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  • Writer's pictureTeresa Keefer

When Those You Love Become a Memory...

In memory of Curtis Dalton Maxey 11/30/1993-4/24/2023


Those memories become treasures. As I sit here this morning with a broken heart, I never dreamed that I'd be writing this. Monday afternoon I lost a very special young man who was like a son to me. From the first time I saw his precious little five-year-old face smiling at me with that shiny tooth in front, he had a piece of my heart. As I watched him grow up to become the outstanding young man, from the trials and tribulations of a precocious young boy to seeing him graduate from high school and the military to becoming a police officer there is nothing but pride here. To think that the last time I saw him just a few weeks ago was my last is incomprehensible.


Even as I gave thanks to God for bringing him into my life I cried and begged to make it not true. To help me understand why He would take him home much too soon. Finally, for Got to please tell him how very much I loved him. I don't understand why and as much as I try to have faith in God's decision to do this, it doesn't make the empty spot in my heart any less empty.


As I chatted with his cousin on Facebook the night it happened and sat with his grandmother yesterday, we reminisced about all the other things. The memories we are left with and will treasure until we join him some day and are able to hug him and see his smile again.


We remember the kid who sledded down the stairs on his mattress and the birthday party where I think more cake ended up on the floor than in the wild bunch's mouths. When he lost his temper the many times we dragged him to the store and made him leave the toy section. He and his father walking together side by side, one big man and a tiny replica of himself. How his cousin and uncle told me how he changed his name to Leroy when he was visiting his uncle in Kentucky so that he could "fit in" as he sat there nonchalantly in his bib overalls and that smirk on his face. Or how he told his cousin that 'chicks dig battle wounds' when he shot him in the butt with the BB gun.


As a teenager, when he got caught speeding in a little town with a handful of houses on his way home from school and telling the policeman he was trying to get home to his dad because he was having a heart attack. Me and his dad joked about pulling the same on him some day but we never did. Sitting together in my living room while he kept telling Oscar (who was his dog before he was mine) that his dad was coming and watching the dog bound excitedly to the door over and over again. Oscar still does that to this day.


The tears of pride I shed when I watched him walk across that stage at Eastbrook High School and get that diploma but knowing he'd be leaving for basic training in just a couple months. Writing almost daily letters while he was in basic training so that he knew we were all cheering him on from home. Sitting between he and his dad at the formal dinner at the end of his AIT period and watching him graduate from basic training and AIT as a military police officer.


And the memories as an adult. How he would call and confide in me about things he couldn't with anyone else. Having him with us at the holidays whenever he could. The trip to Washington D.C. in the fall of 2019 when his dad and I flew out to meet him and to walk the streets of the Capitol and clown around in the wax museum. The last trip his dad and I took to spend a long weekend with him at the cabin at Lake Tahoe in the fall of 2021 where he took us around and showed us the beauty of a place neither of us had ever been before. His dad and I going to his new house right after the holidays to share a wonderful evening with he and hid girlfriend and celebrate Christmas late. I had no idea it would be our last Christmas celebration and my heart aches.


I could go on and on with memories. A lifetime of memories...





I was going to call him Monday night. He had just returned from a trip to Scotland with his girlfriend the weekend before and I wanted to give him time to get back to work since I knew he was stressing prior to leaving for the trip about his work. Instead, as I sat as his grandmother's house waiting for his uncle to bring her home from the hospital, I got the call. My daughter telling me that he had been killed in a car accident just hours before. The young man who I loved like my own son was gone and all I have left of him is a lot of memories and a lot of love. I'll never get to hug him again or see his smile or hear his voice.


This is for you...Curtis Dalton Maxey...thank you for being the son I never had and the brother to my daughters and uncle to my grandchildren who looked up to you as a role model. Please know how very much you were loved and I'll be looking forward to the day when we meet up there in heaven and laugh and talk and cut up again. I wish God could have taken me in your place because I'd have gladly done that for you and because I knew if things were that way, you'd have been there to support my girls with that strength you carried so well.

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