It has been a year since the loss of Howard, and I must say, not a day has gone by that he was not missed by me. I know many of you also have felt that loss from your calls, cards, letters and emails to me. I am so grateful to each of you who have kept me in your hearts and prayers then and throughout the year.
It was wonderful to see each of you who were able to make it to Howard's memorial service. He was there in spirit and appreciated all the honors he was given by everyone. Those of you who were not able to make it, just know that he truly knew your hearts and treasured the friendships that he had with each of you. I have been blessed by so many of your gifts that were heart felt in wanting to help me to get back on my feet after the past years of caregiving. I would give anything if he had been cured or even was still here and I could still be caring for this man, but he is in a much better place. You have shown me a great deal of love and I can not express my appreciation enough. To each of you that contributed to the reception held afterwards, thank you for making it possible to allow such a great time of sharing and honoring Howard's memory. His family also includes their thanks as well.
I wondered how I would survive without his cheerful smile, compassionate nature and genuine love in my life. He was my best friend and soul mate. I have gone through my own trials in dealing with his loss. We were pretty inseparable and I was referred to as his shadow by some. Even his youngest grandson did not seem to differentiate between my familiar face and his as he kept calling me the same name he used for his grandpa. After being so close, there were those inevitable periods of darkness and pain to be experienced. Yes, even I who prided myself on being his rock and a rock for others found myself engulfed in depression and the overwhelming feeling of loneliness in his absence. Thankfully, the same Lord that guided Howard's and my paths to not only cross, but also to deeply intertwine, reminded me from where all pure love comes. I was reminded that He was not only my source, but He also became Howard's source as well. That source continues to renew my spirit daily as I look to Him in gratefulness, and continue to experience the reflection of that pure love through so many of you.
Counting my blessings every day became the method I used to renew my own life's purposes. I never take one day for granted in my life. My daughters and grand children, who are very involved in my life again, are a renewed source of joy to me. My father is now in much better physical condition than when I first returned to the home I was raised in. He is almost 86 now and each day together is a gift to me. Praying for and consoling others who were also going through painful physical and emotional trials helped me take my mind off my pain. I have many friends who have also lost their loved ones during the past year, several of which were also going through similar trials with us at the COH. Many of Howard's Martial Arts friends have been added to that list now. I was little ahead of them all, so in a better place to be and encourager in the knowledge that things will slowly get better for each of us.
Time helps ease the pain of Howard's absence, and the life we shared left some precious memories and a lifetime of wisdom. What a special man he was. Although the past 5 years of struggling to reach that place of being cured of the Leukemia were hard on every count, I choose to hold dear to the good times we shared together during those trials. I must say, Howard was the best patient I could have ever been blessed with. He never missed an opportunity to ask how I was doing or how someone else's day was going.
His spirit is very clearly still with me and will be
always. The love and kindness Howard shared with all he came in contact with is
as much a living legacy and honor to his life as his world champion
accomplishments. His life has left a very bright and eternal flame of
inspiration for myself and for so many others. I may be back in
My sincerest appreciation goes out to all of you who have kept in contact with me and showed your love and concern in so many ways. I treasure each of our friendships and hope they will continue as time and change comes our way. Howard left me with a great treasure in all the loyal friends that he gave me. You are my extended family and will continue to be always. There are too many to mention here, but I want to thank Howard's sister, Corliss, who has become a real sister to me. During times we have shared the pain of Howard's loss together and took turns leaning on one another for strength. Also, I want to mention Wilma Knight who has become my "earthly mother" through her love and encouragement and also by the fact that she loved Howard like her own son. Her daily prayers for me have been felt. I may have lost my own blood mother, but she has jumped in to let me know I still have another. Actually, Howard left me two earthly mothers, Godeane Eagle has also adopted me and I her. Finally, my "brother's from other mothers" and "sisters from other misters", you know who you are, I love you, thank you for caring.
I spent time catching up on many things I had put off for the
past 5 years, including my own physical health. I have had a long needed
surgery and am recovering very well. I have begun the process to renewing my
Realtor license here in
Due to the emotional stress I was experiencing through the holidays, I had to put away the book writing efforts for awhile. I have recently continued that process. My thanks to all whom have sent photos and information on your experiences and memories of earlier times with Howard. I am still taking submission of photos and info anyone would like to send will be considered. It has and will be a slow process, but one that I will not give up on. Howard was my hero as well as a hero for his family and many of you. Please feel free to email and just to express your memories and thoughts on him. Hopefully when complete, this book will serve to support the organizations that Howard felt strongly about and had he lived, he would be involved with today. My thanks to Ron Sarchian who did a record breaking kick-a-thon last year in Howard's memory and donated the proceeds to me to help me with the book writing.
I want to thank Gary Lee, Raymond McCallum, and Duane
Ethington for including me in the Texas Living Legends Roast that took place
last year here in
Finally, I want to thank those who held kick-a-thons at their Karate schools to help me after Howard's passing. I will always be grateful to each of your efforts to honor Howard's contributions to the Martial Arts and to support and encourage me. You have no idea how much it has meant to me.
In memory of Howard's life and contributions to the Martial
Arts, a yearly kick-a-thon will be held by our good friends, Howard and Susie
Munding. Howard has recently purchased the
Please remember that each of us who knew Howard have the ability to "pass it forward" and share the kindness and compassion he taught us. I pray you will be a part of continuing to honor his name in this way.
May you each be blessed and know how much you are loved and appreciated by me.