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  • Writer's pictureKelley Castlin-Gacutan

20 years later

It is hard to believe it has now been 20 years since Rodney's death on December 7, 2000.

I recall that day so vividly. Our son, Kyle (age 4) and I were home that evening. Rodney was at the hotel, working 3-11pm, preparing for an audit that was taking place the next day. I ordered pizza for dinner and soon after we ate Kyle went to sleep. As I usually did, I called Rodney as I prepared for bed, told him about our evening and we both said "I love you" before ending the call. It was my last time speaking with him.

At some point, my sleep was interrupted by the doorbell. At first, I ignored it as I unconsciously thought it was simply part of my dream. I thought for sure that could not be anyone at the door this late and Rodney has his garage door opener to get inside the house. I tried to remain asleep, but the doorbell continued to ring. After realizing the doorbell was not a part of my dream, I immediately jumped up thinking it must be Rodney at the door. I quickly put on my robe, went down the stairs, and noticed a police vehicle outside the side of the door window. When I asked who was at the door, my fear of something bad happening was realized. I opened the door and Detective John Dawes with the Cobb County Police Department told me, "There was a robbery at the hotel tonight and Rodney was shot and killed."

Rodney will always be a very special part of my life. He was God-fearing, loving, kind, funny, and smart. He loved doing things with his hands (landscaping, car washing, restoring antique cars) and Christmas was his favorite holiday. He enjoyed bringing in the live tree and playing Christmas songs. He enjoyed spending time with family and friends.

20 years later, I am still proud of Rodney and I cherish the moments that we shared together. Although I write this blog with my face covered in tears, I find joy knowing how fortunate I am to have known him, loved him, and to have called him my husband. I am grateful to God for bringing us together. Rodney and my precious Kennedy are among the angels. We will all meet again someday.

The Bible tells us: "And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest is love" (1 Corinthians 13) Spread love this holiday season and into the new year. Let those who you love, know you love them.


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