Saturday, August 25, 2012

Neptunus Lex

When I'd get my heart broken and SWEAR I wasn't going to let that happen again, you'd say "Chérie... Love is the triumph of hope over experience."

If I started dating someone new your first response was a call for "**precise** coordinates."
"Accept the things to which fate binds you, and love the people with whom fate brings you together, but do so with all your heart." Marcus Aurelius
You never, not once, ever asked anything of me and ever so often, when you sensed I was going through a tough time, you'd always let me know you were there...

And I was such a terrible friend.

I told you to stay put in your box! I told you it was enough and although I understand more than I care to admit and know you'd have had it no other way, I can't help being so angry at you for leaving too soon.

In my heart, I can almost hear you interjecting here to remind me about a cat in a box... I don't want to smile right now.

We joked about the fact that "bloggers never read other blogger's blogs" but when my desire to write started drifting off, you tried to encourage me to keep going. But whatever was in me that kept me writing left. I never was really sure why and never wanted to think about it. Maybe it was the idea that in starting AWV and having to put myself out there publicly, "the real me" might let those who had come to expect so much of me down? All I know is that I no longer had the desire to write and I threw myself into working so hard that I didn't have to ever really think about the why.

Then on that night in March, I held a vigil by my computer and phone waiting to hear final confirmation that it was not you but some mistake... hoping against and fighting what my heart knew. Knowing that if it wasn't you, it still would have been someone else and feeling the guilt of that desperate hope. I opened up a dozen different tabs on the internet, looking for and reading every correspondence I could find. Reading them was like pouring rubbing alcohol on a raw wound - excruciatingly painful but necessary. I had nothing else I could do while waiting.

I had texted you at 0930 EST that morning, "Always be your best you. :) A "hope you have a happy day" text from Eve!" What time was it then, in the skies above Nevada? Did you see the text before you took off? It pains me to consider the irony.

And just the day before, you'd teased me about not having been invited to the Sea Services Women's Conference via Twitter, "@GenevieveChase So many women in uniform an I wasn't invited #notfair"

Gone? That just didn't seem possible... yet I could feel the weight of that truth.

When it was finally confirmed, I cried until I fell asleep. I cried for days. All these months later and I still cry too much. Not for you because I know you're free from these earth-bound emotions but for us - all of those who love you and for your family. I couldn't begin to comprehend their grief, undoubtedly so much greater than my own.

In the following days and weeks since, inexplicable things happened that I believe I cannot share here - but if what I feel is true, then I don't need to. It suffices to say that through a series of occurrences (were I to reveal them would surely prompt others to consider committing me) I happened across many bread crumbs you left me. And in the months since, I've felt this urging to write again despite my stubborn resistance to doing so.

When I asked you why you blogged several years ago, you responded with;
"I wanted to examine my own thoughts and experiences publicly, to expose them to criticism and scrutiny, to defend my point of view even as I learned to more fully appreciate other peoples' world view. . . . People are so very hard to know, but when you find someone that really is? Who has that fire inside of them? I want to know them . . . to know all that they are and think and feel and compare it to the world as I understand it. Mostly I keep that desire in check because people don't *want* to be known that well, they want to keep the private mask behind the public mask and never let you see their actual "face." I think we're afraid that in being "seen" we are also being "judged" and the introspective soul is always concerned that they might be judged severely, found wanting by others even as they find imperfections in themselves. We are terrified of being really, truly known.
But think how liberating it would be.

It is our imperfections, and our attempts to either fix them or render them harmless that define who we are as truly self-aware human beings."

- USN Captain Carrol "Lex" Lefon, 1961-2012
But you were right, as you so often were (if only admitting it would make me feel better), "It is our imperfections, and our attempts to either fix them or render them harmless that define who we are as truly self-aware human beings." And I don't know yet, how liberating that will be but I'm finally realizing that I want to find out. Because I simply can't stay here in this silence, anymore.

But you knew, more than I, that I couldn't hide for long, didn't you? It's the Writer's Curse, isn't it? 

Words liberate our souls...

Your legacy lives on in your family and in all of us who had the honor of knowing and loving you. 

"Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars for ever and ever." - Daniel 12:3

Thank you for your "unbearable lightness," Lex. I will do my best.
Fair winds and following seas... my dear friend. I suspect you're soaring the heavens... 
Army Girl 


For those that didn't have the great fortune to know Carroll here is one of countless of my favorite posts and a few words from others whose words of tribute I cannot begin to match;

Five years on

A memorial
We come to take certain things for granted.
Is there a clock ticking in your house? You had to stop and think about it, didn’t you? You didn’t hear the sound until I asked you about it. It is, after all, such a little thing, and there are matters of so much greater importance that we also take for granted. Like the sound of our heartbeat, the blood rushing through our veins. It means that we are still alive, and even given that significance, we have to close our eyes and focus on it, maybe even hold our breath to hear it. We take it for granted because it’s always there. Or at least, it is until suddenly it isn’t. And in that unanchored moment that follows between how things always have been and leads into how things henceforth will be, what could be more infinitely valuable than that we had an instant ago taken utterly for granted?
Because it is always there, like the smile in a dear friend’s face when she sees you suddenly, unexpectedly. Like the laughter in your daughter’s eyes, the shared memory of happy times growing up together, as parents and children do, sharing in it, their fates and fortunes inextricably bound together. Like the flickered glance of warm affection between a man and his fiancée, the proud hope of even better things to come in the future, the things that they will share together, the life that they will build, the lives that will come of their love – unique windows on the universe that they will create through their joyful affections, and a comfort in their eventual, inevitable infirmity.
These sounds, memories and potentialities have no weight, you cannot touch them: They are ephemeral, insubstantial.
But they are nevertheless real. For all that we cannot sense them in the customary way, we know them, and we are grateful for them, even when we so rarely stop to think about them. Life, in all its infinitely variable preciousness, is so very busy, and there will always be tomorrow.
Except of course, when that day finally comes that there is not, when all of our shared tomorrows are taken away from us.

Read the rest here...


“Lex died doing what he loved to do: fly,” Carmichael wrote. “There is no solace in his passing; the world is a lesser place for this fact. But, while he was here, this world was indeed better.” - John Carmichael in an article by Steve Ranson, Lahontan Valley News.
"The challenge in writing about such a man is that my command of the language to do justice to him is insufficient for the task, yet his mastery of words gave vivid understanding on most everything he chose to chronicle.   “Lex” was one of the first and perhaps the best of those military bloggers (milbloggers), with a large and faithful readership that included his former Navy shipmates, other military types (including myself), former military types, and civilians of all descriptions.   That readership came and stayed because Lex was far more than a milblogger who wrote about all things military.   He had a wonderful gift with the written word, speaking to his readers as if engaged in a conversation at a back table of a favorite pub.  His eloquence about military issues, his witty and often brilliant commentary on things political and social, always provided thought provoking reading.  His commenters, even while disagreeing and adding rich commentary of their own, respected each other and revered their host." - A Remarkable Man Has Stepped Into the Clearing - USNI Blog

There are so many beautiful sentiments posted for and about Lex in the wake of his death. I couldn't possibly list them all here. Please consider taking a moment and entering his name in your preferred search engine...


  1. Thanks for writing this. I was just thinking of Lex earlier today after hearing of Neil Armstrong's passing - I wish he had been around to write about Neil's death earlier today.

    I miss that guy. Thanks for the trip down memory lane. I hope you are doing well.

  2. I miss him, too. Not a day goes by that I don't think about him.

  3. For the first time in my history of blogging, I"m going to comment without reading.

    I can't. I can't read this right now. I want to but I can't.

    I'm dressed and ready to head out the door to church. If I start crying now, which I do pretty much any time I stop to think about him, I won't stop and I'll be a hot mess walking in to church. It's not that I worry what others will think of me. I just don't want to scare the poor people.

    I don't talk about him much now because I think that my friends and family have tired of hearing about him and think it's time to move on. But that's not how I feel inside and it takes monumental effort not to talk about him all the time, mostly as a way to wrap myself in that warm, comfortable blanket of his friendship that I desperately miss. And then I catch a song on my iPod or see a picture or read a post and it's like pouring salt on a wound but topping it with maple syrup - exquisitely bittersweet.

    I will come back and read this when I can sit and allow myself to truly feel. But thank you for posting's good to feel not alone, you know?


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