Friends of Monett,
Words cannot begin to express our heartfelt appreciation for the overwhelming outpouring of love and support, kindness and compassion and the humbling display of respect for duty, honor and country that has been shown by the entire Monett community during the past few weeks, in celebrating Christopher's life. Your thoughts, prayers and expressions of kindness in so many different ways, have been felt and appreciated, as well as, humbling.
A week prior to the incident, I was able to talk to Christopher and we had a great conversation. During our conversation he began sharing with me some of what he called, "some awesome war-related bomb experiences" with nothing but pure excitement and happiness in his voice (which was nothing different from the minute he had joined the military. He truly loved being a soldier).
While sharing his stories, God confirmed the peace He had always given me with Christopher serving in Afghanistan and when Trenton had served as well. At one point Christopher chuckled during our conversation and said "Mom. I'm EOD, bombs and explosives is what I do . . . It's just another day at the office over here . . . I love what I'm doing . . . I'm where I'm supposed to be and I wouldn't want to be anywhere else in the world." I reassured Christopher and told him "God has always given me a peace about he and his brother serving in the military and going to Afghanistan. I am confident that they are in God's will and fulfilling His purpose for their life, and as long they continue to do that, God will give me, a Mother's Peace, in all that they do."
That Peace has continued from the moment the Army officials informed me of Christopher's death. Christopher loved EOD and being a bomb specialist. We had a great family relationship (no regrets). But most importantly, Christopher had a close personal relationship with God and he's in Heaven meeting his dad for the very first time . . . oh, the stories that are being told, I'm sure . . . LOL.
Trenton and I have Peace, and even though we will probably never understand why this has happened, we are grateful for God's Amazing Grace during this difficult time.
There are so many things I want to say to Monett and I assure you, in time that will come. But at this time, I'm having a difficult time finding the quiet moments both mentally and emotionally to be able to sit down and write the personal thank you's that I will be expressing to so many people personally. My intent is to send this email to every person in the city of Monett, as well as the supporters outside of Monett, and those that contributed in so many different ways. But obviously I don't have everyone's email address. I had considered writing a "letter to the editor" to express our appreciation, but I just felt it wouldn't do justice to the level of "awe-inspiring community support" and magnitude that Monett and the outlying communities have provided to our family.
My apologies for not expressing our sincere appreciation earlier and please know, there is not a day that goes by that I am not thankful to Monett and all of the supporters for embracing us during this difficult time.
They say, "home is where your heart is" . . . our hearts will forever remain in Monett as we cherish the precious memories of Christopher and the community that became family, as we celebrated the boy that became a man and ultimately laid down his life, defending the very freedoms we cherish today.
Thank you for keeping us in your thoughts and prayers. Wishing each of you a great day.
Teresa and Trenton Stark