When Emma’s husband Todd Weaver left for his second tour with the Army in Afghanistan, she had no idea that he would never return home. “When Todd deployed I had no fears that he wouldn’t be coming back safe and sound. All I had to do was wait. I waited . . . but I was wrong.” In the whirlwind after learning Todd wouldn’t be returning home, Emma discovered something on his laptop that completely stunned her.
Todd Weaver and Emma – In The Beginning
Emma was home for the summer from college and Todd was home on leave from his deployment to Iraq when they ran into each other. When Emma left to go to her car after the chance encounter, Todd ran after her in the rain in his stocking feet and asked if he could give her a kiss. Emma would write, “And he called me. Me! Todd was the classic all American star athlete with looks that could get any girl. I couldn't believe he was giving me the time of day.”
Todd Weaver wasn’t just an exemplary student and athlete, he also had a strong sense of moral duty and patriotism. He was a high school senior when the attack on America on September 11, 2001 occurred, and it changed him. He told his parents that day that as soon as he could serve his country, he would do it.
Todd graduated high school in 2002, then began college and joined the National Guard. In February 2004, Todd went to Iraq for a 10-month deployment. During seven days in May 2008, Todd graduated from college was commissioned as a 2LT in the Army, and married the love of his life, Emma. And on September 9, 2010, Todd was killed in Afghanistan by an improvised explosive device while on a reconnaissance mission in the early morning hours of the day.
Numbers sometimes tell a story. Todd grew up in four different countries, learned two foreign languages, served his country in two wars, visited twenty-six countries and walked on five continents in his shortened time on earth. – 1LT Todd Weaver Bio
Todd Weaver – A Hero’s Legacy
In the whirlwind of days that followed, Emma would endure grief over her loss, and worry as the Westboro picketers threatened to interfere with Todd’s memorial service. She was determined to remain strong as she instinctively knew Todd would have wanted. But nothing prepared her for what she would find just three days after Todd’s funeral. “I received Todd’s laptop computer that he had in Afghanistan. When I opened it I was overwhelmed with emotions as I stared at the desktop.” Emma shared on her blog.
“There were two Word files, one that says “Dear Emma” and another that says “Dear Kiley”. I opened them and read the words my husband had written to us in case something were to happen to him.” Emma shared.
Here is what Emma found:
Todd Weaver – Letter to His Wife, Emma Weaver
Well if you are reading this, I guess I did not make it home and therefore, I was not able to remind you again of how much I love you.
I love you so much baby and I will always love you. Although I may not be here right now, take comfort in the fact that I am watching over you right now.
I am not gone and I will always be with you in spirit. I know this time must be hard for you but I also know how strong you are.
Never forget that God knew what was best for us before we were even born. Take comfort in that. This happened for a reason. Although you may not believe it now, you will one day.
I want you to know just how important you are to me. I could not ask for a more caring, beautiful and loving wife. The memories that we have shared over the last few years have been the best of my life. Although it may seem like my life was cut short, I lived a life that most can only dream of. I married the perfect woman. I have a beautiful daughter that amazed me every day.
I even had two great dogs - at least most of the time. I couldn't ask for anything more. If you feel sad, just think back to the memories that we shared. Look at our daughter and how beautiful she is.
Be strong for her. Remind her about her Daddy and tell her that I loved her more than anything else in the world. Her birth was the best day of my life and she was the best thing that ever happened to me. Her smile and laughter represent all that is good and beautiful in this world.
Tell her that Daddy is in heaven now and will watch over her and protect her every minute of every day. I love you Emma. But never be afraid to do what you need to do to be happy. It is so important that you continue to find happiness in your life. Although you may think this is impossible right now, have faith.
Much better times are coming. You and Kiley have a wonderful life ahead of you and I am so happy to have shared some of it with you.
I love you.
Your loving Husband,
Todd Weaver – Letter to His Baby Daughter
Dear Kiley, My Sweetie:
Although you may not remember me, I want you to know how very much your Daddy loves you.
I left for Afghanistan when you were 9 months old.
Leaving you was the hardest thing I've ever had to do.
You are so very special to me sweetie - you are truly a gift from God.
The best day of my life was the day you were born.
Every time I saw you smile my heart would just melt.
You were my sweetie - my life was not complete until you were born.
I am so sorry I will not be able to see you grow up.
But remember, your Daddy is not gone. I am in heaven now smiling down on you every day.
You are so very lucky to have such a wonderful Mom to take care of you.
Make sure you are good for her and help her out whenever you can.
Always remember to say your prayers at night and be thankful for all your many blessings.
Never forget how important and special you are to so many people.
We love you so very much. When you get older and start school, do your best and try to learn as much as you can about the world you live in.
Always be nice and caring to others and you will discover that the world will be nice to you.
But when things aren't going your way, never forget that God knows what is best for you and everything will work out in the end.
You have such a bright and beautiful future ahead of you.
Have fun. Enjoy it. And remember, your Daddy will always be proud of you and will always love you.
You are and will always be my sweetie.
With very much love,
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Todd Weaver – A Soldier’s Life Remembered
As she processed what she had read, Emma realized what a gift Todd had left her. And how brave he was to have dedicated his life to a pursuit of freedom that came with such a high cost. “While they were so hard to read because it just reiterated that he wasn’t coming home — I was brought so much peace hearing his voice through those letters. I couldn’t imagine being at war and seeing what he did every day and then having the courage to write goodbye letters to the ones you love. He was so strong.” shared Emma in a post on her blog.
The fact that these letters existed showed that Todd was fully aware of the risk he was taking, and the sacrifice that was on the line. As she dealt with how that sacrifice affected her, Emma shared, “There are challenges built into our lives and it is fighting those challenges that we become stronger and recognize when we have to turn our troubles over to God and let him guide us.”
As Todd wrote in his own words, “Never forget that God knew what was best for us before we were even born. Take comfort in that. This happened for a reason. Although you may not believe it now, you will one day”.
Todd’s mom Jeanne Harris Weaver wrote, “He touched so many people with his zest for life; their lives better just by knowing him. He lived with conviction and dignity. He knew friendship and he knew love of family, wife, and child. He knew disappointment, sadness, sorrow. He knew faith and love for God, understanding that our life here on earth leads to eternal life. His life was complete. He has Eternal Light.”
"It is not the length of life, but the depth."
Prayer for Those In Our Armed Forces Who Protect Us with Their Service
Please be with the men and women in uniform, who bravely serve our communities and nation every single day. We ask that you cover them with your protection, that you would be their guiding force who leads the way, and their rearguard who keeps them safe from behind. We ask that you would draw them to yourself amidst the dangers they face in a dark world, for you are the Truth, you are the Way, you are the Light.
When the voice of hate rises up against them, we ask that you would silence it. When the plans of the enemy rise up to cause them to stumble, we ask that you would thwart it. When the forces of evil rise up to strike them down, we ask that you would stop it. Lord, we know how powerful you are, all have heard of your Great Name, and we ask that you would indeed be the wind beneath their wings, the power behind their efforts, the heart behind their service, as they are on the front lines against evil in our world today.
Help them to walk wisely. To stay covered in your armor. Give them godly discernment. Make them constantly aware of what lurks close by. Help them to be men and women of prayer, realizing that this is where their greatest help comes from. Help them to stay united and strong, bold and resolute, determined and unwavering.
Lord bless all those who wear the uniform, who serve our cities, our nation, our people. Bless their families. Bless those they love. Give them your great favor, this day, and every day. And thank you that as believers, we can be assured, you never leave us, and you are with us always, in this life, and the next.
In the Powerful and Present Name of Jesus,
prayer credit: Debbie McDaniel for CrossWalk