Forget

You can read about my oldest son in the Army in Happy Birthday in Afghanistan..

 

Heaven’s Treasure

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He was just a little boy
with a heart full of love,
yet God the Father called him
to his heavenly home above.

He was just a little boy
with so much in store,
yet on that fateful day
his life became no more.

He left behind a family
with mourning in their hearts
who sorrow at his passing.
His soul from earth departs.

Forever in God’s presence
his soul with God resides.
In heav’nly mansions yonder
forever to abide.

We know you cannot come back.
We miss you tenderly;
but one day soon in heaven,
united we will be.

1 Corinthians 15:54b-55
Death is swallowed up in victory.
O Death, where is your victory?
O Death, where is your sting?

In memory of Cody James Creech (January 24, 1995 – January 1, 2005)

When Death Hits Home describes the terrible tragedy that ended Cody’s life on this earth.

When Death Hits Home

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 Cody Creech

I’ll never forget that phone call nine years ago.

“Rachel, this is Mom.”

From the tone in her voice, I sensed something was desperately wrong.

She quivered as she told me the news. “There’s been an accident. Cody was hit by a tractor trailer while on his four wheeler. He’s on life support at the hospital.” She barely sobbed out the next words, “They—they don’t think…he’ll make it.”

I was stunned, not knowing what to say. I had just seen my sister a few days earlier. Although miles separated my family from the rest of my extended family, and my sister lived even further away, I had seen my sister for a brief time before she and her family spent a few days skiing over their Christmas vacation.

That mild December night as I walked under the stars in my neighborhood cul-de-sac, I cried out to God to save Cody’s life, but most of all to give my sister and her family His all sufficient grace to bear the grief ahead and the painful decisions that had to be made.

I kept hoping that this was just a bad dream, and that I would wake up to find everything all right. Why would Cody, a bright young boy just shy of his 10th birthday, have to face the grim reaper? Cody was a delightful boy so full of promise. It seemed unfair that my sister would lose one of her two biological children, while I was expecting my 5th child.

I looked up at the stars and imagined Cody’s soul already in heaven. Even as I thought of death, the baby within my womb kicked reminding me of the life growing within me.

Nothing could be done to save Cody’s life. His soul had already left his body; only the life support was keeping his body alive for possible organ donation. On New Year’s Day when everyone else was celebrating, my sister made the painful decision to remove the life support.

Only those who have lost a child understand the deep pain a person experiences at the death of a child. I know the loss of miscarriage, but I still have my five children.

Yes, it hurts to know that you will never see your child on earth again, but we have the assurance that we will one day be reunited with him. The previous summer Cody had accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as his Savior and he is waiting in heaven for us.

Even in his death, Cody made a difference: his organs helped others live. While the pain of death never goes away, you learn to cope and become a stronger person in the process. My sister has helped so many others in so many ways. And after being out of school for so many years, she decided to go back to earn her teaching degree (with highest honors). She is now making a difference in the lives of precious boys and girls as a 3rd grade teacher.

Yes, we miss Cody, but we know that one day death will be swallowed up in victory.

O Death, where is your victory?

O Death, where is your sting?

1 Corinthians 15:55

Cody Creech Memorial Site