Thomas Peyton Berry, Jr Memorial Scholarship

Miss You our Son - July 2019

We think of you each day, not a day goes by without thinking of you and missing you.  Time changes but the love for a child never ends.  It is still almost impossible to believe that you are not here.  You know something, I realized that you were not alone on that day.  God was right there holding you in His arms.  Life has been rough some days but most days it is good. Life is good because God is good.  Love you so much and miss your sparkling smile. We talk about you and often say what would TJ say.  You were such a good son, and we will always hold you in our hearts.
Your Smile - May 2018

Your smile lights up the sky like a ray of sunshine.  What a beautiful gift from God to have children and watch the grow up to become adults.  You told your dad and me when we were lost in Washington DC that 'you have to walk these roads before you drive them.' I have used those words in sermons and as an inspiration in life.  Yes, one must experience life before you really understand God's purpose.  I recall telling you that I wanted to go back to school and get my doctorate.  You told me to go for it with a smile.  Well, I did, and graduate with a Doctorate in Strategic Leadership in May.  I thought of you often when I was up late struggling to complete those tough assignments and projects.  Your Uncle Bobby called me Doctor before he passed and he also told his nurse that I was Dr. Berry.  To my family and in memory of you and Bobby, I completed this milestone in my life.  I love you so much my son. Bless you and Thank God for allowing your dad and me to raise you to be the awesome man you became.  
Not Enough Words - May 2017
There are not enough words to express how much you are missed each day.  I cannot count the number of times, I have almost started to call you or wanted to tell you something that I felt was very important.  I see you in the smile of the sun dancing across the ocean.  I took your tip and went on a cruise to the Bahamas and we had a great time.  When I was on the beach, I thought to myself, 'TJ' was here and this is what he saw.  I remember you asking me to take just a small cruise to what was referred to as a 'Cruise to Nowhere'.  We took three and I felt as though I met you on the ocean.  I could feel your presence and see your smile.  I love you TJ and know that every time the wind blows you are sending your big kisses.  Love you so much son.  Mom.
A Special Tribute July 12, 2016
Five years  later and we miss you more than yesterday.  This morning it was cloudy unlike the day you passed away.  On that day, the sun was shining so bright.  Heaven knew a new angel was about to enter the gates.  Your smile, laughter, and big warm kisses are missed each and every day.  I remember the night before when we talked without realizing it would be the last time.  My heart aches for my baby, yes baby, you will always be my baby because you were my first.  So much has happened since you left us.  I remember you would tell me to stay away from certain people, however, TJ, if I had I would blame myself that I do not see or talk to them now.  I am glad that I went with my heart and stayed engaged with them.  Now I have no regrets because up until the day you went home to be with the Lord, I talked to them, visited them and gave them gifts.  Some how some way things got turned around by the person you warned me against.  It does not matter though because God, our family, and you know the truth.  As you so eloquently stated God has a plan.  I ask God to kiss you for me every day and tell you good night.  WE LOVE AND MISS YOU.  May God continue to hold you in His arms. 
October 2015 - Missing You So Much!
TJ, a Day does not go by without me thinking of you.  I miss your smile, jokes, and laugther.  When the fall of the year returns I tink of you and your birthday.  September is the most beautiful month of the year because of the fall colors and God's Grace and Mercy. I celebrate your life and cherish your first steps, first words, and when you gave your life to Christ.  You were the most warm hearted young man.  You were so excited about life and the possibilities.  Your life was short, however, you traveled abroad, had a family, rode your bike, had more victories than defeats, gave out excellent advice and was a great son. I write this with love.  The pain of the loss of a child is deep but the gift of having you for a while in my life is priceless. I thank God for you!
2015 and New Beginnings
TJ your presence is missed each and every day.  We think about all of your funny sayings.  You were quite the jokester.  I can only imagine that you and your Uncle Bobby are trying to out do one another with jokes.   Your Uncle Terry is laughing as well.  Did you know that you were also prophetic? As I reflect over the last year, I remember some things you told me and I could not even imagine them.  However, everything you said has been confirmed.  Now I see why you had heartache during those times.  I am so happy that you were able to be completely happy and now I see why you made the decisions you did.  You have some wonderful friends at the department and I continue to be blessed by them telling me an exciting encounter or how much they miss you.  Love you!
Expressions of Love for 2014
TJ time passes on without you, however, our love for you just grows stronger.  The life you lived is an inspiration to others.  We have learned that God has a plan as you said the night before you went home to be with the Lord.  Your smile still lights up the sky and your words of wisdom still ring in my ears.  We are so proud that God gave us this beautiful little baby boy that grew up to be this amazing young man.  You were the best father a child could have and God knows you were a wonderful husband as the love of your life wrote on your stone "together until we meet again." What a wonderful experience to have been a part of your life.
We are so Blessed to have had you in our life and we thank God for such a wonderful gift. Love you always!!
2013 words of expression for TJ
TJ there is no expression or words that can describe the loss of a child.  I hear your voice and see your smiling face.  Sometimes I hear a song and it reminds me of you.  I know you will always be with us as long as we keep our hands in God's hand.  We love you and miss you so much.  To anyone going through the pain of the loss of a child, may God bring you peace in your loneliness, may your faith sustain you, and may your memories give you some joy.  The sun always rises no matter how dark it is on the inside.  I give God all the glory.


2012 and the New Year

When the countdown for the New Year began, our hearts sank.  We had the realization that TJ's physical presence was in 2011.  We begin the New Year with the wonderful memories of his life; however, TJ's physical presence is gone.  It caused a chilling effect on me and his sister Dawn.  We both cried like we had just heard the news of TJ passing.  I knew the holidays would be difficult but had no idea how the New Year would bring such intense loss.  We said prayers for TJ and everyone who was important in his life.  We prayed for one another and prayed for strength.  We toasted the New Year with thanks to God for giving us those memories and we thanked God for the strength to get through.  We love you TJ!!
December and the Holidays

TJ, you are missed more today than yesterday.  We will burn a candle in the window for you.  As much as we miss you, we are Blessed knowing you are spending Christmas with the Lord.  We are so thankful that our love for you begins in God and is with God through eternity.  Nothing can separate us from the love of God; therefore, nothing can separate us from you.

November 2011

The end of the year is approaching and I feel like it was just a few moments ago when I heard the words regarding TJ’s death.  It is a challenge each day to put one foot in front of the other.  However, I continue to be encouraged because of the promises of God.  November was a favorite month for TJ because he loved to go hunting with his Dad.  The changing of the leaves and the crisp air reminds me of his smiling face getting ready to go on a hunting trip.  His Dad was so careful to make sure TJ realized the importance of safety while hunting.  The father son time meant so much to both of them.  Oh, TJ our heart aches for your smile and your big kisses. 

October 2011

People ask me, “How do you do it?”  How do you make it with such a tragic loss?”  I look at them and wonder do they know what it means to have a broken heart.  I want to say my heart is broken and I do not know how to mend it again.  I look to my Father in Heaven and know that life is so precious and just a whisper.  I thank God for TJ and ask Him to give me strength to take it one step at a time.  I remember a song about mending a broken heart.  I have learned that life is what you make of it.  We have to praise God through the good and the bad.  We have to thank him for everything.  TJ’s smile was like sunshine and his laugh was like taking a happiness pill.  How can I be sad when I see that smile or hear that laugh?  I am missing him so much right now and am so glad that I heard the laughter of my son.  TJ left so many happy memories. “ …..Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.   Each day has enough trouble on its own.”  Mathew 6:34(NIV)







Today as I was leaving work, I saw the leaves blowing around in circles.  The air was very cool with a feeling of the change of the season.  The golden leaves are symbols of the past and signs of a new beginning.  I began to remember TJ as a little boy helping us gather leaves in the backyard.  It was fall of the year and a very chilly day. TJ delighted in throwing the leaves all over the place and Dawn helped with the chaos.  I saw a little boy with no cares in the world.  I felt the sun shine on my face and saw God move with the change of the season.  I remember that beautiful moment and my heart aches for my son who grew into a wonderful man and leader.  A great challenge is the loss of a child, it does not matter the age or the relationship.  To lose a child is to lose a part of your heart.  Each day is a new beginning and an opportunity to give back to others.  I miss TJ and will never forget all of the wonderful things he did for others and for his family.  TJ was not perfect, no one is perfect; however, TJ is love because he was created with love of his parents, given life through the love and breath of God.