The 4th of July has always been a BIG deal for our family. We typically blow up way too many fireworks and eat too many burgers and dogs. Not only are we the patriotic type, but my brother-in-love was born that day. In 1992, our son was born that day, too! As this firecracker baby of ours was growing up, I would fib to him and say all the fireworks were just for him!!
The night that our Richard Wayne was born, James slipped out to celebrate and shoot fireworks with his best friend and our best man, Wayne. Yes, we did name our son in honor of my husband's childhood BFF. Wayne was as close as, possibly even closer than a brother to him since they were very small boys. They were equally at home in the other's house. Brother from another mother, that is how they might have described each other.
Over the years we moved all over the country and back, Wayne served our country overseas and at home in the National Guard, babies were born, and the messy stuff of life happened to us all. Through all the challenges and all the changes, James and Wayne remained close. It is a testimony to their character and loyalty that they stayed so close for 40-ish years. A friendship like theirs is a rare and precious gift.
This year, the 4th of July was changed forever. I was still groggy when I got the call that morning. I couldn't quite follow what I was hearing on the line. Something happened...Wayne and his wife, Celeste...accident..."slow down," I begged. "Was Wayne hurt?"
He was dead. Celeste also. Oh Lord, no...
|Wayne and Celeste Shelton|
They had just celebrated their 2nd wedding anniversary the week before. This couldn't be happening. I could not bear to break the news to Richard...much less on his birthday.
|Left to right: Wayne, Richard and James|
It's tragedy enough when one parent dies, but both at the same time? Wayne and Celeste left behind four partially dependent young adults to take care of all of the arrangements. Can you imagine the kind of heartbreaking and grown up decisions they are being forced to make without their parents there to guide them?
While their parents affairs are being settled, these four kids are responsible for paying all the bills, the rent, upfront expenses of the funeral arrangements as well as finding new places to live...all while grieving for their parents. It's hard to wrap my mind around this tragedy. It's unthinkable.
There is a memorial fund set up in honor of Wayne and Celeste. Funds raised will be used to cover the expenses related to the funeral costs and settling of affairs. Any remaining funds will be split four ways between the kids, Heather, David, Chelsey and Madison.