Never in a million years did I think I would be going to Rhode Island Veterans Cemetery with Rosemary to celebrate Ronnie’s 30th birthday. To make it even worse, we had Gracie and A’driana with us. It has been 3 years, 3 months and 5 days since Ronnie died and the pain for Rosemary, Jonathan, Ambur and I is as great today, maybe even more, than it was on March 25, 2007.
I often wonder how we are able to maintain any resemblance of order in our lives. Some days, I wonder how I drag myself out of bed. Most days I wish I could curl up into a little ball and stay in bed. I know that Rosemary feels the same and I am sure that Jonathan and Ambur have similar feelings. We cry with regularity. Sure there are times when we laugh and everyone thinks we are alright, but we are not. We try to appear normal. We try to not burden others with our grief. We try mainly for Gracie…we also try for Jonathan, A’driana and Ambur.
We try to let Ambur have some time for her and for us to have time with Gracie. We are together everyday and everyday we see bits and pieces of Ronnie. We see him in her smile, her actions, her disposition, but mostly in her personality. She is so much like her Dad (except for her Mom’s beautiful blue eyes) that in some ways, it is like helping to raise Ronnie all over again. Ambur has done such a great job and showers Gracie with love all the time.
Ambur, Rosemary, Jonathan, A'driana, Gracie and the foundation are the things that really keep me going. There are many, many days that I do not want to do another event, get another gift certificate, tee sponsor, sell another bike run or golf ticket, sometimes I just want to quit…but I cannot. It is so stressful that I do not want to continue, I just want to quit…but I cannot. I cannot because it is our foundation and the work of its members as well as the work of this wonderful community that we live in, that I cannot quit. It is because of all of this, for each and every student that has received a scholarship, as well as each and every student that will receive one in the future that I must continue…that WE must all continue to carry on for Ronnie. Carry on his legacy so that many, many more people will know who he was and what he did in his all too short life on this earth.
It is important for people to know that “it is not how Ronnie died that made him a HERO, it is how he lived”. Every day we get up and try to function as normal human beings. Some days it works, some days it does not, but it is not because we are not putting in the effort. We just hope that our family, our friends, Ambur’s family and friends, Ronnie’s friends, do not give up on us or quit asking us to come over or see how we are doing.
Instead of celebrating Ronnie’s 30th birthday this weekend (which we all know would have been a great time), we will be holding Ronnie’s 4th annual golf tournament to support the foundation. Although this event is a tremendous success and the primary fundraiser, I think you all know where we would rather be.
In closing, I want to say that each and every one of us loves and misses Ronnie more and more each day. He was a wonderful son, as Jonathan is. He would have been a great dad to Gracie and a wonderful husband to Ambur. He was loved by his family and had many friends. He has been honored and memorialized from Rhode Island, to Washington, DC, to Alaska and back to Florida. The United States Coast Guard has changed the way they conduct their operations specifically because of Ronnie. Our country has lost a hero, Jonathan has lost his brother, Ambur has lost her husband, A’driana has lost her Uncle, Ronnie’s friends have lost their friend, Rosemary and I have lost our son and sadly, very sadly, Gracie has lost her dad.
We would give back every monument and memorial for just one minute with Ronnie…even if only to wish him a happy 30th birthday…
Happy birthday Ronnie.
I Love you and I miss you,
For more information, please contact:
Ron Gill, Sr.
178 Jordan Avenue
Cranston, RI 02910
All proceeds benefit the PS3 Ronald A. Gill, Jr. Memorial Scholarship Foundation which grants scholarships to students
in Rhode Island.