I met Lisa at a mutual friend's party and instantly fell for her. I was obviously attracted to her beauty, but was entranced even more by the inner person. Lisa was vivacious, outgoing, and fun. We dated for several weeks before I knew the age difference (7 years) but by then, I was hooked. I called her very affectionately "my little airhead" when in fact it was just a difference of maturity levels. I was enlisted in the Air National Guard and waiting to go to pilot training which was a long time goal of mine. I was terrified of dating Lisa, she was so beautiful inside and out that I was afraid she would leave me someday, as I couldn't be good enough for someone like her (so I thought).
We were very close for over a year when I found out about my orders to go to pilot training. She wanted to go with me, but I was aware of the demands of Air Force pilot training and our age difference and said no at first. After I was there for 5 months and was doing very well I asked if she would come visit, but I guess that too much time had passed or she had other reasons not to come. Our roads split and we later both found out that we were getting married on the same day. She was very upset with me the day we discovered our mutual wedding plans.
After my 3 years of pilot training, I moved back to Atlanta for a full time job while I maintained a part time status in the military. I bumped into Lisa at Mountain West Church of God where she and her mom had attended for some time. That was the last time I saw her, but she was the most beautiful woman I had ever seen. My marriage was not going well from the beginning, but I tried for over 10 years to make it work. A job offer took me back to Texas in 1985 where I remained until 2001. I often thought of Lisa and I guess she thought of me as well. My mother bumped into her at the Tucker post office, but my mother only told me after I was divorced in 1995. Every time I returned to Atlanta to visit family, I tried to find her just to talk and find out why we never stayed in touch, but I was unsuccessful. I had no way of knowing then, that Lisa's mom had remarried, changed her name, and moved to another side of town.
I had tried internet searches and even paid a service once to find her, but always ran into a brick wall until August of 2001 when an internet search found her Mother's memorial website to her. I looked at the site, but there was no photo yet so I was hopeful that I did not have the right person. Another internet search for her mother with her new last name provided me my link to the past. I phoned her mother and a devastating flood of anguish and pain overtook me when I heard that Lisa had gone to heaven ten years earlier. She told me some of what happened, but asked if I would meet her at the Tucker IHOP the next day where Lisa worked in high school.
I was there on time and the restaurant was very familiar; there were even people that still worked there when Lisa was there. At first, I was afraid that I wouldn't recognize her when I saw her. But, when Faye walked in I instantly recognized her, hugged her, and started crying. She told me Lisa's story, which caused pain and grief to fill my soul. I just kept asking myself, "Why." We visited her gravesite that day and came to some closure for me, but I find that I still ask why. Faye and I continue to stay in touch and although I don't think she approved of me when I dated Lisa (I was much older than her), I now know that she is very accepting of me. Faye has an inner strength that has kept her going through this test, and I now know where Lisa's love and strength came from.
But, in my heart, I will always wonder "What if." What if Lisa and I had never parted that first time? What if I had let her come to Texas with me? What if we had married and been happy together? There are so many "What ifs," and "Whys" that I will never know the answer to in this lifetime. Only Heaven can provide the answer, and there I will be able to gaze once more into Lisa's beautiful face.
~ A Post Script from Faye ~
On September 18, 2001, five days before Lisa’s birthday and ten long years after her death, my telephone rang. When I answered, a trembling male voice said, “Faye, this is Keith.” I knew at once who it was. With a tear-filled voice, he told me that he had just found Lisa’s Internet memorial site. There was no photo on that site, so he couldn’t be positive that this was his Lisa. Shakily, he asked the question that he already knew the answer to … “Is this the Lisa Mewbourne who graduated from Tucker High School in 1983?” I said, “Yes, Keith, I’m afraid it is.” His tears overcame him now and his voice shook with sorrow and disbelief. He wanted to know how she died and when. I briefly told him, while he listened in silence. We made plans to meet the next day. When I saw Keith, he stood to greet me. Without a word, he put his arms around me. Oblivious to onlookers, he held me a long time while we both cried. I looked at him and thought what a handsome man he had become. I told him the whole story of Lisa and he told me his story.
His marriage had not been much more successful than Lisa’s. It had lasted longer because there were children. But, just a few years after it began, Keith’s marriage was over and his thoughts turned to Lisa. He tried to find her. He looked everywhere - all their old haunts, our old house, the phone book, the Internet, everywhere he could think of. He never stopped looking. He searched over twelve years for her...only to now find her and learn that she was gone. He was devastated. We drove to the cemetery before we parted. He stood before the pink granite headstone and promised to return often. Before we left, he put his arm around me and prayed for me. Like Lisa, he had also found the Lord.
I hear from Keith often. He is now a successful airline pilot. Lisa would have been so proud of him. I can still see the way her blue eyes would light up when she spoke of him. He tells me that he thinks about Lisa so much and wonders what might have been. He speaks longingly of his love for her. As I once did, he asks, “Why, God, Why?” He looked for her so long ... why couldn’t he have found her before that tragic day in April 1991? He goes to her memorial site, gazes at her picture, and weeps. His grief is new and raw, and he is just beginning his journey through sorrow. I pray he will always stay in touch with me. I love him because my Lisa loved him, and he is a precious link to her. After all, he could have been my son-in-law.
~ His Sweetest Dream ~
She was his light in darkness,
A cool, clear mountain stream;
She was the sun that rose at dawn,
She was his sweetest dream.
She was the beauty in his soul,
The warmth upon his skin;
She was the moon that rose at night,
Shining softly from within.
She filled his every hunger,
And filled his deep desire;
She was the flame within his soul,
A bright and burning fire.
She was the sun that gleamed at noon,
That shined upon his day;
She was his life, his everything,
Until she went away.
Now he lives in emptiness,
A shadow in the wind;
Afraid of what his world will be,
Without her living in.
She was the place his heart found rest,
Now rest is gone, it seems;
Drifting somewhere in the night,
She was his sweetest dream.
Allison Chambers Coxsey