Published 01/25/2015, TBT

As it got closer to the 21st, the minutes and seconds were harder and harder on us. I'm not sure I was really ready to relive some of that day. I loved that he hasn't been forgotten but it was such a cold reminder that he's never coming home. He won't be here for our trip to Alaska we planned for our anniversary next year. He won't be here to finish our retirement plans. He won't be here....anymore.



First Trip to Tennessee without Charlie

Charlie and I tried to take the kids to Tennessee every year. We hiked, drove to see small towns, and just walked around and enjoyed the people and the slow pace of Tennessee. Charlie wanted to retire here but life had other plans.

 

In 2016, we went back to his favorite place in the smokey mountains and wrote his name in places we used to go... just to keep him with us. Charlie loved Tennessee so being here felt like he was kind of there too. 

We miss you, Charlie. 

 

Teresa Kondek's photo.Teresa Kondek's photo.Teresa Kondek's photo.


Firtst Valentine's Day

This day was horrible until Aleena and I came back to the hotel room after her soccer game to find this. My oldest son decided to step up for his Dad and bring flowers to both his sisters and me. He drove from Spring Hill to Orlando then back to New Port Richey after working all day to deliver the cards and flowers.

I'm so proud of these kids and how they always stick together and make things better no matter how hard it is. I LOVE them!

 

Credit: Teresa Kondeki

Credit: Teresa Kondek


First Easter

Since Charlie was killed, we haven't cooked or really celebrated anything. No dinners, no decorations, nothing. Today, just getting out of the house and trying to ignore the fact that it's Easter kind of helped. The meaning of Easter was remembered but not the traditions. I'm not sure how we will handle the next few months but we sure as hell miss him more and more everyday. His prayers before dinner were always funny but he still got the point across. 

We just really miss him.

The stories from strangers that knew him and the stories that all of you share with us keep us going. It's nice to know he's being remembered so don't be afraid to share them with us. 


Birthdays

Credit: Teresa Kondek

2015

Charlie was supposed to be here today. It's his 46th birthday today. We are LOST without him. We miss his big hugs and the sound of his voice.  We miss talking to him and calling him when we need him. We miss him every single second of the day, especially today.

We celebrated his birthday today because we are thankful for the time we had with him and we want to remember the things he loved. We ordered his favorite cake and talked about his last birthday with us but nothing compares to having him here. Nothing. 

I don't know how we've done it but we are doing the best we can without him. We still have really bad days. We remembered that when we cried - he cried and when we laughed - he laughed. We loved him here and we love him in heaven. That's what helped us anyway. 

Realizing I'll soon be older than Charlie had the chance to be is breaking my heart. I've seen more holidays and birthdays than he had the chance to. I feel so guilty seeing things he has missed. 

Happy Birthday in heaven, Charlie! We love and miss you so so much.

 

2016

Charlie, 

You're supposed to be here. You would be 47 today. Holly, Charlie, Brandon, Aleena, and Andy are lost without you. They miss your hugs. They miss hearing you say you love them every night. They miss talking to you and calling you when they need you. So do I. 

I sat at your grave today and just stared at your name thinking how unfair all of this is. I'm so sorry your life ended the way it did. I'm sorry there are no more birthdays here with us. We will NEVER stop sending up a Happy Birthday to you on this day.  

 

Happy Birthday in heaven, Charlie! We love and miss you so so much. 

 

2017

It's your birthday today. You would've been 48. I'm trying not to focus on the days that you were cheated out of. I don't ask God why you were taken, and I've learned to not be mad at Him anymore for the way you died. 

 

Instead I'll think about the birthdays we had with you and be thankful for your life with us and all the fun years we had as we built our little family. 

 

Those who knew you knew you were extremely patriotic and had no problem expressing your love for our country and your deep respect for our military. That makes this day even harder. 

 

Happy birthday in heaven, Charlie. I miss you just as much as the day you left. 

 

The kids and I will stand by your grave again and shed another tear because your gone. That seems to be how this new life without you works. 

 

Your brothers and sisters in blue have continued to hold our hand and we are so thankful because they are all we have.

 

We sure miss your face. 

I love you. 

-Me

 

2018

It's so hard to believe Charlie will never have another birthday. How is it fair that I'm still here and he will forever be 45? I turned 47 this year - an age he never made it to. 

 

This year, to honor Charlie's life, we started an annual blood drive on his birthday so that we could find something good out of this day. 

 

It actually turned out pretty nice and we didn't cry as much so we want to make next year even bigger. 

 

 


Mother's Day

My last Mother's Day card from Charlie

Charlie was always so thoughtful on Mother's Day. He always made sure I knew how much he appreciated everything that being a mom meant.  I'm missing him terribly today but the pieces of him that he left with me are the five kids we had. Having them around makes it a little easier living without him because seeing them is like seeing Charlie. 


Father's Day

Credit: Teresa Kondek

The only thing that makes me smile today is knowing that our kids know the real meaning of a father. They know what his hugs feel like and the sound of his voice. He gave them security and always made time for anything they wanted to talk about.

 

Written by Teresa Kondek:

Happy Father's Day to a man who loved and raised our kids and made every second count.

To a father who read maternity books and marked the pages to keep up with each trimester of pregnancy, cried when the babies took their first breath, walked them to class on their first day of school, carried them when they were sleepy, sat with them when they were sick or hurt, and cried again when they graduated. He loved to hear them laugh and would stop sometimes to just listen. 

He ga
ve our kids his heart and loved them unconditionally. He talked to them about everything in life. He hugged and kissed them every chance he could. 

Our kids no longer have him here but what he left with them will never fade.

Holly, Andy, Charlie, Brandon, and Aleena,

 

I hope you continue to share what your father meant to you. The world will never fully understand how amazing he was so share those memories every chance you get.

Happy Father's Day up there, Charlie. I love you. The kids and I miss you beyond words. 

 

2015 - Written by Holly Kondek:

Not only is it Father's Day, but it is also 6 months to the day that my amazing Dad was taken from me. My goal today is to try my best and think of nothing but the incredible memories this man has given me, and how truly lucky I am to have had him as my Father. Dads like this are hard to find. Just wish I could tell him this, or be with him today. I love you Dad.

 

2018 - Written by Holly Kondek Gonzalez

This day will never get easier. Not only is this day filled with sadness and missing you, but it is also filled with feeling grateful that I was able to be raised by such an incredible man. 

Being raised by a LEO meant so many things. It was knowing if my Dad said something wasn’t safe there was a good reason. It was finding out years later that he sat in parking lots and followed me places to make sure I was okay. It was looking both ways even at a green light to make sure a first responder wasn’t coming through. It was showing respect to everyone, even if they hated him for what he chose as a career. It was not having him on holidays, birthdays, hurricanes because he was needed somewhere else.

 

It was lack of sleep from midnight shifts but NEVER complaining when his kids needed him, even if he didn’t get sleep for 24 plus hours. It was getting excited when you’re old enough to learn how to put all the pins on his uniform shirt to help him get ready. It was having a parent that’s a hero to everyone in his community, but having him as your hero first.


Happy Father’s Day to the man who made me who I am today. A man who was a hero to his family as well as his community. I owe everything I’ve become to you, and I’ll be forever grateful that I was lucky enough to have you as my Dad, best friend, listening ear, and most of all my voice of reason. Thank you for EVERYTHING. You were the most loving, incredible, and supportive Dad and I miss you every second of every day.

 

I still need you more than I can say but you’ve taught me so much that I will carry with me forever and hopefully someday pass down to my own kids. If given the chance to choose ANYONE in this world to be my Dad I would choose you a million times, over and over.

 

I love you. 

Holly


Written and left on Charlie's grave on Thanksgiving morning, 2015


First Christmas

Written by our daughter, Holly:

It's been one year. One year since I've heard your laugh or seen your smile. One year since I was able to call you or come vent to you after work or school and completely feel better after a 10 minute conversation. No matter what it was about. One year since the thought of having you around until you were old and gray completely diminished and one year since I emotionally felt my heart be ripped out of my chest. 

December 21, 2014 was and always will be the worst day of my life. You were taken in the most cruel, selfish way possible and its still too painful to even process. Words can't express how great of a person you were and I cannot thank you enough for making me who I am today. You've taught me manners, morals, respect, honesty, patience, class and more than anything trust. Thank you for always treating me like a princess.

You should have been able to finish watching Aleena and Brandon reach their milestones and go to college, walk me down the aisle or even reach your 50th birthday. You deserved to retire and travel the world (that's all you ever talked about). You deserved to grow old with Mom and become a grandfather. You deserved a full and happy life and I'm so incredibly sorry that was robbed from you. 

Every morning I wake up, my heart hurts and I miss you. Time makes it worse because I feel further away from you as it passes. I still need you more than I could have ever realized, and I'm lost in many situations without you.

I have some things I promise you though. I promise no one will ever go long periods of time without speaking your name. I promise that your life and all you meant to us will never be swept under the rug or forgotten. I promise to always portray you as the hero you are. I promise I'll do everything I can to make you proud, as I am a symbol of who you were and who you raised.

I promise you'll be with me in spirit on my wedding day and all of the important events in my life in the future. But most importantly, I promise that down the road when you become a grandpa your grandchildren will know every single thing about you. 


I love you Daddy.

Holly