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IN LOVING MEMORY ON JUNE 6, 2007 WITH LOVE FROM MOM  



Today marks four years that you have been gone. I miss you more today than ever. You were a loving young man. Endearing, aggravating, funny, kind, sensitive, exasperating, caring --- and always there for everyone. Your life was short but your heart was big. 
You always had a smile for everyone - a stranger to no one. You always looked for the best in others. You're missed by all those you loved and all who loved you. 
I carry you in my heart wherever I go. I miss your loving words and gentle ways. 
They now live on within me. I will love you forever.
Love Mom

 


A Summary of the Worst Day of My Life - June 6, 2003  

Todd’s unforeseen death occurred on June 6, 2003 at the young age of 22. A part of my very heart and soul and future died with him. He was my son, my best friend and my family.
His sister and my daughter, Shayna, lost her brother who was also her best friend, as well as the mother she knew who was never to be the same again. Everyone loved Todd and there are many he claimed as a best friend and many who saw him as a best friend.
That day started out as any other day. The only complaint he voiced of any discomfort was of a stomachache a couple of times that week. I went to a convenience store the evening before his death and bought some heartburn medicine. He voiced no complaints the day he died. He seemed a little tired but he had just got off work and worked outside on this hot, humid day and the day before. He worked that day, Friday, and the previous day, on the flight line at Tinker Air Force Base, welcoming men and women coming home from Iraq. He had also done physical training that morning.
We left together after his work to go to Ardmore, OK, an hour and a half drive, to get his sister, Shayna. I was already on base at his apartment because he had locked his keys in the car at lunch time and asked me to bring the other set of keys to him. He lightly napped on and off during the drive both ways. We arrived back in OK City and had just started east on I-240 heading to Tinker Air Force Base to get my car. He started waking up and was motioning to put the pass to get on the base on the dashboard or let him drive. I at first thought he was yelling at me and said "Don't yell at me".
I sensed something was wrong. When I looked at him, his left hand that I could see looked clenched or unnatural. I couldn't see his eyes because he had sunglasses on. I said "Todd!" and then I saw one tear roll out of his left eye. I knew something was horribly wrong and drove like a mad person over to a store at I-240 and Sunnylane Road - the next exit. Shayna's friend was sitting behind Todd had reached forward to feel for his pulse but couldn't.
I ran in the store screaming for someone to call 911. When I ran back outside, a crowd of people had gathered around. Shayna was crying. I remember people pulling Todd out of the car. I remember seeing Todd's head hit hard on the concrete as he was pulled out. An employee of the store heroically performed CPR on Todd. We found out later this employee was retired from the same squadron as Todd's.
Todd had just completed one year of his six year term a few days before his sudden death. He had graduated from tech school two months before he died and was stationed at Tinker Air Force Base in Oklahoma City. He listed Germany, Hawaii and Oklahoma City on his "wish" list. He served his country with pride and honor.
Evidence indicates a product containing ephedra caused his death. He had gained some weight during tech school and began taking an all-natural weight-loss supplement and multi-vitamins several months before he died. He had quit drinking soda, was drinking lots of water, eating by the pyramid plan, working out regularly and taking three different multi-vitamins. Results of reports indicate Todd was not taking more of the weight-loss product than recommended on the label.
We now know that these all-natural products aren't tested.


My Thoughts About My Beloved Son, Todd James Lee  

Todd was "TJ" when he was a newborn babe until about age 10.  He decided he wanted his full first name "Todd" stamped on a western belt we bought for him.  From that day forward, he wanted to be called Todd.   
He was very smart. He scored in the 99 percentile and was placed in gifted classes in first grade. 
He was a very active and outgoing child who grew into a young man with a calm nature.  I can't remember him saying a bad word about anyone.  He usually acknowledged everyone he passed in the hall at work or college with his loving smile and sometimes with a sincere "How are you?" 
One of his friends commented that when Todd asked her how she was doing in her college classes, he sincerely wanted to know rather than just making conversation.  One of my friends said "He was an old soul" because he was such a good listener for his young age and usually had something comforting or enlightening to say.   
He had lots of self-confidence.  He would take time and great care in getting his clothes prepared for an evening out.  He loved to go out to eat, go to movies or go dancing.  He worked out regularly even before joining the U.S. Air Force.  He was a very polite, respectful and charming young man.  Everyone he met couldn't help but love him.   Many adults older than he have yet to reach the level of insight he had.
He had an attitude that is reflected in the Mother's Day card from May 2002 pictured in the photo album section. I refer to this card frequently for comfort. It is a small floral card he gave me with an ivy plant on May 13, 2002.  Here are the beautiful words on the card:
"Dearest Mom" on the outside envelope
"Dear Mom,
You are the most important person in my life. I love you so very, very much!
Thank you so much for your support and guidance. I would not be the man I am today without your support. You really are a terrific mother! and You are also one of the most good-hearted people that I know. I feel very lucky to have been your son and best friend! The two of us are survivors and share some stories nobody else will ever totally relate to (or believe) Ha Ha!! I feel these next few years are going to be very productive for the both of us. Love Todd"
I will never forget this Mother's Day in particular. Todd and I worked at the same place, the Williams-Sonoma Corp. call center. We were also roommates and shared expenses. I was tired and didn't feel like going anywhere. Todd persuaded me to let him take me out to eat at On the Border restaurant. 
He died one year and 24 days later after he accomplished his goal at the young age of 22, to be in the U.S. Air Force. He had written a paper in fifth grade about wanting to be in the U.S. Air Force.  He knew what he wanted to do and accomplished it before he died at the age of 22.

 


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