Some of you may have noticed I haven’t been around much the last two months, and if you have, I’m grateful.

If you missed the updates on Facebook (about all I’ve had the time or strength to do), the second of August brought horrific news. At the time, Margaret and I were headed into Canada to celebrate our 35th anniversary, when a phone call turned our world upside down.

At lunchtime that day, my sister Melissa, her husband Bob, their 22 year-old daughter Landyn, and my youngest brother Kent were killed instantly in a collision with a drunk driver here in Michigan. In that moment, five children lost their parents, my sister-in-law Karen lost her husband, her six children lost their father, and I lost two of my three siblings.

The next two weeks was a whirlwind of frantic and painful phone calls, hurriedly arranged travel, a funeral and three burials in Michigan, one funeral and burial in Virginia, and many challenging questions. It has been a difficult and painful time, endured and sustained simply by the grace and mercy of God.

If you haven’t seen the stories on Facebook, you can find them on my timeline if you visit my Facebook profile. I don’t mean to reproduce them here, but if you are interested, you might find a unexpected narrative, and maybe a different way of looking at life and death.

For those of you that agonized with me and my family, thank you for standing with us. Your thoughts and prayers were a constant reminder that we did not stand alone, and helped buoy us through many a dark day. Each comment, each “like” on a Facebook story, and the unknown number of prayers offered on our behalf was an encouragement and a measure of hope. For all these, I am in your debt.

In the 1994 film “The Shawshank Redemption”, Tim Robbins’ character Andy Dufresne contemplates his life sentence one afternoon in the prison yard along with Morgan Freeman’s character ’Red’.

“I guess it comes down to a simple choice, really”, Andy reflects, “get busy living, or get busy dying.”

Perhaps it’s really as simple as that.

One foot in front of the other. One hour and then the next.

Life is, at one level, simply a choice.

So I’m back at my desk again after a long absence with a to-do list a mile long. Getting a Familygram out to my shipmates is number one on the list, and will follow the writing of another two or three articles.

I can’t say yet that I’m back in the game, but I am back at it, making the effort, and facing the challenges that each new day brings. REGROUPEX 20 is still on, the www.ssn-680.org website needs attention, and to do those things for you gives me another reason to get up each morning.

I choose life...

Thanks for being there, shipmates.

It is a pleasure to be at your service.

Brad Williamson
For all of you who have commented, and even those who haven't, your thoughts, prayers, and words were a comfort during a difficult few months. Thanks for taking the time to give words to your support. Knowing shipmates stood beside me during this trial was both a comfort and a source of strength. I am honored to count you among my friends!
Chris Vesper
All my best...
Simple words don't seem to be enough to say we are all sorry for your loses. All of our prayers are with you and your family, now and forever.

Mark Davis
So sorry.

Though we've never met I have been grateful for your continued efforts on this website.

Your post brought me to my knees this evening. I am so sorry. Thank you for letting us all know about this tragic event and reminding us to treasure each and every day.


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John Montgomery
Brad I'm deeply sorry for your loss. My words aren't powerful enough to heal your damaged heart. I can see you have a relationship with God and that's about all you have to lean on. I urge to waste some time with God, a lot of time. Pour your heart out to him. I'd like to offer this prayer for you and your family.
Dear father in heaven. I ask you lord to consider Brad and his family. I pray the souls lost to this earth will enrich your kingdom and be a joy to you. Lord I ask that you comfort these people who are in terrible pain. I ask lord that you will place your followers in their path who will enrich their lives and help them recover. Father they have a new normal coming and I ask that the emptiness will be replaced with joy in other things which come from you. Please Lord be with this family day and night. Place your loving hand on their hearts so they can just make it through one more day. Lord you know this family and know what they need. I just ask that you sooth their pain and help them find a way to heal.
In Christs Name I pray Amen.


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