Retired Reservist finds inspiration through loss

U.S. Air Force photo/Megan Crusher

(Second in a three-part series chronicling Angela Alexander’s incredible story which led to a book, a ministry and now, a documentary.)

Following the untimely death of her two sons in a car crash, Angela Alexander, a retired Air Force Reservist, needed some sort of sign that her youngest son Roger, along with his brother Murice, was okay. Murice had written two letters prior to his death that helped Alexander deal with what happened to him but she needed something from Roger too. She searched her home but found nothing.

With hopes of re-establishing some regularity for her daughters, Angela and Angelina, she took them to their school’s open house, where her sons had also attended.

She started with her daughters’ fourth and fifth grade classes, then went to Murice’s third grade class, where she was warmly greeted by his friends who told her how much they missed Murice and how sorry they were for what happened, she said.

The last stop was Roger’s second grade class. She was curious to see what he had done for open house.

Roger’s teacher said she had given the children art supplies and told them to create anything they wanted. Alexander said she knew right away that this was what she had been searching for.

The art work Roger had created was in the shape of a house with doors that opened and closed as if giving an embrace. Inside he wrote, “I have a big back yard and a big house,” which confused his Mom at first because they had the smallest backyard in their neighborhood. That’s when she realized what he had meant.

“He’s referring to his heavenly home where he does have a big back yard and he does have a big house,” Alexander said.

Inside of the house Roger made, he had cut and pasted a tombstone, with a drawing of himself on the left side and wrote ‘dead men joy’ and on the opposite side he cut and pasted another tombstone, with a drawing of Murice and wrote, ‘dead man jams.’

“I almost fell to my knees,” Alexander said. “I realized how good God is to me. I had just prayed that evening and this is what God gave me. I just kept repeating dead men joy, dead man jams. My sons are joyfully jamming with Jesus,” she said.

After finding Roger’s gift, Alexander said she was at complete peace because she knew her sons were okay and were watching over her.

“My sons did not know consciously (that) they were going to die, but their spirit knew,” she said. “I do believe that they had an out-of-body experience that allowed their bodies to write these letters.”

Even though she was at peace regarding her sons, she still struggled with day-to-day issues. She was raising her daughters, while her husband, Surie, spent two months in the hospital recovering from his injuries. Manslaughter charges filed against him were finally dropped after a month and one of the two lawsuits was settled quickly while the other would go on for years.

But two of the biggest hurdles she had to face with was beginning her ministry and deciding what to do regarding her commitment to the Air Force Reserve.

When her sons died she had 15 years of service, and as the training manager for the 56th Aerial Port Squadron here, her rule was that if you had 15 years in, you stayed for the full 20 years. For Alexander, that was easier said than done.

“I could not put that uniform back on without God, she said. “I was told in that uniform that my sons died. I can’t put that uniform back on unless you (God) give me the strength to do it.”

Taking the advice she gave to others in need, Alexander let go and let God. She prayed, “God if you give me the strength to put my uniform back on and stay in the military another five years, I will retire and dedicate the rest of my life to praising your holy name.”

Her answered prayer gave her the strength to continue her military service. But sharing her story with the world proved to be quite the challenge.

The birth of Alexander’s ministry and how her story was turned into a documentary will be addressed in the final part of this three-part series in next week’s Beacon.