When I was in my early 20's, my sister hung out with 4 *main* guys friends: Bryan Delk, Jake Marbet, Jason Bobb, and Mike Johnson. (Hey they were smart, my sister was and still is gorgeous! lol).
My sister used to always tell me, "I need to introduce you to my friend Bryan, you'd love him, he's perfect for you". And I would say "No, he is 3 years younger than me, and the guys I date older than me are too immature, no way".
One day, my sister had broke up with her boyfriend and begged me to go out with her that night for a little while to cheer her up. So I did, and the place we went all the guys were there, including Bryan, who was on a date with another girl. After awhile, the girl he was there with got sick and left early. My sister talked me into slow dancing with Bryan. We ended up talking all evening. Finally when it was time to go, it turned out Bryan did not have a ride home (he had rode with someone else there, and didn't have his car, so I got elected to take him home, figure that. lol. At the time, I was working as a bookeeper for a company and had to leave my house by 4am, and after we got in the car, on the way to take him home, he told me he lived on the other side of town and it was late and I was tired. Granted, I'd normally never do this, and never had before, but I knew he had been friends with my sister for years, so we went back to my house and I told him I would drop him off at 4am when I was on my way out of town to work. I had a 1 bd apt, and did not even have a couch for him to sleep on, I had 2 chairs in my living room haha. So I told him he could sleep in my bed, on the FAR side, and better behave. (I don't remember this, but he told me later and laughed at me for years about it) but when I came to get in bed, I had changed, and put on a sweatshirt, sweatpants, socks and my gym shoes!
The next day he called my sister and asked if he could/should call me, she of course told him yes. He did a few days later and we had our first date. On our first date, he told me when he was old enough (he had just turned 20 then) he was going to be a police officer, and asked me if that would be ok with me if we stayed together. (All 4 guys that hung out together all grew up and all became policemen eventually). After that first date, I knew he was the one. I don't know how, I just knew. We dated several months and then got married July 24, 1993.
I had got married to another man when I was 18, and had a baby, and he passed away shortly thereafter...when I met and married Bryan, he asked me if he could adopt her to raise her and love her as his own. There was an insurance policy to take care of her.... Bryan and I chose to save it for her till she was 18, so she would have that, and Bryan wanted to take care of her himself and love her and provide for her, and he did from the time she was 4 years old. He called her his little Angel. All the time if he found something with Angel on it, he would bring it home for her.....and it went perfect with her middle name "Angelica".
We got pregnant with our first child "together", but our 2nd child.... The next month, and our son McClain Jacob Delk was born June 8, 1994. Bryan's middle name is McClain, and his daddy Ross, his middle name is McClain, and then his daddy's first name was Jacob (Jake). Bryan was not much of the one to teach him to play football and things, but he taught him how to play video games, shoot guns and collect knives. :) Bryan loved to hand wash his vehicles, he always took immaculate care of them. He had 2 mustangs, 2 harleys at different times, and even his police car and later the Fed Ex van, he would always hand wash and clean out. A few years ago, he went to look at jeeps and took McClain with him, of course later that day - they came home with it. :) Bryan had talked about one day (plan was in 20 years or so), passing the jeep down to McClain. McClain has decided to take over the payments on the jeep so he can keep it. Bryan had paid $12,000 on it plus $5000 in new wheels and tires and a lift, and hadn't even hit 10,000 miles on it. Bryan loved and babied that jeep, and we think/hope McClain will do the same - so that is good. :) Neat way to keep his memory. McClain always loved to help daddy wash any of his cars or bikes, or go for rides in them.
Bryan became a police officer not long after we were married. He went through the academy while I was pregnant with our son (they actually announced to him while he was there we were having a boy). He loved being a policeman, if he was sick, he didn't care, he would go to work because he had a job to do and he needed to help people. He won all kinds of awards while he was at the police dept, as well as he worked in many of the different divisions.
2 years later I was pregnant with our 3rd child, she was born 3 days before McClain's 2nd birthday - Carynne Allyson Delk was born June 5, 1996. Bryan loved to play with her and love on her, of course he taught her how to play video games too lol. And he loved to feed her treats when Mommy was not looking haha. He loved to take her on little dates and rides in his car. He even let her drive his jeep a little! :) He called her his little Princess. All the time if he found something with Princess on it, he would bring it home for her. And she knew she was his "Princess".
4 years later I was pregnant with our 4th child, he was born July 31, 2000. Mason Tyler Delk. He became daddy's video game partner. Bryan loved to play video games, whenever he was not working, if he was not watching cartoons with the kids, he was playing video games. He always had the newest and best thing that was out at the time. Mason basically was holding a controller before he could walk lol. Course Mommy tried to limit the video game time to not too much, but if Daddy was around, all the kids knew they were either watching a cool show or playing video games.
8 years later I was pregnant with our 5th child, we had just announced it to the world with our Christmas card mailers in Dec 2008, I was 4 1/2 months. Dec 31, New Years Eve, I went to our church New Years party with our kids like I did every year. Nice family, safe place, with lots of fun and no alcohol or anything like many others do on that night. The next morning, I woke up around 7am, and my water broke and I started bleeding. Bryan took me to the emergency room and we lost our baby.
In 2005, my husband hurt his back, although not on the job, so all the medical bills, surgery, therapy, etc would come out of our pockets. He was off work from Oct 2005 until December 2006 (14 full months). Then he finally was able to go back to the police dept. After his back surgery, the doctors kept him on pain medication for awhile, which caused some other issues in his life. He *early retired* from the police dept in '09, and in the middle of '10 he went to Reformer's Unanimous near Chicago, to help him and help him get closer to God. This is a video of his graduation in Feb 2011.
He graduated and came home Feb 2011, and he started driving for Schwan's food delivery in Jun 2011, was supposed to be a temporary job till he got back on the police dept, where his heart was, he loved helping and protecting others. The middle of July was when he was supposed to go back to the pd, and that is where his heart and soul were. He was a cop throughout, he loved it. It was his passion. He loved to help other people, make people feel safe, as well as try to keep crime off the streets. He wanted to make a difference for good in the world. He was so tore in his heart and mind, his boss had told him of how much money he could make (sales pitch) and he did REALLY LOVE the job, and LOVED the people, and everyone WANTED him to come around (unlike police work sometimes lol). So he decided to stay there a little while and see what happened.
In Oct 2011 I was out of town for one of my Send Out Cards meetings, and he took McClain to a *guy father/son date* haha, and they went to of course look at cars. Well of course that did not turn into just looking. Granted he called me and *consulted* with me (but I know how it would go when he did that and he had his mind made up lol) and they came home with a brand new black jeep. He loved it. (He always loved things to ride - he had a few mustangs, and 2 harleys). He talked to McClain as well as to me about taking care of that jeep and *one day* giving it to McClain...
Feb 2012, I won a trip with my company to Hawaii, to a plush 5 star resort in Turtle Bay Maui. How could I resist? Yet how could I go to such an amazing place without my wonderful husband? I couldn't! So he had no vacation time, but he asked his boss for the time off anyway, and went away with me for a week. I am SO glad that we splurged and I was able to take him on that trip. It was beautiful, it was romantic, it was wonderful.
In June 2012, one of his customers on his route owned the franchise of the local FedEx and asked him to come drive for him. He was excited, it would be about the same pay, he would be home earlier most days, (course going in much earlier too lol), and no sales. And we thought, no worries, right, I mean what can happen delivering boxes? (besides getting bit by dogs several times, which was NOT fun I am sure), but he loved his job there, and loved his boss, and loved the guys he worked with. And of course as usual, I would always hear stories about how he joked with them and what he did each morning to make everyone laugh.
My Send Out Cards business had been growing over the years, and doing better. Between the Schwan's and the Fed Ex, he had a vacation due him, and I had my company convention that fell over McClain's 18th and Carynne's 16th birthdays. So we decided to splurge and take a family vacation that my business paid most of. :) We took the whole family to Vegas for a week. We had a great time. The boys hung out at the pool during the day while I had meetings, my daughter had Steven and Kori's daughter Madison there to run around with, and then we spent time as a family every evening. It was wonderful, I walked the strip for a date with my son for his 18th birthday, we ate dinner at a friend's brother's restaurant on the strip in the beautiful outdoors, we walked lots and saw lots of scenery....
Everything was going just perfect....We had the perfect life....a great family, healthy, awesome kids, great jobs, and we were getting to where we were even talking about working to pay off his jeep by the end of the year, so then he could retire for good and just travel with our family for my cards trips. We had many plans and visions for the future.
Feb 1, 2013 I had a Send Out Cards event to go speak at in Knoxville, TN. So we drove up that afternoon. We had a meeting that evening, then I was back at the hotel with the kids. Talked to Bryan on the phone, he was supposed to come with me, but stayed to work, because of our quest. I got up at 4am to make sure he woke up, like I always did, and told him I loved him. He got ready for work and left. Roads were supposed to get bad that morning in both cities we heard. My kids and I were already at our meeting early that morning around 7 to help get everything ready. Our meeting was just starting and Steven was speaking to the group. I was upfront as well getting ready to speak, when I saw my cell phone, which was on vibrate, but I saw my husband's boss's name come across my phone ringing. Granted I had my husband's boss's phone number in my phone, but I had never talked to him on the phone, just had it because I was Bryan's wife. I whispered to another speaker, it was urgent I had to check that call, and left the room. I called Greg to find out what was going on, and he informed me there had been a wreck, and he did not know how bad it was, but that Bryan had been taken to MTMC hospital.
I called the hospital and got transferred several times, and then the Doctor got on the phone (you never talk direct to the dr on the phone do you), well I soon found out why. He at first told me it was majorly critical and I needed to come right away. I told him I was in Knoxville at a meeting and I heard there was snow and ice on the roads, so I pleaded with him as to how bad/serious it was, because it was a 4 hour drive with good roads, so it would take me a long time to get there and with the winding roads between our cities and hills....it was then he asked me to make sure I was sitting down.
He told me there had been like 57 wrecks that morning alone, and many hundreds of people hurt, and one fatality, my husband. He assured me he did not suffer long, that the impact of the crash had crushed his head and chest, and when the ambulance arrived, he had a pulse, but barely, and they had tried CPR on the scene, in the ambulance, and at the hospital, and he had never recovered.
I spoke with Trooper Jennings who worked the wreck, and he told me that there were 2 sets of wrecks on the road in front of them, and the driver of the other truck had slowed to not wreck into the wreck they were coming up on, and with the black ice, he slid some and his back end went into my husband's lane some, and then my husband tried to brake as well, and slid some and ran into the back of that truck, and Bryan was in the FedEx van and the way it hit that corner, the whole front corner just crashed in and ended up in my husband's chest. :(
I texted the girls running the meeting, it was urgent to come see me. Of course I was in no position now to speak at the meeting, they got me a back room for privacy, and kept me there for a few hours due to the roads, and checked on me often. My mom was at the meeting with me, They brought her back, as well as my 2 youngest kids, and I told them. Then I called my oldest daughter and told her, and texted my oldest son to tell his boss it was urgent he needed to call me, and when he did I told him. A couple hours later the roads were cleared, and Steven and Kori drove, following me all the way home to Columbia, to make sure I got home ok, and drove back to Knoxville.
I am very sad, we were at a point in our life, where we had worked out many things young couples go through and we *made it* - we were supposed to be on that *home stretch* of happiness the rest of our lives. He knew I loved him and I knew he loved me. I had the priviledge of knowing I was the only girl he had ever been with, even with all the temptations of life, he loved only me. I try to not focus on what we will not have now, I need to focus on the 20 years God allowed us to grow together and raise 4 beautiful children. I am very thankful for the 20 years we shared. We had some very wonderful times. Bryan took me on dates often throughout the years, even when we had no money for extra, we would go for a drive, or just have a date in our living room! haha. When he was off work - he was at home with us. I can probably count 10 times or less that he ever went out and did things either not with me or one of our children. I know he loved me, and I know he loved our kids. We were his life, and he was ours. If he was not working, he was home, either visiting with me (our dates on the couch :)), or playing video games with one of the kids, or scrabble or other games, or taking me or one of us out for the evening. He was always buying us stuff too, many times big things, but many times small things, I remember around easter of the year before, he brought me home a little pink and white bunny, that was solar powered and she shook her hips left to right like dancing, with a big smile - he knew it would make me smile, so he got it. He told me often I had a pretty smile, and he wanted to see me smile. If I got mad at him he would say that and he knew I could not help but smile. And now, as I try to go on and finish raising our children and making a difference in the world for good, I will also try to remember him telling me "I want to see you smile", and make him proud of me while he watches over us. I love you Bryan.
I will write more as I can, so please check back.....I just add a little to this page, as I can.....I have skipped around a lot in here as well, I will fill in spaces and years, same thing, as I think of things, and can...
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