Rich and I met online believe it or not – I answered his personal ad on April 25th, 2001 – and it was the best thing I ever did … back then people FREAKED out when I told them how I met him. His personal ad read something like this:
Officer seeks a Lady – and then he went onto say that he was a Christian, and didn’t smoke or drink, and that he had two wonderful sons that he had full custody of – and how very much he loved them and that they were his world. (This attracted me to him the most outside of him being a Christian). Anyway, we emailed back and forth and then chatted through IM, and then finally talked on the phone – this all transpired within 2 days. We then went out on a lunch date to Olive Garden. I remember meeting him face to face and I could not stop smiling. “He is SO handsome” I thought. That day forever changed me. We began dating – and I knew within a week that I was in love with this man, and it scared me – but I went with it. He told me he loved me within 2 weeks of meeting each other. We had such great times and dates together – too many to even type up. Emily and Garrett met him and I met Dean and Dayton – we took all the kids to dinner and to see a movie – and thus began our family. The kids were all a little reluctant, because none of them liked the idea of sharing us with someone else. – Anyway – I am rambling on ….
On October 13th 2001 at the Submarine Ball on Jekyll Island, GA – Richard Thomas Allen took me to the beach after the ball and we danced under the moon light …. he looked at me and said “Shannon Denise – Will you marry me?” The very first thing that came out of my mouth was “No Way !?!?” I though that he was kidding … LOL. He then started waving the ring in front of my face (A gorgeous solitaire) and I was like “YES !!” I jumped into his arms and said Yes again 15 more times … What an amazing evening that was. A new beginning for our soon to be family
Rich and I were married on January 4th, 2002 and our children were our maid of honor and best men. It was a beautiful ceremony at First baptist church of Baldwin, FL – it was the wedding I had always dreamed of having.
~~~Jumping forward 8 years 7 months and 5 days~~~
On 08/09/2010 we headed to Baltimore, MD because Rich was swearing our middle son Garrett into the Marine Corps. It was an amazing ceremony. After we got home Rich wanted to go for a jog. I told him to wait because it was it was so hot and I wanted him to make the video of Garrett’s ceremony first. When he got done with that – he changed and gave me a kiss and then went out for a jog.
Dayton and I were sitting in the living room watching TV and we heard a siren blaring by the house – I really didn’t think much of it at first, then we heard the second set of sirens going by. I still didn’t get up because I though there was a house on fire, then there was a third set of sirens going by the house and something hit me and I jumped up off the couch and grabbed my purse (with no shoes on) and I told Dayton – I am going to ride down the road to see what’s going on.
I drove only about a half a mile down the road and I saw them pushing Rich into the ambulance I began screaming “That’s my husband!” there were people everywhere and a cop stopped me from running to him and began questioning me … “What’s his name, SSN, where does he live?” type of questions because he had no identification on him at the time. A neighbor came to me and told me the he had done CPR on him for 15 minutes (he was a volunteer fireman) – then after I answered all these questions – I called home to get our daughter Emily’s attention and to tell her what’s going on, and I called my sister in law Jennifer and told her also what was going on. The cops went and picked Emily up from the house so she could drive me to the hospital, and Jennifer and my niece Kati met us at the hospital. All the way there we kept trying to convince each other that it was just heat related – but in my heart I felt it was something much different – much worse, because we got to the hospital approximately the same time the ambulance did.
The placed Emily and I in a “Room” and I knew something was wrong. Jennifer and Kati dropped Macy off with Dayton at the house and then when they got to the hospital they came in the room with us.
What seemed like 5 hours was only a few minutes before the Doctor came into talk to me. She very matter of fact said to me “ma’am, I’m sorry – but your husband has passed away” – We all just broke down – I was screaming NO NO NO NO NO NO NO !!! He was only 39 ! Tears welled up in the Doctor’s eyes and she said it was his heart – that when they shocked his heart they were able to get a sustainable rhythm – but that they could not maintain it. She asked if he had any prior medical problems and I said no … Rich had NEVER head any medical problems other than kidney stones the previous year. Rich was as healthy as a horse and had always had all his medical check ups and passed his PRT’s in the Navy.
The doctor admitted me for a few hours to give me some anxiety medication. Then the medical examiner came in and asked some questions about Rich – In between the visits, I made some phone calls and Jennifer did too. Jennifer and Emily left to go to the house to be with Dayton and Kati and I stayed at the hospital. Shortly after that, the medical examiner came in and asked if I would like to view his body and I said YES ! They walked me and Kati into a room where 2 Officers were standing and apologizing for my loss, and I walked up to Rich’s grass covered body – shaking and crying and softly whispered to him “Why did you leave me?” – I gently kissed him on the forehead because there were tubes still in his mouth – (I wanted to kiss his sweet lips one more time). I told him “I love you hunney bunney – I will always love you”, and as we were leaving the room – the medical examiner slipped his wedding ring off his finger and handed it to me. As I was checking out of the hospital, I clutched his ring in my hand, and then Kati brought me home and I then placed his ring on a necklace – where it sits til this day and will forever be – close to my heart. When his death certificate arrived about a week after his passing, it read that “Cardiac dysrhythmia associated with left ventricular hypertrophy and coronary artery myocardial bridge” was his cause of death. I still don’t understand it, but I know that it took away the most precious thing in the world from me.
Emily, Jennifer, Jesse, and Kati took over everything for me, I do not know what I would have ever done without them. I don’t even want to imagine – I am so very grateful for all that they have done for me. As well as being so very grateful to EVERYONE who helped me out in that first week and even the weeks and months that followed ~ I do know that the initial first week was pretty much a blur for me ……
Rich was buried at Quantico National Cemetery with full Military Honors on August 16th, 2010. There were several family members, friends, and Military personnel that were also friends.
Mere words cannot ever express what kind of man Richard Thomas Allen was. He was born the only child to Sue and Jess Allen on May 15th, 1971 and He passed away on 08/09/2010 as the most wonderful Husband, Father, Son, Nephew, Son-in-law, brother-in-law, cousin – and friend the word has ever known. He will forever me missed by many – He will forever be the love of my life and the only Hunney Bunney there will EVER be.
I Love you my Richard Thomas Allen <3